Priority buildings

Priority buildings are considered a higher risk because of their construction type, use or location. They have a shorter time frame for carrying out seismic work.

How priority buildings are identified

Priority buildings will be identified by one or more of the following ways:

  • Buildings that are used as an emergency service or education centre: This includes some hospitals, civil defence buildings, schools, university buildings, early childhood education centres and private training establishments. These buildings will have 7.5 years to strengthen the entire building. 
  • Buildings that could collapse in an earthquake and block an emergency transport route: These buildings will have 7.5 years to strengthen the entire building. 
  • Buildings with unreinforced masonry (URM) that could fall onto a high traffic route: These buildings will have two time frames: 7.5 years to strengthen any URM elements that could fall onto the route, and the remainder of 15 years to strengthen the rest of the building. 

An emergency transport route is a road/route identified as critical for emergency response.

A high traffic route is a street, road, or thoroughfare with high numbers of pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

URM buildings contain clay brick, concrete block, or natural stone units bound together using lime or cement mortar, without reinforcing elements such as steel reinforcing bars. This can also include strengthened URM buildings, unless there is evidence that the strengthening has achieved at least 34% NBS.

Map of emergency transport routes and high traffic routes

If you have strengthened the URM parts of the building

Buildings identified as a priority exclusively because they have URM that could fall onto a high traffic route are only required to have those URM elements strengthened within the initial 7.5 year time frame. If you believe that you have done so, and because of this your building is no longer a priority building, contact the Building Resilience team at BuildingResilience@wcc.govt.nz to update your building’s status.

What this means for buildings identified before 1 July 2017

Wellington City Council is required to issue updated notices for all existing earthquake-prone buildings (EPB).

In most cases, the deadline for strengthening will not change. However, buildings that have an existing earthquake-prone notice and are now identified as priority buildings may have a reduced deadline. How the deadline might change depends on how the building has been identified as a priority building.

If a building has been identified as a priority because of its use or because it is on an emergency transport route

When the original deadline is less than 7.5 years away

When the original deadline is more than 7.5 years away

If a building has been identified as a priority exclusively because it has URM that could fall onto a high traffic route

When the original deadline is less than 7.5 years away

When the original deadline is between 7.5 and 15 years away

When the original deadline is more than 15 years away

Need help?

Email: buildingresilience@wcc.govt.nz 
Phone: 04 499 4444