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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti
Building plan.

Earthquake prone buildings

The approach for identifying and managing potentially earthquake-prone buildings is governed by the provisions of the Building Act 2004.

The Building Act 2004 was amended by the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 and this amendment supersedes the earthquake-prone building section of Dunedin City Council’s Dangerous, Insanitary and Earthquake-prone Building Policy.

This amendment introduced a wide range of new provisions for the management of earthquake prone buildings in New Zealand, including the need for Council’s to identify and in some cases require engineering assessments for potentially earthquake prone buildings.

Because Dunedin is in a low seismic zone the Building Act provides a 15 year period (effective 1 July 2017) for the Council to identify potentially earthquake prone buildings.  Given the additional resources required to manage this legislative change, the Dunedin City Council (DCC) has decided not to employ resources until post July 2019 at the earliest. Seismic assessments can still be submitted to the DCC by emailing However, assessments will not be assessed by the DCC until the resources have been appointed. The submitter will be sent an acknowledgment letter advising them of this.

Please note all seismic assessments must be done in accordance with the current methodology set out in the regulations. This may mean any older seismic reports submitted to the DCC (under previous legislation) may not have been produced in accordance with the current methodology.  If you are in any level of doubt we suggest you talk to your structural engineer.  It is envisaged these older seismic reports will eventually go through a profiling process once the additional resources have been appointed. The building owners will be contacted once the process has been determined.

You can read about the system for managing earthquake-prone buildings, including the relevant legislation, on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website. (link to external website, new window)

If you wish to discuss this matter or require information please contact Neil McLeod in Building Services on 03 477 4000 or email

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