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Post-emergency building assessment

Last updated: 22 December 2016

Post-emergency building assessment image

After an event that causes widespread damage, many buildings may be dangerous from potential collapse, falling debris, damaged services, insanitary conditions and other hazards.

If your home, workplace or property is damaged by a major event it may need assessment by a qualified professional. Building owners are primarily responsible for ensuring buildings remain structurally sound following a major event, and assisting local authorities. During a state of emergency or transition period, the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 enables authorised civil defence and emergency management officials to carry out assessments, or require building owners to carry out an assessment of a building they own, to ensure buildings are safe to enter, safe to occupy and do not risk the safety of others.

An authorised civil defence emergency management official means:

  • during a state of emergency – depending on the situation, a CDEM Group, Controller or constable, or any person authorised acting under that person’s authority
  • during a transition period – a Recovery Manager or any person authorised acting under the authority of a Recovery Manager (which may be a building control manager).

A major event could be an earthquake, flood, landslide, rock-fall, volcanic eruption, storm, surge, tsunami, explosion or some other event.

Resources and related information

Building assessments, including field guides and forms has resources for authorised civil defence emergency management officials and engineers.

Building owner and manager guidance post-emergency explains the assessment process to building owners, managers and employers.

Everyone needs to be alert to hazards in their own building, from neighbouring buildings, from the surrounding environment and further risks such as aftershocks. Do not enter obviously unsafe buildings.

The Civil Defence & Emergency Management website and Earthquake Commission website have information on what to do after an earthquake.

Go to the Get Ready Get Thru website to find out how to prepare for a major emergency.

MBIE’s Canterbury rebuild information provides guidance for homeowners, building owners and building professionals. This information supports Canterbury’s long-term building recovery from the earthquake sequence that began in 2010. Much of the information will be relevant to the Kaikoura 2016 earthquakes.

Resources on the Worksafe website include:

Other resources:

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: