What we're doing about earthquake-prone buildings (EPB) including information for building owners and visitors.
Let us know if you have a query about an earthquake-prone building
In July 2017 new rules for dealing with earthquake-prone buildings, including the main changes and building owner roles and responsibilities came into effect.
The Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016(external link) inserted provisions into the Building Act 2004 (external link)for how earthquake-prone buildings are identified and addressed.
If the Council issues an earthquake-prone building (EPB) notice for a priority building, the owner must complete seismic work (either by strengthening or demolition) within 7.5 years of the date of the first EPB notice. Refer to Section 133AM(external link).
If the Council issues an EPB notice for other buildings, the owner must complete seismic work on the building (either by strengthening or demolition) within 15 years of the date of the notice. Refer to Section 133AM(external link).
Visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's managing earthquake-prone buildings.(external link)
Visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment: Seismic Risk Guidance for buildings(external link).
When the Council issues an EPB notice it must be attached to the building in a prominent place or adjacent to the building. The Council may require the owner to attach the EPB notice. If the notice goes missing or becomes illegible then the owner must notify the Council who will issue a replacement notice.
The notice informs the public that they are entering and using a building that is earthquake-prone and that it may suffer damage in a moderate earthquake. It is an offence to fail to attach the notice correctly or fail to notify the Council when the notice goes missing or becomes illegible. Refer to section 133AP(external link) and section 133AU(external link)
Council may also impose safety requirements on an earthquake-prone building under section 133AR(external link). This may require a hoarding or fence to be erected and a notice attached warning people not to approach the building.
If you have received an EPB notice from the Council indicating that your building has been assessed as earthquake-prone and you do not agree with this assessment or have completed strengthening work, please send your engineering assessment or completion documentation to DEEs@ccc.govt.nz.
One of our engineers will review the information provided. If our engineer’s review agrees with your information we will remove your building from the EPB Register.
If our engineer's review disagrees with your information we will contact you to let you know that your building remains on the EPB register and the EPB notice will continue to apply.
Seismic work, either strengthening or demolition, will generally require approval from the Council. Please contact us before starting any work to find out if a building consent or resource consent is required.
The Council can help owners with the seismic strengthening of listed heritage buildings.
The Heritage Team offers free advice(external link), including exploring options for work that balances the owners' needs for continued functional use of the building with appropriate conservation methodologies.
Some strengthening methods have more of an impact on heritage fabric and values than others. Usually, there is more than one option available. Sometimes a less intrusive strengthening method can also be less expensive. The Heritage Team has experience with what has worked well in other heritage buildings.
Strengthening works to listed heritage buildings may require Resource Consent.
Owners of heritage items listed in the District Plan are eligible to apply for funding from the Council’s Heritage Incentive Grants Fund. The Central City Landmark grants support the retention, repair and upgrade of key landmark heritage buildings within the Central City.
Grants may be available to assist with repairs, seismic strengthening and building code compliance upgrades to ensure ongoing use of the building. Initial contact should be made to the Heritage team on 03 941 8999.
The partnership approvals service provides case management support to a wide range of projects across Christchurch. The team helps property owners, their specialists and contractors to satisfy requirements for consenting approvals and compliance with less fuss.
If you’re interested in saving time and being well prepared, check out the information on Partnership Approvals to see if your project qualifies.
Building owners need to develop their own policy and procedures for what to do after a significant earthquake. All tenants need to be made aware of these procedures and know what to do when an event occurs.
Anyone running a business is required by law to provide a safe work environment.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015(external link) does not set a minimum standard, rather it says that all reasonable practicable steps need to be taken to remove or minimise the risk from identified hazards.
Following a significant earthquake, the Council recommends building owners have their buildings assessed for potential structural damage that may have been caused by the earthquake.
The Council recommends the following four-step process to ensure your building is safe after an earthquake.
The earthquake-prone building register(external link) is part of the framework for managing earthquake-prone buildings(external link) that came into force on 1 July 2017.
The register is a national registered and managed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). It enables councils and the Ministry to record and update information about buildings or parts of buildings that have been determined to be earthquake-prone.
The list of buildings on the register will change as further buildings are identified and added, or as buildings are strengthened or demolished.
The Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy 2018 replaced the Council’s Earthquake-prone, Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy 2010.
The Council has the responsibility to protect people from the risks unsafe buildings may pose.
Section 131(external link), Building Act 2004 requires all councils to have adopted a policy on dangerous and insanitary buildings within its district. The Council adopted its policy in December 2018 and is required to review this policy every 5 years. Note, earthquake-prone buildings are now covered by sections 133AA - 133AY of the Building Act.
The policy outlines how the Council undertakes its responsibilities under the Act in regard to, dangerous and insanitary buildings. This may include affected buildings, which are buildings adjacent to or adjoining a dangerous building and affected by the danger that building may pose.
Licensed Building Practitioner(external link): A Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) is a tradesperson you can trust to know how to build it right. LBPs have been assessed as being competent to do the type of building they hold a licence for. LBPs have to show certain skills, give proof of practical experience and comply with the building code to get their licence. They also have to gain enough skills maintenance points every two years to keep it. There are a number of licences that can be held by a tradesperson. These each specialise in an area of the building process. These licences are design, carpentry, foundation, roofing, brick and block laying, and external plastering. Registered Architects and Chartered Professional Engineers are automatically treated as design LBPs and you can employ them to do any Restricted Building Work design.
Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board(external link): The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGDB) is the statutory body that regulates these trades. While New Zealand law allows anyone to purchase fittings and appliances it is illegal to do restricted sanitary plumbing, gasfitting or drainlaying work without authorisation. Ask for the card. You should ask to see the current authorisation card of a tradesperson – this is confirmation that the plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying work will be completed by someone qualified or competently supervised. A public register of all certifying and licensed tradespeople is available at www.pgdb.co.nz(external link). You can use the search function to find the contact details of specific individuals or to find the names and contact details of certifying or licensed tradespeople in your area. If you are building or renovating find out all you need to know and obtain the handy consumer guide at the Board’s website.
Quantity surveyors(external link): A quantity surveyor is a person responsible for figuring out just what a construction project is going to cost. They aim to keep projects on budget, among many other roles. The New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS) is the professional organisation in New Zealand for quantity surveyors, estimators, cost managers and cost consultants in the construction industry.