Earthquake-prone buildings

Understand the earthquake-prone building process, and find out what to do if your building is, or may be, earthquake prone.

What is an earthquake-prone building?

Under a national system led by MBIE, buildings are regarded as an earthquake-prone building (EPB) if they are assessed as being less than one-third of the strength required for a new build in the same location in a moderate earthquake. The rating is determined by a building’s weakest element. This means if one area of the building (whether used or not) is rated as below standard, this rating applies to the whole building until the area is strengthened or removed.

What’s happening now?

Council’s been working with building owners for more than a year. Notices stating the rating of Ōtorohanga's EPB (around 16 buildings) are now being issued to applicable building owners in late Jan 2024. The notice, to be displayed on the building, does not mean the building cannot be used. This process has already happened in many areas of New Zealand.

How does New Zealand manage earthquake-prone buildings?

Ōtorohanga is following a consistent national process. Ōtorohanga is in a medium-risk earthquake zone which means building owners in Ōtorohanga have between 12.5 and 25 years to resolve any issues identified, depending on type, use or location of the building. This video gives you an overview of the system - https://youtu.be/0kdaI5UClBs

Worried your building may be earthquake prone?

If you’ve received a low earthquake rating or are concerned about the earthquake safety of your building, we can help you improve its earthquake safety. We will work with you through our five-step earthquake-prone building process.

1. Identification

We'll identify potentially earthquake-prone buildings and notifies owners.

2. Assessment

Building owners provide more information about their building to us. We then confirm whether the building is earthquake prone or not.

3. Notification

Building owners are issued an earthquake-prone building notice with a deadline to fix or demolish their building. The notice must be attached in a prominent place on or adjacent to the building.

4. Seismic work

Building owners carry out seismic work to ensure that their building is no longer earthquake prone. This normally involves strengthening, demolishing, or partially demolishing the building.

5. Removal of the notice

Building owners notify us once seismic work has been completed and a Code Compliance Certificate has been issued. We will then review the work and inform the owner that the building is no longer considered earthquake prone. The notice can then be removed from the building.