Response to Canterbury earthquakes

Since the first Canterbury earthquakes in 2010, we have investigated the impact and developed resources and guidance to help with the rebuild.

Canterbury rebuild(external link) on our Building Performance website has Canterbury-related information and guidance for homeowners, building owners and building professionals.

Lessons learnt from the earthquakes

As the building regulator, we monitor current and emerging trends in the building sector, including the lessons to be learnt following the Canterbury earthquakes.

Structural performance of commercial buildings

We sponsored a number of structural reports on the performance of commercial buildings in the Canterbury earthquakes. These include reports we commissioned to support the work of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission.

These reports include:

Structural performance of Christchurch CBD building in the 22 February 2011 aftershock [PDF, 10 MB]

Technical investigation into the structural performance of buildings in Christchurch [PDF, 1.5 MB]

Risks associated with non-structural elements

In 2016, we commissioned research on the earthquake performance of non-structural elements: 2 detailed reports, and a small survey of 20 buildings in Wellington and Auckland.

Estimating the Risk to Life Safety during Earthquakes from Non-Structural Elements in Commercial Buildings in New Zealand [PDF, 2.8 MB]. Report by Beca.

Economic Benefits of Code Compliant Non-Structural Elements in New Buildings. [PDF, 2.6 MB] Report by Opus.

Survey of Seismic Restraint of Non-Structural Elements in Existing Commercial Buildings [PDF, 2.2 MB]. Survey by KOA.

We consider the combination of our guidance (Practice advisory 19) and industry-led initiatives have improved awareness of requirements to restrain non-structural elements.

Practice Advisory 19: Improving earthquake performance of non-structural elements(external link)

Earthquake repairs to Canterbury homes

In 2015 we commissioned an independent survey of the repairs to 101 randomly selected earthquake-damaged Canterbury homes.

We initiated the survey to assess the Building Code compliance of structural repairs that were exempt from a building consent under Schedule 1 (repairs and maintenance) of the Building Act.

The survey found that 32 of the 90 homes that met the survey criteria had structural repair work carried out that was non-compliant with the Building Code. An additional 23 homes were assessed as having minor repair defects.

Read the Home Inspection Survey Report and the full list of recommendations [PDF, 722 KB]

Responses to Royal Commission recommendations

The final report on responses to the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Building Failure Caused by the Canterbury Earthquakes (the Royal Commission) was released on 13 February 2017.

You can read the Commission’s final report (7 volumes) on the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission website(external link).

The Royal Commission made 189 recommendations that were accepted, accepted in principle or noted by the Government.

Several projects were initiated in response to the recommendations. These include:

  • reviewing the occupational regulation of engineers
  • changing the system for managing earthquake-prone buildings
  • managing buildings after emergencies.

Read the Responses to the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission recommendations - final report [PDF, 3.4 MB]

Section one of the report is available in the following languages: