Rates, Building and Property

Earthquake prone buildings

Council is working with building owners, tenants and the community to upgrade earthquake-prone buildings, retain buildings with heritage value, and ensure the city centre remains commercially viable.

Support for building owners

Contact Council if you own an earthquake-prone building and are thinking about undertaking seismic strengthening.

A number of earthquake-prone buildings in Palmerston North are also classified as heritage buildings. Grant funding and support is available for technical reports, engineering assessment and physical works.

Classifying seismic and building risk

If a building was built before 1976 and is commercial, publicly accessible, or a multi-story residential building, it may be subject to the earthquake-prone building requirements. 

The requirements are set out in the New Zealand Building Act 2004 and subsequent amendments. These include responsibilities for building owners and for Councils.

Since 2011, Council has assessed the earthquake resilience of more than 500 buildings built before 1976.

Lots of risk factors help predict what may happen to a building in an earthquake. These include its age, size, shape and construction materials. Structural engineering standards have changed over time. Older buildings do not have the same resilience in an earthquake.

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 achieves. Earthquake-prone buildings are are those classified as less than 34% of the current standard for an equivalent building.

Council maintains a regularly updated list of buildings we’ve assessed as potentially earthquake prone (see downloads section at the bottom of the page).

Government review and transition to new system

A New Zealand-wide approach for identifying and managing earthquake-prone buildings came into force on 1 July 2017.

For more information about the new system for managing earthquake-prone buildings, see the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website.

Council is working on a staged transition to the new system and will be engaging with building owners to ensure you understand your requirements under the new system.

Information Session - New EQ Prone Approach

The Council organised an information session on 15 November 2017.  

Consultation on Priority Routes and Earthquake-Prone Buildings

The Council is currently consulting on which roads or footpaths should be prioritised because of the risk of falling masonry in an earthquake.  Priority routes and earthquake-prone buildings consultation.

Key dates:

  • 1 July 2017: the new system comes into effect, and will apply to any new building work.
  • July/August 2017: Council will write to building owners who have previously received an engineering assessment from Council
  • March 2018: Council will consult as required by the Building (Earthquake-Prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016

If you require further information please email leigh.sage@pncc.govt.nz or phone 06 356 8199.