Questions and answers - Structural Assessments

Why does CERA want my building’s structural assessment?

It is a requirement of the CER Act, Section 29 or 51, that where requested, building owners should provide structural assessments of their building(s) to CERA.  This is in order to ensure structures remaining in Canterbury are not earthquake prone, and to commence the process for improving the building to at least 34% of the New Building Standard (NBS).

What should my structural assessment contain?

Your structural assessment must be completed using the detailed Engineering Evaluation Procedure, which can be downloaded from

I haven’t received my letter – should I send you my structural survey anyway?

You can send us your structural assessment if it is already completed, but to prevent it being sent back to you with requests for more information make sure that your assessment complies with the Engineering Evaluation Procedure guidelines at

Once I have received the letter, when do I have to have responded by?

We would appreciate building owners confirming receipt of the letter within ten working days, and have provided the assessment within 8 weeks from the date of the letter.

What happens if I don’t provide the structural assessments?

It is important that you do provide the assessments to give CERA and the public confidence that your building is not earthquake prone. If you do not provide the assessment, or complete it to a satisfactory level, CERA may restrict access to your building under Section 45 of the Act.

What does CERA do with the structural assessments?

CERA engineers will review the assessments to identify if they are fully completed. If they are, then they will be filed with Christchurch City Council.  The building owner will be advised if the information raises concerns or provides a sufficient level of confidence for the buildings on-going use.

If the assessment is not completed to the guidelines requirements then the building owner will be requested to update their assessment.

It is the building owner’s responsibility, not CERA’s, to make sure their buildings are safe for reoccupation.

Who else will see the structural engineer report?

All building assessments will also be provided to Christchurch City Council to update the LIM files and to review in terms of permissions and certifications.

If CERA is reviewing the building’s structural engineering reports, does CERA have a responsibility for checking the building is safe?

No, it is entirely the building owners resposibility to make sure their building has had the appropriate checks and work completed on their building.

What is Section 29 and 51 of the CER Act?

Section 29:
Requiring information to be given

(1) The chief executive may, by notice in writing, require any person to give the chief executive any information described in subsection (2).

(2) The information concerned is information that is—

(a) in the possession of the person who is asked to give the information; and

(b) capable of being provided without unreasonable difficulty or expense.

(3) Nothing in this section overrides legal professional privilege or affects any privilege recognised by sections 54 to 64 of the Evidence Act 2006.

See the legislation for Section 29 at

Section 51:

 Requiring structural survey
The chief executive may require any owner, insurer, or mortgagee of a building that he or she considers has or may have experienced structural change in the Canterbury earthquakes to carry out a full structural survey of the building before it is re-occupied for business or accommodation by the owner, a tenant, or any member of the public.

See the legislation for Section 51 at

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

You can contact if you have any questions or call 0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372)