What is an earthquake-prone building?

A building, or part of a building, is earthquake prone if it is likely to collapse and cause injury or death, or damage to another property, in a moderate earthquake. An earthquake-prone building can only handle one-third of the earthquake shaking that a new building at the same site could take. A structural engineer can assess a building to give it an earthquake rating to a percentage of the new building standard.

Why is this important to know?

Hamilton is in a medium-risk earthquake zone. New Zealand is divided into three seismic risk areas. In a medium-risk zone, the deadline to fix or demolish earthquake-prone buildings is 25 years. Some buildings are considered ‘priority buildings’ due to their construction, type, use or location. These buildings must be fixed within 12.5 years.

How does New Zealand manage earth-quake-prone buildings?

A national approach to earthquake risk makes sure we are prepared for future earthquakes in a consistent way. The system provides information for people using buildings, such as notices on earthquake-prone buildings, and a public register. 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.

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 12 July 2022