The Government is proposing an amendment to the Building Act to
deal with earthquake-prone buildings following the tragic events in
Christchurch. The Bill has been the subject of much debate given
the huge potential financial ramifications for NZ's commercial
property owners however it appears that the Bill is moving into its
final stages of completion.
Based on the current information to hand, we believe that the
bill is likely to contain the following principles:
It will most likely set 33% of new building standard (NBS) as
the threshold as to whether a building is earthquake-prone or
It will require Councils to undertake an assessment of the
earthquake-prone status of its local buildings within five years of
the Bill coming into effect and provide notices of its assessments
to property owners; and
Queenstown is likely to be determined as being within the high
seismic risk area, thereby meaning that if a building is below 33%
of NBS then the property owner will only have 15 years to
strengthen or demolish the building following receipt of the
council's assessment. In other parts of NZ, the timeframe will
be 25 years for buildings in the medium seismic risk area and 35
years in the low seismic risk area.
Our enquiries indicate that the Queenstown Lakes District
Council has not, as yet, carried out any form of earthquake-prone
assessment of the Queenstown buildings and do not intend to do so
until such time as the Bill is finally passed into law.
Accordingly, unless your building has received some form of
notice to rectify from Council under Section 124 of the current
Building Act 2004 then no action is required of you at this stage
under the Building Act. It would be very wise, however, to review
your insurance policies and ensure you are fully covered.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Please briefly describe the main laws that govern real estate in your jurisdiction.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).