Your Council

Earthquake prone buildings

The Council is assessing the earthquake resilience of all buildings built before 1976.


Palmerston North, like much of the country, is in a seismic zone. The city is 15km from the major Wellington-Mohaka faultline, which runs up the eastern side of the Tararua Ranges.

Council assesses lots of risk factors to help predict what may happen to a building in an earthquake. These include its age, size, shape and construction materials.

This initial evaluation procedure or IEP grades each building to indicate its strength. This is shown as the percentage of the New Building Standard it reaches.

We recommend a detailed assessment from an engineer before you start any building work.

Risk matrix

Percentage of New Building Standard

Letter Grade

Relative Risk

>100 A+ <1 x  
81-99 A 1-2 x  
68-80 B 2-5 x  
34-67 C 5-10 x  
21-33 D 10-25 x  
<20 E 25 x  

The Earthquake Prone Building List is updated when buildings are identified or building owners complete the necessary work to make each building safe.

The Council wants to engage building owners, tenants and the community on viable programmes for strengthening buildings, retaining heritage, and ensuring the city's commercial viability.

Council recognises the need to raise general public awareness of earthquake prone building risks, as recommended by the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission of Enquiry, while recognising that future policy details are not yet known.

If you require further information please email or phone 06 355 6445.