Site Analysis

Understanding all the features of a site, using and protecting the best, and minimising the impact of the worst.

Hazards

Potential hazards may be the result of human activity, such as contamination and pollution, and natural hazards, such as storms, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides and erosion, and tsunamis.

For each type of hazard, consider:

  • Has it happened in the past?
  • Could it happen on this site?
  • What is the chance of it happening in future?
  • How much harm or damage could it cause?
  • Does the risk associated with the hazard require further action?

New Zealand Building Code

The New Zealand Building Code is concerned with the health and safety of building occupants. It requires that, in the event of a hazard, occupants must be able to evacuate the building safely, but does not require that, after a major hazard such as an earthquake, a building will remain structurally sound. A specific requirement to do so is likely to require a design in excess of NZBC requirements.

Building Act restrictions

Under Section 71 of the Building Act, building consent authorities must refuse to grant a building consent for construction of a building (or major alterations to a building) if:

  • the land is subject or is likely to be subject to 1 or more natural hazards (erosion, falling debris, subsidence, inundation [flooding] or slippage); or
  • building work is likely to accelerate, worsen, or result in a natural hazard on that land or any other property.

BCAs can, however, issue consent if they are satisfied that there is adequate provision:

  • to protect the land, building work, or other property from the natural hazard or hazards; or
  • to restore any damage to that land or other property as a result of the building work.

BCAs must issue a consent for building on land subject to natural hazards if they consider that the work will not worsen the hazard and they believe it is reasonable to grant a waiver or modification of the Building Code for the natural hazard concerned (Section 72).

If consent is given for building on land subject to natural hazard, a note will be added to the certificate of title that a building consent was granted under Section 72, identifying the natural hazard concerned.

Where a land title has this note on it, the Earthquake Commission can legally decline to provide cover, depending on the nature of the hazard. Insurance companies may decline to offer cover, or may exclude cover for the relevant hazard.

 

Updated: 15 August 2017