Earthquake Prone Buildings

Councils, Owners, Landlords are required to comply with the EQPB Amendment bill which is now in force as from 1st July 2017.

The law is built on a Risk Based Assessment according to Zone.

There are three Seismic Zones in New Zealand. Kaipara is included in the Low Risk zone which has the least onerous requirements.

Timeframes for Assessment & Upgrade

Low Risk –           15 years assess; 35 years to fix (Kaipara)

Medium –             10 years assess; 25 years to fix

High –                  5 years assess; 15 years to fix

Priority Buildings – half the timeframes given for medium & high zones only

What are Priority Buildings? – Not relevant to Low Seismic Zone (Kaipara)

Priority Buildings are:

  • Medium or High risk zones only (not Low zone);
  • likely to be needed in an emergency or;
  • early childhood, schools, training or tertiary building;
  • any part of an unreinforced building that could fall onto a public road, footpath, or public thoroughfare;
  • any building which collapse could impede public transport route of strategic importance.

Territorial Authority’s must use special consultative procedure under the Local Government Act 2002

Territorial Authorities (Kaipara District Council) will:

  • identify potentially earthquake-prone buildings and notify the building owners;
  • review engineering assessments provided by building owners;
  • determine if a building is earthquake prone, and if it is, assign an earthquake rating;
  • issue earthquake-prone building notices to owners of earthquake-prone buildings;
  • publish information about earthquake-prone buildings on the public register.

Owners will:

  • Need to get an engineering assessment for their building within 12 months from the date they are notified it is potentially earthquake prone by their territorial authority. This may happen if there is uncertainty or the owner disagrees with Councils assessment.
  • Display an Earthquake-Prone building notice if their building is confirmed earthquake prone. This notice must be displayed in a prominent place to be seen by the public.
  • Take action to undertake seismic work on their earthquake-prone building within the specified time frame so that is no longer earthquake prone.

Engineers Will:

  • Undertake engineering assessments on potentially earthquake-prone buildings in accordance with the requirements of the EPB methodology.
  • Provide technical support to territorial authorities where required.

Ministry of Business & Innovation will:

  • Maintain a national, publicly accessible register of buildings determined to be earthquake prone and their earthquake ratings
  • Territorial Authority’s enter EQPB on this register and remove when building is no longer EQP

Register does not include names of owners

Profile Categories

Territorial Authority’s (Council) must identify Buildings as EQP by using 3 ‘profile categories’ as specified by MBIE:

A. URM (Unreinforced Masonry Buildings)

B. Pre 1976 buildings, 3 or more storeys or 12 meters in height above the ground level, other than URM buildings

C. Pre 1935 buildings, one or two storeys, other than URM buildings. (‘C’ only applies to Med. & High zones)

EQP Notices & Powers

  • Must be placed in ‘prominent place’
  • It is a serious offence to remove the Notice and penalties apply
  • Notice must include EPB rating and deadline
  • Council may apply to District Court to remediate if owner does not comply
  • Remediate can include demolition
  • Costs are recoverable for all work done by Council 


  • ‘Parts’ of a building that are EQP will mean the ‘building’ is EQP (parapets, sections of URM, internal mechanical ducting and items that can potential cause injury if these fall etc.
  • There is provision for exemption from EQPB upgrade at discretion of T/A, however, despite any granted exemption, the notice will still be fixed to building and entered on register.
  • Please refer to MBIE guidance on exemption criteria.
  • Applications for consent to undertake ‘substantial alterations’ to an EQPB will trigger the upgrade requirements if the cost of these alterations exceed 25% of the rateable value of the building (excluding land value) – note: please refer to MBIE for details.