Review of earthquake-prone building policy
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is consulting on proposed changes to the system for dealing with earthquake-prone buildings. The proposals set out a consistent national approach to dealing with these building.
Essentially the proposals would require all non-residential and multi-unit, multi-storey residential buildings to have a seismic capacity assessment done within five years. Owners of buildings identified as earthquake-prone would then have up to 10 years to strengthen or demolish these buildings.
The consultation proposals resulted from a review of the earthquake-prone building policy framework established under the Building Act 2004. The review was done by officials from the former Department of Building and Housing (now MBIE), with input from experts and practitioners involved with the earthquake-prone buildings system.
Aims of review
The review aimed to ensure that legislative and regulatory requirements:
- balance life and safety considerations against risk and economic, heritage and other considerations are effectively implemented and administered.
Scope of review
The review is considered the adequacy of current policy settings and regulations and their implementation, including:
- the policy framework set out in the Building Act 2004
- the treatment of different types and uses of buildings (e.g. commercial, multi-unit residential, heritage, schools)
- the current earthquake-prone building threshold (one-third of the new building standard)
- the roles of, and relationships between, central and local government
- the right balance of life and safety considerations alongside risk and other factors, such as economic and heritage values.
Terms of reference
The review terms of reference set out in detail:
- the aims of the review
- the scope of the review
- the current policy framework
- the review process.
Read the Earthquake-prone building policy review: Terms of reference.
Read the Cabinet paper noting the Earthquake-Prone Building Policy Review Terms of Reference. [PDF 966 KB, 13 pages]
The Department's review is being assisted by two reference groups: :
- a sector reference group (experts and practitioners in engineering, construction, property ownership and management, insurance, heritage and local government)
- a government policy reference group (officials from relevant agencies).
The review and the Canterbury earthquakes
The review drew on learnings from the Canterbury earthquakes, including the Department’s technical investigations into four major Christchurch building collapses caused by the earthquake on 22 February 2011.
The review enabled a timely response to the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission’s findings.
For more information on the review, please email the Department at: email@example.com.