Users of earthquake-prone buildings

Last updated: 15 August 2017

If you use or occupy an earthquake-prone building, or live or work in an area where there are earthquake-prone buildings, the system will give you better information about how a building is expected to perform in an earthquake.

There will be information about earthquake-prone buildings in the following places:

  • EPB notices displayed on buildings which carry the earthquake rating for the building and the date that seismic strengthening work must be completed
  • the online public EPB register of earthquake-prone buildings with information provided by territorial authorities. The information available will increase over time as territorial authorities determine more earthquake-prone buildings and upload data.

Register of earthquake-prone buildings has more information.

EPB notices

EPB notices have different borders to indicate the earthquake rating category the building is in. The notices are shown below, with information on the relevant rating category.

0% to less than 20% earthquake rating

Notices with an orange and black striped border are for buildings with an earthquake rating of 0% to less than 20% or where no engineering assessment has been provided and the earthquake rating has not been determined.

If the building has an earthquake rating of less than 20% the risk of failure under seismic load is approximately more than 25 times the risk of failure for buildings that are 100%NBS.

20% to less than 34% earthquake rating

Notices with a white and black striped border are for buildings that have an earthquake rating of 20% to less than 34%.

The risk of failure under seismic load is approximately 10–25 times the risk of failure for buildings that are 100%NBS.

Section 124 notice before 1 July 2017

Notices with an orange border are for buildings that were given a section 124 notice before 1 July 2017, where the earthquake rating is not known.

Exemption notice

Building owners may apply to their territorial authority for an exemption from undertaking seismic work on a building determined to be earthquake-prone.

Exemptions recognise that, although a building may be earthquake prone, the consequences of its failure would be low – there is a low risk to life safety and a low risk of damage to other property. An exemption notice is shown below.

Who does what

Territorial authorities, engineers and buildings owners have key responsibilities for managing earthquake-prone buildings (EPBs). This is outlined in the diagram below.

Time frames for identifying earthquake-prone buildings

New Zealand has been divided into three seismic risk areas in order to set time frames for identifying potentially earthquake-prone buildings and carry out work on those determined to be earthquake prone. These seismic areas are not highlighting a new risk but are based on a hazard factor (the “Z factor”) that engineers and designers already use when designing buildings in a particular location.

Seismic risk areas and time frames has a map of the seismic risk areas and time frames.

Priority buildings

There is a category of earthquake-prone buildings called priority buildings that only applies in high and medium seismic risk areas.

Priority buildings are considered higher risk because of their construction, type, use or location.

Priority buildings must be identified and remediated in half the time frame available for other buildings in the same seismic risk area.

More information

You can find more information about the system for managing earthquake-prone buildings in the following sources.

The methodology to identify earthquake-prone buildings has information on the categories of buildings that may be considered potentially earthquake prone and the criteria for determining whether a building or part of a building is earthquake prone

Building (Specified Systems, Change the Use, and Earthquake-prone Buildings) Regulations 2005 on the Legislation website includes definitions includes definitions of key terms, requirements for earthquake-prone building notices, criteria for substantial alterations which may trigger early seismic work, and characteristics that a building must have to be granted an exemption.

Building (Infringement Offences, Fees, and Forms) Regulations 2007 on the Legislation websiteincludes the new infringements and fees that relate to earthquake-prone buildings

Earthquake-prone building resources has additional guidance on how the system works.

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: