Engineering New Zealand Te Ao Rangahau welcomes the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s new Seismic Risk Guidance for Buildings.

The guidance comes on the back of a number of high-profile buildings that have recently received seismic assessments ratings of <34%NBS.

Chief Executive Dr Richard Templer says, “We know low %NBS ratings can cause concern to building owners, tenants and occupants. We also know %NBS is not well understood.”

Templer notes structural, seismic and geotechnical engineers have had significant input into the advice and says, “This new guidance does an excellent job of helping occupants to better understand seismic risk and put %NBS ratings in context. It also reinforces the need to avoid vacating buildings solely on a poor %NBS rating, because the risk to life is typically low in the immediate future.”

He is also pleased to see MBIE advocate detailed seismic assessments (DSAs) be carried out by experienced chartered professional engineers, and that engineers support occupants’ understanding with dialogue and commentary when providing their reports.

“This guidance is a welcome contribution to the complex topic of seismic assessments,” he says.

Templer says more guidance is needed to clarify the legal obligations of decision makers, in particular with respect to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

“There’s no doubt this is a great first step that concisely explains %NBS,” says Templer. “But in terms of practical decision making, I would like to see further clarity for decision-makers about their legal obligations beyond the Building (Earthquake-prone Amendment) Act 2016.”

Notes to reporters

Engineering New Zealand is New Zealand's professional body for engineers, with some 20,000 members. We represent – and regulate – our members. We also act as the Registration Authority for Chartered Professional Engineers.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Lachlan McKenzie on 021 479 885.