Building consents for land subject to natural hazards

We can’t grant a building consent for new buildings or major alterations on land with natural hazards if doing the work would make the situation worse.

Identifying natural hazards on your land

Building on land subject to natural hazards has been outlined under Section 71 of the Building Act.

Natural hazards include:

  • erosion (including coastal, bank and sheet erosion)
  • falling debris (including soil, rock, snow and ice)
  • subsidence
  • inundation (including flooding, overland flow, storm surge, tidal effects and ponding)
  • slippage.

A Land Information Memorandum (LIM) or Project Information Memorandum (PIM) will identify any hazards that the Council already knows about.

Request Council documents

If any natural hazards have been identified in the past, they may also be noted as an endorsement on your record of title. You can get a copy from Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

Record of title – LINZ

If your land is subject to natural hazards

For us to grant a building consent for a major alteration or new structure, you must be able to show the work will not make the hazard worse.

It may help your application to get a report from a geotechnical engineer, hydrologist or other specialist. They can advise on:

  • the potential impact of the development
  • how to address the natural hazards.

You can find further information on Wellington’s flood zones at Rainfall flood risks in Wellington – Wellington Water

Wellington Water can supply the flood levels on your property.

We strongly recommend that you or your agent discuss your proposal with us before you apply for a building consent.

Building consent pre-application meetings

You may also want to talk to your insurance company, solicitor or the Earthquake Commission before you apply to check if the work will affect your insurance or your ability to sell your property in the future.

If your building consent is granted

We can grant a building consent if we're satisfied that your land, building work and other property will be adequately protected from the hazard.

Otherwise, your building consent might be approved with a notification on your record of title. The notification shows that a consent has been issued on land that is subject to natural hazards.

Note: If you have a natural hazard notification on your record of title and your property is damaged by a natural hazard, you (and future owners of your property) may not be insured for any damage.

Section 72 notifications on a record of title – Earthquake Commission


If you apply for a building consent to build a deck next to land that's at risk of a slip:

  • and your plans have no effect on the risk of the slip, your consent may be granted with a notification
  • and your plans include a retaining wall to protect the property from any future slips, your consent may be granted without a notification
  • and the deck will increase the risk of a slip, your consent would be refused.

Contact us

The Building Compliance and Consents team is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm.

If you have a Building Compliance and Consent related query, you can submit it through our online form:

Send a query

Phone: 04 801 4311