Remediation, repair and, urgent works

Last updated: 3 April 2024

Following an emergency, some buildings may require remediation or urgent works to reduce the risk to people.

Urgent works

During a state of emergency, transition period or while an area is designated, authorised officials may carry out urgent works to any buildings that present:

  • a risk of injury or death, or
  • a risk to critical infrastructure.

In these instances, it is necessary to carry out the works without delay to remove or reduce these risks.

This might apply, for example, if a building is in danger of collapsing in a location that would cause death or injury, or could block access to a critical facility such as a hospital.

Urgent works can include demolishing all or part of a building if it:

  • cannot be stabilised
  • is an immediate risk to life safety, or
  • cannot be adequately barricaded without preventing access to a critical route or significantly disrupting homes and businesses.

Owners may need to carry out urgent repairs during an emergency period when it is not possible to process building consent applications. These repairs often involve building work that in normal times would require a building consent. If there is urgent work that needs to be done, the home or building owner should contact their insurer and council before proceeding.

Emergency repairs/urgent works must still meet certain requirements as per section 41 of the Building Act. It must be building work for which a building consent cannot practicably be obtained in advance because the building work must be carried out urgently:

  • for the purpose of saving or protecting life or health or preventing serious damage to property; or
  • to ensure that a specified system in a building that is covered by a compliance schedule or would be covered if a compliance schedule were issued in respect of the building, is maintained in a safe condition or is made safe.

Any building work must still comply with the Building Code, and certain types of building work, such as restricted building work, must be carried out or supervised by a licensed building practitioner.

As soon as practicable after carrying out urgent building work the home or building owner needs to apply for a certificate of acceptance under section 96 of the Building Act.

If a council believes that works in relation to a building in a designated area are reasonably necessary to remove or reduce risks posed by the building and are not considered urgent works (as per section 133BV of the Building Act), they can direct a home or building owner to carry out those works. In this instance, but as soon as practicable after completion of the building work the home or building owner will need to apply for a certificate of acceptance under section 96.

Urgent works to heritage buildings

There are special conditions for urgent works relating to heritage buildings, to ensure respect is given to the national significance of these buildings.

The most important consideration is the protection of human life and safety.

The Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 prohibits the modification or destruction of a protected site unless authority is obtained from Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Protected sites are:

  • any building listed as Category 1 (places of special or outstanding historical or cultural heritage significance or value) or wāhi tūpuna/ancestral place on the Rārangi Kōrero/New Zealand Heritage List
  • any building that is included on the Ngā Manawhenua o Aotearoa me ōna Kōrero Tūturu/National Historic Landmarks list.

A number of requirements must be met before works can be carried out to any heritage buildings within an area designated under the Building Act for building emergency management.

The responsible person (eg territorial authority) must have the approval of the Minister for Building and Construction before carrying out works that involve the demolition of the whole or a part of a heritage building. At the same time, they must also notify Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga of the request.

MBIE will help facilitate a request for approval of urgent works on a heritage building made under section 133BV(3)-(7) of the Building Act.

To seek the Minister's approval to carry out works involving partial or whole demolition of a heritage building, the responsible person must complete the form and email it to

Demolition of heritage building - factsheet [PDF 158KB]

Demolition of heritage building - form [PDF 343KB]

The Minister for Building and Construction must then consult with the Minister responsible for the administration of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 at least 24 hours before approval can be given to carry out urgent works on heritage buildings.

For other works related to heritage buildings, including demolition of heritage buildings that do not fit within the categories listed above, the responsible person must consult Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

Find information about heritage buildings -

Other works and long-term works

When an affected area has been designated under the Building Act for building emergency management, territorial authorities may require 'other works' (including demolition) to a building where necessary to reduce risks and where measures put in place to protect safety are causing ongoing disruption to public thoroughfares, other buildings or critical infrastructure.

This might apply, for example, if works to prop and brace the walls of a building are necessary to reduce the risk of collapse but need not be carried out immediately, and where measures to keep people at a safe distance are preventing entry to an adjacent building.

Territorial authorities must seek and consider the views of the building owner and any occupants before making a decision on any works. Territorial authorities may carry out the works and recover the costs from the building owner, or can direct the building owner to carry out the works.

When a designation is in effect, authorised officials may also direct the building owner to carry out works for the long-term use or occupation of a building where this is necessary to remove or reduce risks, and works are needed to make the building safe, sanitary and otherwise suitable to be used or occupied by people on a long-term basis. This might apply, for example, when works to a damaged wall are necessary to make a building safe for long-term use or occupation, but urgent works are not required and re-entry to the building does not need to be prohibited.

Any works directed to be undertaken for the long-term use or occupation of a building under section 133BX should be carried out using the normal building control processes, ie by issuing a building consent for the building work and a code compliance certificate as final sign-off.

Disputes, determinations and appeals

Where authorised officials have exercised building emergency management powers during a 'designation' under the Building Act, a building owner may apply to MBIE for a determination (unless the decision was made by the Minister or the territorial authority acting on behalf of the Minister) on any decision about:

  • measures to protect buildings or keep people at a safe distance
  • notices or placards restricting the use of buildings
  • 'other works' or works for long-term use of a building.

When an application is made, decisions by officials on other works and long-term works are suspended until MBIE has made a determination. Any measures to protect buildings or keep people at a safe distance, or in relation to any notices or placards restricting the use of buildings, remain in force until a determination has been made.

A person who disagrees with the outcome of a determination may lodge an appeal with the district court within 15 working days. The court may:

  • confirm, reverse or modify the determination
  • refer the matter back to MBIE's chief executive, or
  • make any determination MBIE could have made in respect of the matter.

Find information about determinations

Remediation and repair work

When beginning remediation and repair work on a building following an emergency there are several things to consider. It's important to follow guidance from the local council and / or insurance company, especially if a building has been issued with a red or yellow placard by a Rapid Building Assessor.

There are several resources prepared to help with this process and to ensure remedial work complies with the Building Code, where applicable.

Flood damaged buildings

This guide is for homeowners and occupiers of buildings damaged by flood events. It covers steps to take after the flood, through to repairs and minimising future damage.

Flood damaged buildings

Damage to wall linings (plasterboard) caused by flooding

This guide provides information on identifying plasterboard wall linings that have been damaged by flooding, and what needs to be done to remove and replace these.

Repair and replacement of plasterboard due to flooding

Building consent exemptions

This guide provides councils, building practitioners, and homeowners with information on what building work may not require a building consent when reparing damage caused by severe weather events.

Building consent exemptions for damaged buildings - quick guide [PDF 1MB]

Discretionary exemptions for flood damaged buildings

A discretionary exemption allows proposed building work to be carried out without obtaining a building consent.

This guidance is for Building Consent Authorities (BCAs), Territorial Authorities (TAs) and Regional Authorities (RAs). It provides them with a consistent starting point when considering how to plan for, and apply, their discretion (known as a discretionary exemption), in relation to flood damaged buildings.

The guidance will also be useful for homeowners to provide them with an understanding of discretionary exemptions, should their house require remediation work following a flood.

Applying discretionary exemptions for flood damaged buildings.

Slope stability quick guide

This guide provides homeowners and occupiers of buildings that have been affected by an emergency with direction on remediating damage related to slope and ground stability.

Slope stability - quick guide [PDF 4.1MB]

Removal of silt deposited during flooding

This quide provides homeowners and occupiers of buildings affected by flood events with direction on how to remove silt from in and underneath their buildings.

Removal of silt deposits during flooding – quick guide [PDF 1.6MB]

Other remediation resources

MBIE guidance for homeowners, building owners, and building professionals to support long-term building recovery from the Canterbury earthquakes.

Access the Canterbury rebuild guidance

Check if your remediation and repair work requires a building consent –

Auckland Council consent exemptions tool –

Restoring a home after flood damage –

Keeping safe during cyclone and flooding emergency and recovery -

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: