The Building Act 2004 and the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 set out the legislative requirements for earthquake-prone buildings in New Zealand. The legislation aims to identify buildings that are at risk of collapse in an earthquake and ensure they are strengthened or demolished to reduce the risk of harm to people and property.
Local councils have a key role in implementing the legislation and identifying earthquake-prone buildings in their districts. Councils are responsible for assessing buildings and issuing earthquake-prone building notices to building owners. The notices require the building owner to either strengthen or demolish the building within a specified timeframe.
Building owners have a responsibility to ensure their buildings are safe and comply with the legislation. They must take action if their building is identified as earthquake-prone, either by strengthening or demolishing it. Building owners must also display an earthquake-prone building notice in a visible location to inform the public of the building’s status.
The cost of strengthening or demolishing an earthquake-prone building can be substantial, and the government has introduced measures to support building owners. This includes funding assistance and low-interest loans for eligible building owners.