Earthquake Prone Buildings

All councils in New Zealand are required to assess public buildings and some large residential buildings (such as apartments) for earthquake resistance under the Building Act 2004

Those buildings that will not withstand a moderate earthquake (built to less than one third of current design strength) are considered to be earthquake-prone.

Hawke’s Bay is well known for its regular earthquakes so Hastings District Council has given priority to earthquake-resistance assessments of all buildings to which the public have access, and residential buildings of two or more floors and with three or more household units, as set out in the following policy. 

 Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy 2016 (571 KB)

 Earthquake-prone Buildings Policy 2016  (492 KB)

To reduce the burden on building owners, initial evaluations of buildings are performed by Strata Group Consulting Engineers Ltd

Damage to buildings

The assessment involves visual, non-invasive inspections, as the Council intends to avoid invasive testing, wherever possible. Although in some buildings, there may need to be invasive testing such as core drilling of columns.

Hastings Earthquake Prone Buildings  Register (.pdf 215kb)

Repairs after testing

Building owners are responsible for the repair of any damage incurred during any invasive testing needed.

Building reports

A copy of the assessment report is provided to all building owners, who can accept its findings or have it reviewed by their own earthquake engineering specialist.

Acting on the reports

If your building has been assessed as not earthquake-prone, there is no need  to do anything.

If your building has been identified as earthquake-prone, you need to upgrade your building to a minimum of one third of current design strength.


The owner of a building must pay all costs associated with its upgrade. Building consents will be required. Hastings District Council discusses with you the work needed and an acceptable length of time to have it done. 


There is no requirement in current legislation to strengthen earthquake-susceptible buildings above the minimum level of one third of current design strength.

However, Council advises building owners to consider strengthening to higher levels, to avoid the need for more work if minimum-strength standards are raised.


To access a list of potential and confirmed earthquake-prone buildings in the Hastings District, contact our Building Team Leader on phone (06) 871 5000 or email