Building emergency management

Last updated: 19 March 2024

When an emergency happens, agencies work together to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Buildings contribute to the safety, and economic and social wellbeing of people and communities.

Working together

Following an emergency event where there is damage to buildings, agencies need to work together to:

  • protect life and promote safety within and in the vicinity of each building
  • minimise damage to and loss of property
  • restore building functions as soon as possible to minimise social and economic consequences of the emergency
  • minimise losses or disruption of lifeline utility services that are in or near any building.

Several different agencies and organisations have roles and responsibilities for managing building emergencies. MBIE works with:

  • territorial authorities (who are also referred to as 'local authorities' or 'councils')
  • Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) groups
  • the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) 
  • other emergency services such as Fire and Emergency New Zealand. 

Each emergency is different. The type and scale of the emergency affects which agency is responsible and how they need to respond.

Being prepared

Agencies need to plan and prepare for a wide range of different emergencies that can damage buildings and infrastructure, such as:

  • earthquakes
  • volcanic hazards
  • landslides
  • coastal hazards and tsunamis
  • floods
  • meteorological events such as severe wind, snow and drought
  • wildfires. 

Find general information about emergency management and how you can get prepared -

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: