Earthquake Prone Buildings

Legislation for earthquake prone buildings

The Building Act 2004 requires each territorial authority to have an earthquake-prone building (EQPB) policy for its district. The policy is intended to set out the approach that the territorial authority is taking with regard to earthquake-prone buildings, in particular the upgrade of buildings so that they are no longer earthquake-prone.

A comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) is available on our website.

What does 'earthquake-prone' mean and does it apply to all buildings?

  • Essentially, an earthquake-prone building is an existing building that will have strength that is 33% or less of the seismic loading standard for new buildings.
  • A building designed to the current design standards would have at least 100% of New Building Strength (NBS). Existing buildings are assessed and given a %NBS. If a building is less than 33% NBS, it is classed as earthquake-prone.
  • The technical definition of an earthquake-prone building is set out in Section 122 of the Building Act 2004.
  • Small residential buildings (houses) are exempt from the provisions of the Act.

Detailed Engineering Evaluations (DEEs) due in to Council by 31 December 2016

18 March 2016

Council is sending out hundreds of letters to property owners of potentially earthquake prone buildings. The letter is advising owners that they must provide a Detailed Engineering Evaluation (DEE) to Council by 31 December 2016. Note: This only applies to buildings that have not been demolished, or strengthened or otherwise altered to be greater than 33% of New Building Standard (NBS).

Owners are reminded that

  1. The deadline for submitting Initial Evaluation Procedures (IEPs) was 31 July 2013. Council can no longer accept IEPs.
  2. For properties confirmed as being earthquake prone, additional information will be required by Council. This includes a ‘declaration of intent’ and ‘risk assessment’ to determine if the building can continue to be occupied until such time that it can be either strengthened or demolished.
  3. If owners do not provide a DEE by the due date, under our Earthquake-Prone, Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy Council can commission the assessment at the owner’s expense.

If owners intend to demolish or carry out the required strengthening works (ie greater than 33% NBS) by 31 December 2016, please advise Council as soon as possible so our records can be updated.

For more information, please refer to the Earthquake-Prone, Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy or contact the Building Control department at Council, phone 03 769 8600 or email

Page reviewed: 23 Apr 2018 11:51am