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 Hamilton’s EPB (around 200 buildings) are now being issued to applicable building owners in late 2022. The notice, to be displayed on the building, does not mean the building is unsafe or cannot be used. This process has already happened in many areas of New Zealand.

How does New Zealand manage earthquake-prone buildings?

Hamilton is following a consistent national process. Hamilton is in a medium-risk earthquake zone which means building owners in Hamilton 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.

More information on managing earthquake-prone buildings is available from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Notices and more information

From October/November 2022, building owners who have buildings identified as an EPB will receive notices to be displayed on their building. This is the next stage in a national process which has already happened in other areas of the country.

The latest national advice confirms there is no requirement to stop using a building solely because of its EPB rating. We have produced an information sheet to explain the process for building owners, as well as tenants and other users of buildings identified as EPB.

Download the document here:

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.

Discuss your building with us

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Last updated 31 October 2022