To support the city's recovery, the Resource Management Act processes have been streamlined for businesses and residents relocating to temporary accommodation, and construction depots and storage yards needed for earthquake rebuild work.

As a result of the earthquakes many people and businesses can no longer live or work in their usual homes or premises. Thousands of displaced people have already relocated or will need to relocate to temporary accommodation while their homes and businesses are being repaired or rebuilt. Construction depots are also needed around the city for rebuilding purposes.

Temporary accommodation legislation

The Canterbury Earthquake (Resource Management Act Permitted Activities) Order 2011 was passed in March 2011 to enable the Council to permit temporary accommodation for displaced people and businesses that would otherwise not comply with the City and District Plans. The Order has an expiry date of 30 June 2021. Any temporary accommodation established under this legislation can therefore only remain on site until that date unless it complies with the City or District Plan, or a resource consent has been obtained.

Temporary accommodation must comply with standards set by the Council. These vary depending on the type of temporary accommodation and the zone in the City Plan or Banks Peninsula District Plan.

The current standards and the associated policy can be viewed here:


Meeting temporary accommodation standards

  • If temporary residential accommodation breaches rules in the City Plan or Banks Peninsula District Plan, it is permitted if it complies with the standards [PDF 120KB].
  • Prior confirmation needs to be obtained from the Council, using a Permitted Temporary Accommodation Form and Checksheet
  • The Council will check that the temporary accommodation complies with all necessary standards for that location
  • If the proposed accommodation activity is permitted, the Council will confirm this in writing within 5 working days. There is no charge for this.
  • Temporary business accommodation, and temporary residential accommodation that does not comply with the standards for that location, needs approval from the Council (called a Site Specific Approval)
  • The Council has put in place a special streamlined process to decide whether the activity is suitable for the location. This can be applied for using the form Application for Temporary Accommodation: Site Specific Approval.
  • A commissioner will consider the request to decide whether the temporary accommodation can be permitted with suitable conditions attached. The timeframe for doing this is 10 working days. There is no charge for the commissioner approval process.
  • All other statutory requirements and regulations (e.g. building consent, liquor licensing) will still stand and will need to follow the normal processes
  • Temporary construction depots and storage facilities are permitted if they comply with the standards for that location, otherwise Site Specific Approval is needed.

Temporary accommodation in residential areas

  • Temporary accommodation and depots will be located in parts of the City in which these activities would not normally be allowed under the City Plan or Banks Peninsula District Plan
  • Temporary accommodation and depots may be located in parts of the city not otherwise affected by the earthquake
  • You may start to see different things happening in your neighbourhood, if temporary accommodation is set up. This is only for a limited period of time.
  • Where Site Specific Approval is required, the decision will take into account residents living nearby, balancing the quality of life of the community with the need to progress the rebuilding of the city.

Workers' temporary accommodation

The Christchurch City Plan, Banks Peninsula District Plan and other plans in the Canterbury Region were amended on 26 September 2012 to provide for Workers' Temporary Accommodation. The provisions apply to temporary uses and temporary buildings for workers’ accommodation and override other district plan rules for this activity. This provides greater certainty for accommodation providers, councils and communities and  will help to facilitate the provision of suitable accommodation to meet the needs of rebuild workers. Refer to the CERA fact sheet - Regulatory requirements for workers' temporary accommodation [PDF 651KB] for further information.

If you have any questions or require further information phone (03) 941 8999 and ask to speak to the Duty Planner.