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 Earthquake Repair and Rebuilding Information

build126.jpgWelcome to our earthquake repair information page, designed to provide you with useful links, research and advice relating to building repairs and rebuilding work. In addition, we have added information on flooding.

BRANZ has completed a number of reseach projects relating to earthquake, repair and resilience. In addtion, many of these reseach projects have been transformed into free easy-to-read and accessible website resources, fact sheets, bulletins, research reports, webinars, papers and Build articles.


Seismic Resilience website - is an online resource that aim to raise the seismic performance of New Zealand's building stock. 
Seismic Resilient Non-Structural Elements Fact Sheets - aims to assist building services industries to achieve compliance with the New Zealand Building Code. 
Build magazine general articles - articles relating to earthquakes in general.
Build magazine Canterbury articles - articles relating the to Canterbury earthquake.
Bulletins - earthquake related bulletins are listed at the bottom of this page which include: Earthquake terminology, repairing plasterboard, upgrading piles and more.
Webinars - earthquake related webinars are listed at the bottom of this page.
Research reports - earthquake related research reports are listed at the bottom of this page. 


Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission
MBIE Building Performance
New Zealand Legislation
NZ Society for Earthquake Engineering
Standards New Zealand


Building Act 2004
Meaning of earthquake-prone building (s122)
Building consent not required in certain cases (s41(1)c(i)) ... for the purpose of saving or protecting life or health or preventing serious damage to property
Owner must apply for certificate of acceptance if building work carried out urgently (s42)
Powers of territorial authorities in respect of dangerous, earthquake-prone, or insanitary buildings (s124-130)

Building Regulations 2005
Earthquake-prone buildings: moderate earthquake defined (s7) 


Google search: Territorial authorities' earthquake-prone buildings policies

Earthquake-prone buildings (Build 109 Dec 2008/Jan 2009) Free download
Recently, councils have been required to develop policies to deal with earthquake-prone buildings. The earthquake in Gisborne was a good opportunity to see how valid the approach taken has proved to be.­­­­­­­­­­

MBIE Determination 2010/133: The exercise of the powers of an authority to issue a notice under section 124 of the Act regarding a building considered to be earthquake prone 


Liquefaction.jpgIPENZ Canterbury earthquake fact sheets (March 2011)
The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) is the professional body that represents professional engineers from all disciplines in New Zealand. In response to Member suggestions and with the help of the New Zealand Geotechnical Society and the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, fact sheets have been prepared giving an overview of the February 22 Christchurch earthquake and performance of engineered systems, the building safety evaluation process and liquefaction. 
Christchurch earthquake - an overview
Building safety evaluation
all fact sheets

Operation Suburb (Sept 2011)

Graeme Beattie, BRANZ Principal Engineer, outlines some of the learnings from Operation Suburb in Christchurch, where BRANZ engineers assisted in assessing building damage. 

Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission:
The Canterbury Earthquakes: Answers to critical questions about buildings (2011)
The Canterbury region has had a series of extremely difficult challenges as a result of the 4th of September earthquake and its associated aftershocks. This has led to questions related to the expected building performance, as well as their actual behaviour, in an earthquake. As a result, the following answers have been prepared by the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, the Structural Engineering Society New Zealand, the New Zealand Geotechnical Society and the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, who have co-ordinated science and engineering expertise from across New Zealand.

NZ Society for Earthquake Engineering conference papers 

The performance of residential houses in the Darfield earthquake of 4 September 2010 (April 2011) The housing stock in the Christchurch area covers an age range from the late 19th century until the present day. A database of randomly sampled houses has been established and surveyed, in conjunction with the EQC inspection process. The paper describes the findings of the survey and comments on the effectiveness of the past and current design standards for such structures with regard to earthquake resistance. The need for modifications to the current standards is discussed.

Seismic resistance of brick veneer under face loading (December 2009) Recent full-scale cyclic and shake tests by the authors have shown that modern single and two-storey brick veneer New Zealand houses will perform very well under in-plane testing and can be relied upon to carry a significant portion of the seismic design load. After a design level earthquake, cracking is expected to be almost imperceptible, and even after a maximum considered event, little or no veneer collapse is expected. Cracks should be repairable simply by raking out mortar along crack lines and repointing. 


MBIE Building Performance publication: Guidance: Repairing and rebuilding houses affected by the Canterbury earthquakes
This guidance is issued under section 175 of the Building Act, and supersedes all earlier versions. It provides robust and well-balanced engineering solutions for repairing and rebuilding earthquake-damaged houses in the Canterbury region.  


MBIE Building Performance publication: Guidance on reinforcement for concrete slabs-on-ground (April 2012)

B1/AS1 clause 3.1.8 requires concrete slabs on ground constructed in accordance with NZS 3604:2011 on good ground to be reinforced with a minimum of 2.27 kg/m2 of Grade 500E reinforcing mesh fabric conforming with AS/NZS 4671. However, Grade 500E reinforcing mesh fabric is not yet readily available in the market. Until it becomes readily available, the DBH have advised that slabs can be reinforced with either Grade 300E - D10 reinforcing steel bars (conforming with AS/NZS 4671) at 300 mm centres each way with 30 mm top cover, or Grade 300E - D12 reinforcing steel bars (conforming to AS/NZS 4671) at 450 mm centres each way with 30 mm top cover.


Repairing plasterboard after an earthquake
Stuart Thurston, BRANZ Structural Engineer, demonstrates some of the testing methods, results and repair strategies as detailed in BRANZ Bulletin 548.


Bulletin 455: Restoring a house after loaod damage
Good Repair Guide: Leaking basement walls 

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 Earthquake Info

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A hot water cylinder to survive earthquakes

An Australian earthquake standard

Building Seismic Resilience
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BU565 Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission: key recommendations
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BU558 Earthquake teminology
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BU551 Learnings from the Canterbury earthquakes - FREE DOWNLOAD

BU548 Repairing plasterboard after an earthquake - FREE DOWNLOAD

BU545 Key changes to B1/AS1 and E2/AS1
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BU536 Upgrading piled foundations to resist earthquakes
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BU535 Repairing cracks in concrete
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BU455 Restoring a house after flood damage - FREE DOWNLOAD

BU444 Lessons from the 1987 Edgecumbe Earthquake
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Compliance Paths
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Computer simulation of torsion on a timber framed building with horizontal irregularity, SR171

Critical properties of mortar for good seismic performance of brick veneer, SR258

Earthquake load sharing between timber framed and masonry walls

Earthquake loads and earthquake resistant design of buildings

Earthquake resistance considerations for degrading systems

Effect and remediation of the loss of building lateral stiffness caused by earthquake loading, SR265

Good Practice Guide: Concrete Slabs and Basements 2nd edition
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