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Earthquake-prone buildings

Ngā whare tūpono ki te rūwhenua

The approach for identifying and managing potentially earthquake-prone buildings is governed by the provisions of the Building Act 2004.

Changes under the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016

On 1 July 2017, the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 came into effect and is now embedded in the Building Act 2004 (the Act).

This supersedes the earthquake-prone buildings section of Auckland Council’s former Earthquake-prone, Dangerous and Insanitary Building Policy.

We will be writing to owners of potentially earthquake prone buildings within the region to request that they provide an engineering assessment.

Those contacted for this reason will have 12 months from the date of their written notification from us to carry out the engineering assessment.

Building owners will need to cover the cost of the engineering assessment themselves.

Structures that the Act applies to

The Act applies to commercial buildings and some residential buildings.

Residential buildings are only covered under the act if they:

  • comprise two or more storeys and three or more household units,
  • or are used as hostels, boarding houses or other types of specialised accommodation.

The Act does not apply to:

  • farm buildings
  • stand-alone retaining walls
  • fences
  • statues and other monuments that cannot be entered
  • wharves
  • bridges
  • tunnels
  • storage tanks.

Previous earthquake-prone building assessments

If you own a building that was assessed as not earthquake-prone under our initial evaluation programme, then you don't need to take any further action.

If you own a building that was assessed as earthquake-prone under our initial evaluation programme, you can either:

New earthquake-prone building assessments

If you choose to undertake a new assessment using the MBIE methodology, the result of the assessment will supersede any existing seismic assessment rating.

Extension to provide an earthquake-prone building assessment

An extension of up to 12 months may be available if you are unable to provide an assessment by the due date.

You have to apply for an extension at least two months before the initial due date.

Apply for an extension to provide an earthquake-prone building assessment

 By email

Email your completed application form to our seismic performance team at eqbproject@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

​Buildings with earthquake-prone status

If your building retains an existing earthquake-prone evaluation or is rated as earthquake-prone under the new assessment, you will:

  • be issued with a statutory Earthquake-Prone Building (EPB) notice, which you must display in a prominent place in your building
  • have the details of your building added to a new national register of earthquake-prone buildings
  • have 35 years from the date of the EPB notice to strengthen your building so that it is no longer earthquake-prone, or if you carry out a substantial alteration or change of use, have to strengthen your building at the same time.

Where to attach your earthquake-prone building notice

When we have issued you with an earthquake-prone building notice, you must place that notice in a prominent place or directly adjacent to the main entrance of the earthquake-prone building. You may place additional copies of the notice at other entrances to the building.

The notice must be visible to people who have not yet entered the building and may be placed on the interior of the main door (if it contains a pane of glass) or an adjacent window facing out. If this is not an option, you should securely attach the notice to the exterior of the building and make sure that it is not affected by the weather and remains in place until the notice is revoked.

The notice should be displayed at a height and positioned where it's easily seen by visitors. It should not be obscured by any other pieces of the building, furniture or decorations.

Earthquake-prone buildings with multiple unit titles

When a building with multiple unit titles is deemed earthquake-prone, the owner of each title will be issued with a separate earthquake-prone building notice.

Extension to complete strengthening for heritage buildings

You can apply for a 10-year extension to complete strengthening works for an earthquake-prone building that is:

  • a Category 1 listed building, or
  • on the National Historic Landmarks list.

For further information, email our seismic performance team at eqbproject@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

Exemption from strengthening for isolated buildings

You can apply for an exemption from strengthening works for an earthquake-prone building that is:

  • used infrequently
  • poses a low risk of injury to people and damage to other property in the event of an earthquake.

For detailed qualifying criteria, see section 10 of the Building (Specified Systems, Change the Use, and Earthquake-prone Buildings) Regulations 2005.

For further information, email our seismic performance team at eqbproject@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

Fees for extension to complete strengthening or exemption from strengthening

Read fee table.
DescriptionFixed fee (non-refundable, no additional charges)
Exemption from the requirement to carry out seismic work on the building or part of the building fixed fee (non-refundable, no additional charges)$350
Extension of time to complete seismic work on certain heritage buildings or part of the building fixed fee (non-refundable, no additional charges)$148

​Apply for exemption from strengthening or extension to complete strengthening

 By email

Email your completed application form to our seismic performance team at eqbproject@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

​Further information

You can read about the system for managing earthquake-prone buildings, including the relevant legislation, on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website.

For specific information on tools and guidance for users to understand how the system works, refer to  Earthquake-prone building resources.

For further information, email our seismic performance team at eqbproject@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

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