Rapid Building Assessor Programme

The Rapid Building Assessor programme ensures that Aotearoa New Zealand has enough experts ready to complete rapid building assessments when there has been damage to buildings as a result of an emergency event.

MBIE has several legal obligations, to coordinate, train and maintain the national capability of rapid building assessors ensuring there is sufficient availability, expertise and leadership across the country in the right place, and there is consistency in approaches to aid with deployment or mobilising rapid building assessors across the country, in the event of an emergency.

Responsibilities for managing buildings in an emergency - learning.building.govt.nz

What is a Rapid Building Assessor

Rapid Building Assessors are deployed or mobilised across the country to emergency events when there has been damage to buildings as a result of an emergency event.

Rapid building assessments quickly establish the usability of buildings and infrastructure where functions may be compromised by an emergency event. The primary focus of the rapid building assessment process is on immediate public safety.

Rapid Building Assessors assess damaged buildings, existing or potential hazards, record details of the damage and assign appropriate placards to buildings to identify use.

They often work in dynamic situations across changing environments, sometimes being deployed to unfamiliar areas, with others that they may not know.

As well as dealing with these challenges, building assessors are likely to encounter people that are displaced or traumatised, making for a working environment that can be stressful.

Rapid Building Assessors are trained through the MBIE rapid building assessment training programme and must meet certain competencies to complete rapid building assessments. They are generally building consent officers or are from the engineering community (ie Geotechnical or structural engineers).

MBIE is responsible for ensuring that there are enough trained building assessors to complete the rapid building assessments and maintain a register of these Rapid Building Assessors.

Deploying Rapid Building Assessors

Under a National State of Emergency, MBIE can organise the deployment of Rapid Building Assessors and cover travel costs to the affected location.

Once on location the local Territorial Authority (TA) may take the responsibility for costs (such as food, transport on the ground, and accommodation). This is usually organised through the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

Once deployed to a region, Rapid Building Assessors will be managed by the local response teams who have responsibility for leading their Rapid Building Assessor operations.

Under a local state of emergency or designation, the local EOC will manage the rapid building assessment process. Usually this will be able to be completed using local Rapid Building Assessors, however if additional support is required the EOC should contact MBIE for assistance with the deployment of additional Rapid Building Assessor resource.

MBIE's Rapid Building Assessor competency framework

It is important that Rapid Building Assessors have the competencies required to make quick decisions in the field about the status of buildings after an emergency event.

MBIE has developed a new competency framework for Rapid Building Assessors. The framework provides the level of competency that MBIE expects people to meet to become a Rapid Building Assessor and be included on the MBIE register for deployment or mobilisation.

The new competency framework is currently in the final stages of development and will be published alongside additional guidance on using the framework by early 2023.

Rapid Building Assessor training

MBIE is responsible for the Rapid Building Assessors programme at national level for a number of reasons, including to ensure that:

  • professional learning and development approaches for training are applied
  • approved collateral and content are being trained on
  • consistency in approaches are taken to building assessments cross the country, and
  • competency standards of building assessors are maintained.

Only building assessors who have gone through the MBIE training are admitted to the MBIE register and are able to be deployed to complete rapid building assessment work.

The training programme is regularly reviewed and maintained to take into account innovations and learnings from recent events.

In early 2022, a pilot of the new training programme was completed. This pilot programme included online modules covering the roles and responsibilities of Rapid Building Assessors and the legislative framework. In addition to this online training component, an in-person scenario-based training session was also held. In 2023, we will commence the first phase of implementing the new training programme.

Become a registered Rapid Building Assessor

The new competency framework will enable MBIE to seek new people, with appropriate skills to apply to be trained to become a Rapid Building Assessor and be registered with MBIE.

This process will involve people:

  1. Meeting the competencies set out in MBIEs Rapid Building Assessor Competency Framework
  2. Completing the training programme. This involves:
    • Completing the online learning module
    • Participating in the in-person scenario-based training session.

Once training is completed, you will be added to the MBIE register and issued an ID card. All Rapid Building Assessors must also maintain their competency in order to stay on the MBIE register.

Ongoing development

If you are a Rapid Building Assessor who is already on MBIEs register you are expected to be available for deployment or mobilising to an event (where appropriate).

Ongoing learning and development is an important part of ensuring Rapid Building Assessors are familiar with the legislative framework and MBIE approved guidance/tools.

To support your professional development and maintain the capability of Rapid Building Assessors MBIE are looking at ways to facilitate field exercises, scenario-based sessions and organising event debriefs to ensures lessons management. This will be a focus once the new competency framework and training programme is introduced in early 2023.

MBIE are also in the process of developing new processes for Rapid Building Assessors to maintain their information on the register.


For any questions or to discuss the Rapid Building Assessor training needs for your area please contact the team at buildingemergencymanagement@mbie.govt.nz

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: