Land subject to natural hazards

If you’re thinking about carrying out building works, consider whether there may be any natural hazards present, and how they could affect compliance with the Building Act 2004 and the New Zealand Building Code.

Natural hazards include:

  • Erosion (including coastal erosion, bank erosion 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 hazards that the Council knows about.

Gaining a building consent

New building work or major alterations should be designed with any natural hazard in mind.  The Council can’t grant a building consent for new buildings, or major alterations, on land with natural hazards if the development would make the situation worse.

It may help your application to have a report from a Geotechnical Engineer, Hydrologist or other specialist who can advise what the impact of your development may be and how to address the natural hazards.  You should check with Council prior to lodging a building consent application.

Title endorsements

If the Council is satisfied that your plans will adequately protect the land, building work or other property from the hazard, or restore it after the work is complete they can grant a building consent without endorsing your title.

The Council strongly recommends that you or your advisors discuss your proposals with Council staff before lodging your building consent application.

When a building consent is granted on a property that contains natural hazards the Council may arrange to endorse the Certificate of Title advising the consent has been issued on land subject to natural hazards. Endorsements may refer to:

  • Section 72 of the Building Act 2004 (current) or
  • Section 36 of the Building Act 1991 or
  • Section 641(A) of the Local Government Act 1974.

You can find out if there are any endorsements on your Certificate of Title by requesting a copy from Land Information New Zealand.

If there is a Section 72 endorsement (or similar) on the Certificate of Title and the building is subsequently damaged by a hazard event, then the owner and subsequent owners may not be insured for that damage. Refer to clause 3(d) of Schedule 3 of the Earthquake Commission Act 1993.

We advise contacting your solicitor, insurance company or the Earthquake Commission if you are purchasing a property where the land is subject to natural hazard or you are planning to alter or add to the property in the future.

Building Act 2004