Earthquake-prone building notices explained

These notices indicate the building has been assessed as being earthquake-prone under the Council's policy.

These notices indicate that the building has been assessed as being an earthquake-prone building under the Council's policy. This is part of our role in building a resilient city for Wellingtonians.

If you receive a letter

If you receive a letter from the Council indicating that your building has been assessed and it is potentially earthquake prone, you have six months to respond to Council. 

We recommend that you consult a structural engineer to obtain their advice on your building would perform in an earthquake.

If, based on your engineer’s advice, you disagree with our letter, send us the engineer’s assessment. We will get our engineer to review the information. If we agree the building is not earthquake-prone, we will write to you and let you know. If our engineer’s review declares the building earthquake-prone you will be issued with a yellow notice which gives you 15 years to strengthen the building.  

Building owners must display this notice in a visible location on the relevant building. This is to let people accessing and using the building know the building is earthquake prone, ie may incur damage in an earthquake.  

There are three types of notice: yellow, orange, red. They are all issued under the NZ Building Act and the Council’s Earthquake-prone Buildings Policy.


In the case of buildings or objects listed in the District Plan as heritage items, or buildings or structures located within heritage areas, resource consent will be required from the Council prior to any demolition works beginning.

It is likely that any application for full demolition of a heritage building will trigger public notification which is an expensive and lengthy process. Given this, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss any options, including strengthening, that you have considered at an early stage. Contact our heritage team for more information by email or phone (04) 499 4444.

Example of yellow earthquake-prone building notice.

Yellow notice

This is a standard Earthquake-prone Building Notice for general buildings. It means the building has been assessed, is earthquake-prone and the owner has 15 years to strengthen or demolish the building.

Example of an orange earthquake-prone building notice.

Orange notice

An orange Final Earthquake-prone Building Notice is issued where a building owner has failed to comply with the original yellow section 124(1)(c) notice. The owner has, however, contacted the Council and has been able to show solid progress towards reaching a solution.

This notice is a final reminder and has a fixed timeframe. When orange notices are issued, the Council works with the building owner to agree on a series of actions the building owner will take at agreed dates. If the owner fails to meet these requirements, they are issued with a Red Notice.

Example of the first part of a red earthquake-prone building notice.

Part one of a red notice.


Red notice

This notice delivers the following instructions:

  • a section 124(2)(b) and S128 notice prohibits anyone from using or occupying the building (in accordance with section 128 of the NZ Building Act)
  • a section 124(2)(b) which advises the final date by when the owner must have strengthened or demolished the building. This is because the building could be unsafe or unusable.
Example of the second part of a red earthquake-prone building notice.

Part two of a red notice.


If an owner fails to comply with this notice, the Council will consider further action which may include legal action to force strengthening or demolishing the building.

More information

Building Resilience, Wellington City Council

Phone 04 499 4444