Rates, Building & 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

Commercial, publicly accessible, or multi-story residential buildings 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.

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 those classified as less than 34% of the current standard for an equivalent building.

New earthquake-prone system

A New Zealand-wide approach for identifying and managing earthquake-prone buildings came into force on 1 July 2017. We're transitioning to this new system and will be implementing the changes from 1 October 2018.

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

Council has held a number of information sessions about the new system. Missed out? You can download the session slides below.

Priority routes

Priority routes are busy roads or footpaths where falling masonry from buildings damaged in an earthquake would pose a high risk to life and public safety. The owners of unreinforced masonry buildings located on priority routes will have a shorter timeframe to make their buildings safe: seven-and-a-half years instead of 15 years.

The streets below have been identified as priority routes for Palmerston North.

City centre streets

  • The Square
  • Church Street between Linton Street and Princess Street
  • Broadway Avenue between Rangitikei Street and Princess Street
  • George Street
  • Coleman Mall
  • Cuba Street between Lombard Street and Rangitikei Street
  • Rangitikei Street between The Square and Queen Street
  • Berrymans Lane
  • Regent Arcade
  • Fitzherbert Avenue between The Square and 38 Fitzherbert Avenue
  • Maple Lane
  • Main Street between The Square and Maple Lane
  • Queen Street from Rangitikei Street and 29 Queen Street

Locations outside the city centre

  • Rangitikei Street between Walding Street and 165 Rangitikei Street
  • Broadway Avenue outside 262-264 Broadway Avenue
  • Main Street (footpath and northern lane) between David Street and Domain Street

For more information, please email leigh.sage@pncc.govt.nz or phone 06 356 8199