Managing buildings in an emergency – guidance for decision makers and territorial authorities

About these documents

  • Published on 6 July 2018
  • Of interest to Regional authorities, Heritage New Zealand, Territorial Authority, Building owners, Architects, Building control officers, Geotechnical engineers, Structural engineers
  • ISBN: 978-1-98-851775-9 (Print) / 978-1-98-851774-2 (Online)


This guide describes the roles and responsibilities of central and local government, and of other agencies, for managing buildings in an emergency using the 4Rs framework – Readiness, Response, Recovery and Reduction. It explains what is required, and provides detailed steps and checklists to help territorial authorities plan for, and carry out, rapid building assessments.


The guide is in three parts.

A. How buildings are managed in an emergency and who is responsible:

  • describes the purpose and scope of the guide (section 1)
  • provides an overview of the process for managing buildings in an emergency, roles and responsibilities for doing so, and resources needed to support this (section 2)
  • outlines the core legislation for managing buildings in an emergency, and the roles and responsibilities for doing so (section 3).

B. Preparing for and managing buildings in an emergency:

  • Readiness – steps for territorial authorities, including developing a building assessment plan, identifying key people, and checking training and resources (section 4)
  • Response – establishing and managing a rapid building assessment operation, or carrying out other building checks as appropriate, placarding, cordoning, stabilising/demolition as necessary, seeking further information from building owners as necessary (section 5)
  • Recovery and risk reduction – monitoring damaged buildings, repairs, removing placards/cordons, learning from the event and implementing changes (section 6).

C. Appendices

  • References and resources for managing buildings in an emergency, including readiness and response checklists.

Disclaimer: This document is a guide only. It should not be used as a substitute for legislation or legal advice. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is not responsible for the results of any actions taken on the basis of information in this document, or for any errors or omissions.

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: