Farm Buildings excluded from recent changes to Government’s Earthquake Strengthening Policy

Farmer Freddy

Pebbles and Freddy are having a cup of tea on the front porch at Freddy’s house. 

“Did you feel that?” asked Pebbles. 

“Feel what?” said Freddy. 

“I think that was an earthquake,” said Pebbles. 

“It could have been,” said Freddy.  “We have been having a few of those recently.  Did you feel those two earthquakes a couple of weekends ago?”

“Yes I did.  That reminds me, did you hear about the recent government announcement that the government proposes to change the timeframes for assessing and strengthening earthquake prone buildings. The scope of the buildings that will require assessment under the proposed changes will also be reduced,” said Pebbles. 

“Yes, I did but I don’t see the point in having to get my farm buildings, such as the farm dairy and hayshed assessed.  No one ever spends any time in there and what are the chances of a severe earthquake bringing them down anyway.  I go to sleep in my home every night but that doesn’t have to get assessed,” Freddy grumbled. 

“Yes Dad,” said Pebbles.  “But the government has recognised that, and this new policy will exclude farm buildings, retaining walls, fences, monuments, walls, bridges, tunnels and storage tanks.  That means, under the new policy, you won’t be required to get your farm buildings assessed. 

“In addition, rather than requiring all buildings to be assessed within five years and upgraded within 15 years (which was the current policy), the government is proposing a more targeted approach where New Zealand is to be categorised into three seismic zones of risk from high, medium to low.  High risk areas will need to be assessed within five years and strengthened within 15 years.  Medium areas assessed within 10 years and strengthened within 25 years, and low risk areas assessed within 15 years and strengthened within 35 years.

“The new policy will be implemented via amendments to the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill, which is currently before Parliament, and will incorporate the Policy into the Building Act.”

““Well, that’s an encouraging development,” said Freddy.  “So, where does Taranaki fit in?” asked Freddy. 

“Taranaki has been categorised as a medium risk zone.  Areas such as Wellington, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Napier/Hastings, Gisborne and Blenheim are all categorised as high risk areas,” explained Pebbles. 

“Wait, what’s that shaking now?” asked Pebbles. 

“Don’t worry,” said Freddy.  “That’s farmer Joe.  I’m getting him to drive in the posts for the new fence around the back.”


The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document. 

If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser. 

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Philip McCarthy