Find out who the experts are and how they can help you

If you are undertaking seismic strengthening works of a heritage building, you’ll need to work with a number of people and organisations before you can begin strengthening work. This section introduces you to some of the organisations and professionals you are likely to be working with and what information they’ll need from you to help you through the Heritage EQUIP process.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is the government’s lead advisor on cultural matters. The Ministry supports many of New Zealand’s arts, media, heritage and sports organisations. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is charged with administering Heritage EQUIP on behalf of the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage.

The Ministry’s team working on Heritage EQUIP will be able to help you with understanding how the scheme runs and the requirements for applying for a Heritage EQUIP grant. If you have questions about the operation of the Heritage EQUIP programme, you can contact the Ministry’s team by calling 04 499 4229 or writing to us at

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is the steward of New Zealand’s building regulatory system.

If you are considering applying for a Heritage EQUIP grant, you will need to be aware of the legislative requirements for earthquake-prone buildings as well as the legislative requirements that apply for building projects and alterations to existing buildings.

You can find specific information about managing earthquake-prone buildings on the following MBIE web pages:

The Building Performance Website provides information on the building process, including requirements for building consents and compliance with the Building Code.

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

Heritage New Zealand is the leading national historic heritage agency. Heritage New Zealand is an autonomous Crown Entity under the Crown Entities Act 2004. Its work, powers and functions are prescribed by the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014.

Heritage New Zealand maintains the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero, which identifies New Zealand’s significant and valued historical and cultural heritage places. If you are considering applying for a Heritage EQUIP grant, you will need confirmation from Heritage New Zealand that your building is listed as a Category 1 or Category 2 historic place on the List, or is a wāhi tapu, wāhi tūpuna, or located within a wāhi tapu area or historic area. Your Heritage New Zealand office can provide you with a copy of the List Entry Report for your historic place – this sets out basic information about the place, and what is currently known about the heritage significance of the place.

Heritage New Zealand’s national office is based in Antrim House, Wellington. Regional and area offices are located in Kerikeri, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Each is staffed by a range of specialist advisors who are able to provide expert assistance on heritage conservation issues, including resource management and registration services. To find your nearest Heritage New Zealand office, click here.

What can Heritage New Zealand do for you?

  • help you understand the heritage value of your building and what you are trying to protect
  • confirm whether your building is on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero and provide a copy of the List Entry Report which summarises information Heritage New Zealand holds about the place
  • provide expert assistance on heritage conservation issues relating to strengthening
  • assist you to plan your proposed works to maintain and enhance the building’s heritage significance
  • work with you and the local council around the heritage conservation requirements under the district plan.

Territorial Authorities/Local or District Council

Territorial authorities, commonly referred to as city or district councils, are responsible within their districts for the day-to-day administration of building control legislation. Most councils have a list of heritage buildings within their District Plan schedules. Some have in-house heritage advisors; ask to speak to them about your building.

If you are considering applying for a Heritage EQUIP grant, you may need the following documentation from your territorial authority:

  • confirmation that your building has been identified as earthquake-prone
  • building and resource consent (if required)
  • statement about the seismic risk of the land your building sits on (if your building is a Category 2 historic place)
  • an indication that there is public benefit and local support for the strengthening project.

Questions to ask your territorial authority:

  • Is my building an earthquake-prone building under the Building (Earthquake-prone buildings) Amendment Act?
  • Is my building in a high or medium risk seismic zone?
  • Does the work I am planning need resource consent?
  • Does the work I am planning need building consent?
  • What kind of support does the territorial authority provide for heritage buildings?
  • Is my building scheduled on the District Plan?
  • What information does the council hold on the building (e.g. plans, evidence of earlier additions and alterations, an assessment of the heritage values)?
  • Will I be able to begin my work in the next 12 months?
  • Will the territorial authority support my application to Heritage EQUIP?

Finding an engineer

If you are considering applying for a Heritage EQUIP grant, you will need the services of an engineer to design a seismic strengthening scheme and ensure your building meets the requirements of the building code.

You may find it helpful to talk to other owners of heritage buildings who have had structural upgrading work on their building. This may help you understand the service an engineer can provide and some of the issues to be resolved.

The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) and the Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ) can assist you to find the right engineer for your project. To provide signoff for your scheme, your engineer will:

  • be a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) whose main area of practice is in structural engineering
  • have experience in assessing and structural strengthening of buildings that have similar materials and form of construction to your own building
  • have Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • be a member of a professional engineering group that assists the engineer to maintain their competency to practise in structural engineering and meet current industry standards.

Before engaging any particular engineer, it is helpful to discuss the service they can provide and how they will work with you on your project.

Your discussions with an engineer could include:

  • their experience with a wide range of structural types and materials
  • their track record with retrofit of buildings similar to your building. Obtain contact details of the owners of two or three of the engineer’s projects so you can check if the structural solutions suited the building, and ask about the quality of service they received from the engineer
  • the other staff members working on your project and their various levels of involvement and expertise
  • the engineer’s experience of working with historic buildings
  • the quality assurance systems the engineer uses
  • the broad scope of work the engineer will provide
  • who will provide any existing documentation on the building, or whether measured drawings need to be prepared of the existing building and testing to determine engineering properties of the materials of construction
  • whether the design will be a staged process
  • the fee rates and rough order total cost to provide the scope of work. Note that greater input at the concept and detailed design stages could well be cost effective in reducing the cost of construction. Be clear on what the engineer is going to provide you with
  • whether the engineer is someone you can work with and have confidence in.

Quality Planning

The Quality Planning website was launched in 2001 to ‘promote good practice by sharing knowledge about all aspects of practice under the Resource Management Act among resource management practitioners, council planners, private practitioners, consultants and environmental managers among others’.

Although not specifically designed for the general public, the website does provide information on the key steps in the resource consent process, as well as printable guides to applying for a resource consent.

Land Information New Zealand

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is the government department responsible for running New Zealand’s survey and title information.

If you are applying for a Heritage EQUIP grant, you will need a Certificate of Title identifying you as the owner (or one of the owners) of the property. Find out about how to order a Certificate of Title here.

Updated on 3rd July 2017