The Seismic Assessment of Existing Buildings

The Seismic Assessment of Existing Buildings (the Guidelines) provides a technical basis for engineers to carry out seismic assessments of existing buildings within New Zealand. The Guidelines support seismic assessments for a range of purposes, including assessing potentially earthquake-prone buildings when required by the Building Act 2004 and for property risk identification more generally.

Specifically, the Guidelines provide the Engineering Assessment Guidelines component of the earthquake-prone building regulations and EPB Methodology that came into force on 1 July 2017. They must be used for all engineering assessments that territorial authorities use to determine whether a building is earthquake prone. The regulations and EPB methodology are available from MBIE:

The Guidelines provide methods for two levels of assessment: Initial Seismic Assessment, for a broad indication of the likely level of seismic performance of a building, and Detailed Seismic Assessment, for a more comprehensive assessment.

Both seismic assessment methods rate a building as a percentage of the new building standard applied to an equivalent new building on the same site. For seismic assessment purposes, new building standard refers to the minimum life safety performance requirements of Building Code Clause B1 – Structure.

The Guidelines also provide an overview and outline of the key principles of reducing seismic risk within buildings – designing seismic ‘improvement’.

Using the Guidelines

The following pages describe how the Guidelines should be used and provide downloadable copies for the following purposes:

Engineers need training to use the Guidelines so seismic assessments of existing buildings are carried out consistently throughout New Zealand. Please see Assessor Training for details of the training opportunities.