Designation of Area for Building Emergency Management

Published 07 Mar 2023

Key messages on the designation   

Latest update: 27 February 2024

Effective from 27 February 2024 at 10.45am, Tararua District Council has terminated the Designation of Area for Emergency Management of buildings which was in place for part of the region including Seaview Road, Herbertville and other individual addresses where there was damage affecting buildings following the Cyclone Gabriel Weather Event.

Previous update: 28 May 2023

Bryan Nicholson, the Appointed Local CDEM Controller, has reviewed the designation as required by the Building Act 2004 and on 28 May 2023 determined that the designation is still needed.

Original message: 27 February 2023:

On 27 February 2023, Tararua District Council notified the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of their decision to designate part of the Tararua Region, under the Building Act 2004, to manage buildings that have been affected by land instability.

The decision to designate an area of the region will allow Tararua District Council to manage any ongoing risks to people from buildings as a result of the event.

What is a designated area?

A designated area is an area approved by the relevant decision maker to allow a local authority to take specific actions under the Building Act to manage buildings in an emergency. For the Tararua District Council designation this decision was made by the CDEM Controller of Tararua District Council District on 27 February 2023.

The designated area covers part of the region including Seaview Road, Herbertville and other individual addresses where there has been damage affecting buildings. The area designated will be reviewed once Rapid Building Assessments are completed.

This designation will be reviewed every 90 days by Tararua District Council to confirm that the powers conferred by the designation are required to manage the response and recovery.

The designation may remain in place until 28 February 2026, unless terminated earlier.

What will happen next?

Once a designated area is in place, the Building Act provides a number of special powers that may be exercised in respect of all buildings within the designated area.

The powers that can be used within a designated area provide a responsible person with authority to (among other things):

  • Enter buildings;
  • Complete post-event assessments;
  • Direct the evacuation of buildings;
  • Put in place measures for protecting buildings and keeping people at a safe distance;
  • Place notices and signs on buildings;
  • Direct the owners of building or land to provide information;
  • Direct works (urgent and non-urgent) to remove or reduce risks;
  • Direct works for long term use or occupation of a building.

How long will it be a designated area?

Until all buildings within the area are deemed safe, Tararua District Council will review the designation at least every 90 days and notify the public of the outcome of this review.

A designation of an area can be in force for up to three years and can be subsequently extended one time for a further three years, during which certain powers may be exercised.

A placard has been placed on my house, does this mean I can’t go home?

Information about the different placards and what they mean is available here: North Island severe weather events 2023 | Building Performance

What happens if a building owner or resident chooses to ignore Council instructions?

The Building Act sets out a number of offences and penalties for non-compliance when the Building Act powers are in place. The responsible person who has been designated for building emergency management has the powers to make decisions about non-compliance.

The powers for offences and penalties are in sections 133BR to 133BU, and 133BW and 133BX of the Building Act.  The penalties include the ability for fines of between $5,000 and $200,000 to be imposed if a person intentionally fails to comply with the relevant provisions of the Building Act.

The responsible person will consider the appropriate compliance approach.

Additional MBIE messages  

MBIE has activated the National Building Response Management Plan to support the response to the emergency in the Auckland Region and in preparation for Cyclone Gabrielle.

The Building Management Response Team will continue to monitor activities in the designated area and consider further support for Tararua District Council. Tararua District Council are still assessing the damage in their region.