Easing the impact of earthquake strengthening for provincial New Zealand

As part of our continued commitment to help regional New Zealand, the Coalition Government has announced changes for managing earthquake-prone buildings (EPBs).

Previously, owners of EPBs would be required to strengthen their building when a substantial alteration was undertaken. This means an alteration, other than seismic work, that needs a building consent and together with other work consented in the last two years has an estimated value of at least 25% of the building’s value.

However, that policy was disproportionately impacting provincial and small towns due to many of its buildings having a low value. As a result, modest and progressive building work had been discouraged in these areas.

The EPB criteria for substantial alterations will be changed so that an alteration, other than seismic work, is substantial if it needs a building consent and together with other work consented in the last two years has an estimated value of at least 25% of the building’s value, but only if the value of the building work is greater than $150,000.

The changes announced will make it easier for regional New Zealand to undertake modest building work without being tangled in unnecessary regulation. It will reduce stress for building owners without compromising the integrity of the EPB system.

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