Ensure that methods to strengthen heritage buildings are consistent with best practice and respect heritage values.

Lead agencies

MCH, Heritage New Zealand, CCC

Key partners


Project outcome

Heritage buildings are strengthened while respecting and retaining their heritage values.


The government has reviewed policy for strengthening buildings, including heritage buildings. The partner agencies and building owners will need to consider the implications.

What has happened

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has consulted publicly on proposed changes to earthquake-prone buildings policy. The Minister for Building and Construction announced final policy decisions in August 2013. Two of the key government decisions are:

  • all earthquake-prone buildings will have to be strengthened, or demolished, within 20 years of new legislation taking effect (that is, assessment by territorial authorities within five years and strengthening within 15 years of assessment)
  • owners of earthquake-prone category 1 buildings (entered on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014) and those which will be on the National Historic Landmarks List, will be able to apply for extensions of up to ten years to the national timeframe for strengthening. (See press release.)

A Bill giving effect to these decisions, the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill, was introduced in December 2013.

What will happen

MCH will:

  • contribute to the development of government policy and provide advice on government policy to partner agencies.

Heritage New Zealand, CCC, SDC and WDC will:

  • review the implications of the earthquake-prone buildings policy for heritage buildings and the retention of heritage fabric
  • identify appropriate policy, methods and guidance for strengthening heritage buildings consistent with approved standards.

Indicative timeframe

Implementation is ongoing

Updated on 23rd July 2015