Ensure that the demolition and deconstruction of heritage buildings (including memorials, bridges and other heritage items) is carried out in a manner that enables reconstruction or the reuse of heritage fabric.

Lead agencies

Heritage New Zealand, CCC, SDC, WDC, CERA

Key partners

MCH, Ngāi Tahu

Project outcome

Built heritage fabric is reused for the repair of heritage buildings or, if this is not possible, in new developments and other heritage projects.


Though there have been some successes, in many instances owners have retained little or no fabric from demolished buildings. There is an ongoing need for agencies to provide expert advice and guidance to owners on the retrieval of heritage fabric that warrants retention.

There are opportunities to:

  • investigate retention of elements of buildings on site as part of rebuilding
  • interpret archaeological materials uncovered during demolition.

Storage of retrieved fabric is challenging because of the large amount of space required, limited capacity and the cost of providing more. A review of storage requirements is needed to ensure valued fabric is stored appropriately.

What is happening

Some property owners have deconstructed and recorded heritage buildings (for example, the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament) so that either they can be rebuilt or parts can be reused in new buildings.

Partner agencies have saved and stored some heritage features. CCC and Heritage New Zealand have produced guidelines for the reuse of heritage material (Heritage Recovery – Guideline 6 – for the Reuse of Heritage Material (PDF, 203Kb)).

Heritage New Zealand recommends the appropriate approach to demolition and deconstruction of heritage buildings in greater Christchurch in its advice on applications for resource consents. Its recommendations range from careful dismantling and marking of building components to taking photographic records before demolition. Relevant councils can accept or reject Heritage New Zealand’s recommendations.

Heritage New Zealand also provides advice on fabric retrieval when the Chief Executive of CERA commissions demolition works under section 38 of the CER Act, and this advice may be reflected in demolition contracts. In cases where it is both safe and economic to retrieve material, Heritage New Zealand and CCC also provide advice on fabric retrieval to willing building owners entering into demolition contracts.

In Christchurch City, CCC owns and stores retrieved material. CCC also maintains a database of the source of this material and its nature and composition. This is an important resource for recovery planning. CCC encourages former owners to request the return of material. In Waimakariri, WDC can impose a condition on resource consents requiring an owner to retrieve and store material for reuse. In Selwyn, SDC can consider imposing similar conditions.

What will happen

Heritage New Zealand, CCC, SDC and WDC will:

  • continue to encourage retrieval and storage of heritage fabric to enable its reuse in new development and other initiatives
  • work towards making the CCC database of heritage material accessible to owners of heritage buildings.

Heritage New Zealand, CCC, SDC and WDC will:

  • review storage facilities
  • identify an appropriate strategy for the ongoing storage of retrieved fabric.

Consistent with its operations and role, CERA will:

  • work with CCC, SDC, WDC and Heritage New Zealand to encourage owners of heritage buildings in which CERA has an interest to include the retention of heritage fabric in demolition contracts, where this is appropriate and feasible.

Indicative timeframe


Updated on 23rd July 2015