Structural assessments

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Commercial Building Safety

An important purpose of the Building Act 2004 is to regulate building work so that people who use buildings can do so safely and without endangering their health.

Under the Building Act 2004 building owners are responsible for making sure that building work complies with the New Zealand Building Code.  

Where a territorial authority considers a building is earthquake-prone, it may prevent or restrict the use of the building and can require work to be carried out to reduce or remove the danger. If you consider a building to be earthquake-prone, you should contact your local council and give them all the relevant details. The technical definition of an earthquake-prone building is set out in the Building Act 2004 (section 122).

Detailed Engineering Evaluations (DEE)

The Detailed Engineering Evaluations (DEE) programme is being handed over from CERA to territorial authorities to manage under the Building Act 2004 and their respective earthquake-prone building policies, as per the standard practice across New Zealand. Read more in the media release: CERA hands building safety programme over to local councils.

Nationally, territorial authorities are often building consent authorities with the role of administering aspects of the Building Act 2004. The Building Act 2004 requires territorial authorities to adopt a policy on earthquake-prone buildings which states the approach the territorial authority will take in performing its statutory functions in relation to earthquake-prone buildings.

Following the Canterbury earthquakes, CERA considers that the work done to date means the risks from earthquake-prone buildings in Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri is now comparable to other parts of the country.

For this reason, and taking into account the results of the DEE process, the risk based prioritisation, the time elapsed since the earthquakes, and the existing national building regulation regime, CERA has stopped requesting DEEs. Effectively this is good news for the recovery as we transition to business as usual.  

The information contained within a DEE may ultimately be required by your local council under their earthquake-prone building policy. If CERA has not requested a DEE in respect of your building then you may choose to complete one or not. However a completed DEE may be beneficial for you and/or any tenants, and you may need one as part of your local council's earthquake-prone building policy.

All DEE information collected by CERA will be passed on to local authorities for their property files. Property files are often requested when considering buying a property, applying for a building consent or resource consent, or for insurance claim purposes.

Structural Assessments

For further advice about structural assessments, repairing or strengthening a building, or to find out if your building is earthquake-prone, you should contact your local council in the first instance. Ask to speak to the duty building planner or an engineer in their building control team.

Earthquake Prone Buildings

Learn more about earthquake-prone buildings or for specific Councils: Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council, Waimakariri District Council.

The Building Act 2004

If you have questions relating to the Building Act 2004, building consents, or earthquake-prone buildings please contact your local authority/council.
Christchurch City Council: (03) 941 8999
Selwyn District Council: Rolleston (03) 347 2800 or Darfield (03) 318 8338
Waimakariri District Council: (03) 311 8900

Read the Building Act 2004.