Earthquake-prone Buildings


​Managing Earthquake Prone Buildings

Council's previous earthquake prone building policy has now been replaced by the Building (Earthquake-prone Building) Amendment Act 2016 which came into effect 1 July 2017. It is a nationally consistent system for managing earthquake-prone buildings and changes the way they are identified, assessed and managed.​

This video by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) gives you an introduction to the national system for managing earthquake-prone buildings: why we have it and how it works.​

​​Council will be contacting building owners whose buildings were previously identified as potentially or earthquake prone in accordance with time frames set out in the Building Act.

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.​

​Earthquake Strengthen your Home

​​​​​This video by Hutt City Council has some useful information about how you can make your home more structurally safe and sound in an earthquake.​

​Previous earthquake-prone building assessments

If you own a building that has been 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.

You will have 12 months from the date you receive written notification from us to carry out a new assessment and you will need to cover the cost of the new assessment.

Application for an 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 engineering assessment by the due date.

You must apply for an extension at least two months before the initial due date. Other criteria also apply. Go to the Building (Earthquake-prone Building) Amendment Act 2016 for more information.

​​Apply for an extension to provide an earthquake-pr​one building assessment using this form​​. The form must be posted to Council.

Earthquake-prone status​

If your building has 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 the national register of earthquake-prone buildings
  • have 25 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.

Alterations to potentially Earthquake-prone buildings

A substantial alteration to an EPB is now defined as an alteration (other than seismic strengthening) that needs a building consent (together with other work consented in the past two years), has an estimated value of at least 25 percent of the building's value and is more than $150,000.

This means building owners can complete modest and progressive renovations to lower-value EPBs without triggering the requirement to carry out seismic strengthening work immediately, for example altering a kitchen or fitting the place out for a tenancy.​

Earthquake-prone buildings and multiple unit titles

If 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 building consents team:

Exemption from strengthening for isolated buildings

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

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

See section 10 of the Building (Specified Systems, Change the Use, and Earthquake-prone Buildings) Regulations 2005 for more information and qualifying criteria

​​​Identified current earthquake prone buildings

All confirmed earthquake-prone buildings in the city can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Environment website.

Click HERE to view the known earthquake prone buildings within the Rotorua Region

The EPB Register provides information about buildings that territorial authorities (TAs) have determined to be earthquake prone. These decisions will be made progressively in the timeframes defined in the Building Act 2004. Information about these buildings will be available online once an EPB notice has been issued and the TA has recorded this information in the register.

Responsibilty of an owner of an earthquake prone building

Rotorua Lakes Council issues an earthquake prone building notice directly to a recognised building owner and this notice includes a letter instructing the building owner to attach this notice in a prominent place on the building (See NZ Building Act 2004 Section 133AP for further information). 

The owner must ensure that the notice is displayed in a prominent place and that the notice remains legible (Council must give the authorisation to remove this notice).

If at any time the notice is removed without Council authorisation or becomes illegible the owner is required to contact Council to have a replacement notice produced, failure to do so in an offence under Section 133AP NZ Building Act 2004.

The owner is responsible to taking the necessary action to ensure the building doesn’t remain earthquake prone within the timeframes specified in the earthquake prone building notice.


Page reviewed: 17 Dec 2019 5:08pm