21 Oct 2010

October 2010 Building Nelson Newsletter

October 2010

Helping our neighbours

In response to the 7.1 earthquake that hit the Canterbury region on September 3rd, the Nelson City Council Building Unit responded by sending seven inspectors to the region to help with building damage assessment. The team was sent to Waimakariri District and Christchurch City Suburbs for rapid response assessments of damaged buildings in the worst hit areas. The collective teams of Council inspectors from outside the Canterbury region operated under the instruction of Civil Defence. The teams were required to assess whether the building was structurally sound for habitation to allow the occupants to remain in the building, deemed unsafe due to damage, or requiring demolition. The main focus was to try and keep people in their homes and reassure them they were safe.

earthquake damage to christchurch house.

There was a varied range of material and system failure however only those structural elements whose integrity had been compromised prompted the evacuation of the building.

Earthquake damage to house.

Some areas of failure were:

Older homes with continuous concrete foundations that rotated and/or separated from the floor/wall structure and ground bearing was compromised.

New homes had foundation and slab failure due to ground failure/fracture.

In older homes the main structure of the building generally performed although many additions attached to the building failed by movement, cracking and or subsidence at junctions. Masonry veneers fell off buildings but the structure remained generally sound.

Earthquake damage in residential area.

Sheets bracing systems appeared to withstand the quake and perform appropriately; however, damage to structures/bracing systems are likely to require assessment to determine continuing performance.

Unreinforced brick chimneys fell down and punched holes through ceilings / roofs.

Liquefaction moved buildings sideways, rotated foundations, compromised ground bearing, broke services (i.e. storm water and sewer) and severely damaged roads and footpaths. Huge amounts of liquefied sand/silt were discharged over properties in the Kaiapoi, Karakei Beach Bexley areas. 

Earthquake Prone Building policy

Nelson City Council Earthquake Prone Building Policy – Status September 2010

The recent Earthquake in Canterbury is a timely reminder of Nelson City Councils Earthquake Prone Building Policy 2006.

All councils in New Zealand are required by the Building Act 2004 to have a policy on earthquake prone, dangerous and insanitary buildings. This policy is overseen by the councils Building Unit. The aim of this policy under the Building Act is to reduce the risks of earthquakes to people and to buildings. It does not necessarily eliminate the risk.

Assessments to date

The earthquake prone buildings register currently has over 240 entries and growing. Just because it’s on the list, however, does not mean its earthquake prone. It means council has considered it to decide whether it is covered by the policy or not, and if so, given it a priority.

To date only one building has been confirmed as earthquake prone by a detailed evaluation.

Six buildings and 11 bridges have been labelled potentially earthquake prone by IEP (initial evaluation reports) or similar evaluations and are awaiting either completion of building consent work already applied for or detailed evaluations.

Post Disaster & Crowd Buildings

Council intends to send out letters to owners of importance level 3 & 4 buildings (priority 1 & 2 under our EQB policy) before the end of the year, giving them 12 months to provide IEP reports.

Owners of large sites with multiple buildings to identify the importance level of each building in accordance with ASNZS1170.0. It is recommended that owners engage a structural engineer to assist and give them guidance.

IEP Reports

All IEP reports will be reviewed thoroughly by the Building Units structural engineer (contractor) overseeing this policy. If there is information missing or there does not appear to be reasonable grounds for the conclusions reached, further questions and information will be requested. Where there is disagreement on the result of an IEP, a detailed evaluation will be required.

A number of issues have arisen during implementation of the policy that require consideration;

Make sure you are using the current version of the NZSEE Guidelines and the IEP form (June 2006 including corrigendum #1)

Click to go to the current version NZSEE Guidelines and IEP Form

The first page of the IEP form is important; provide photos, sketch layout, summary of relevant features and information sources. The sketch or attached drawings should clearly identify which parts of the building(s) are being reported on and exclusions from the report.

Many buildings are a combination of additions built over the years. It is the owner’s choice as to whether such buildings are reported on as ‘one building’ or as a number of separate buildings.

Engineers advise is recommended to help make the decision.

Each ‘building’ for the purposes of earthquake evaluation needs to be structurally independent, however a number of such adjacent structural systems can be reported on as one, although it then needs to be considered that the lowest rating determines the fate of the whole.

The rationale or justification for the choice of F factor (IEP step 3 item 3.6) must be provided.

We do not have maps of NZS1170.5 soil classifications. Conservative estimates based on available local knowledge are to be made unless; you can provide specific subsurface information.

Some structures do not lend themselves to the IEP process. It is acceptable to provide an alternative simplified calculation in these cases. Guidelines Appendix 3B Attribute Score Method is available for assessing URM buildings.

EQB Policy Review

Click here to read the earthquake prone building policy guide

Click here to read the Technical Briefing on Implications of Canterbury Earthquake 

Exempt works / Schedule 1

We have seen an increased demand recently for council to hold records of building work which is exempt from requiring a building consent.

From October 1st building work that does not require a building consent, can be lodged via Nelson City Councils customer centre and be held on the property file as a record of the exempt work being undertaken. Nelson City Council will make no assessment of the notification. A notification form must be completed and a fixed fee of $100 paid upon submission to Council. Notification forms are available from the customer centre and our website. 

Useful building information web sites

The Department of Building and Housing (DBH) publication Codewords is available here

Read the latest DBH Building Control Updates here

The DBH Technical Reports are available here  

The Nelson Building Industry Salon

The first Nelson Building Industry salon was held in June and since then a further two salons have taken place.  The salon was originally a Nelson City Council initiative which has been received well by Industry stakeholders, Master Builders, Certified Builders, ADNZ and NZIA. Collectively the group has decided to share and host the meetings in the spirit of working together and showing unity.

Master Builders hosted the latest Salon at the Suburban Club which continued on with the success of open honest discussions. We thank all involved in making this a continued success. 

GST Increases

Rather than raise all fees by 2.5% we have added two new charges and increased the re-inspection charge to $120.  These are applicable from 1 October 2010.

Certificate of Acceptance process (BA 2004, sections 96-99a). COA Certificate $200 this reflects the BC Certificate fee. Click here to see building consent fees and charges 

And now for some housekeeping

Building Consent Application Forms

There is a trend toward agent’s/first point of contact’s submitting incomplete application forms in so far as the owner details, in many recent cases this information consists of a name only.  As previously stated in the last Build Nelson this leads to incorrect statutory documents being created eg. Building Consent, Code Compliance Certificates and debtor records.

The Council BCA will now reject these applications either at the counter or during the technical vett, which will potentially slow the process down.  To avoid this please ensure the owner details are completed.

Application for CCC forms

Section 92 of the Building Act 2004 states that an owner must apply to a BCA for a CCC after all building work carried out under a building consent is complete. This is done using the application for Code Compliance form which NCC provides in the building consent pack.

We would really appreciate it if the owner or their agent could check that all the details on the Application for CCC form are correct and up to date before signing it. There can be a considerable period of time between the building consent being issued and NCC receiving an application for Code Compliance Certificate. During this time changes may have occurred such as the owner’s mailing address or the property being sold. These details are important as this is the information printed on the Code Compliance Certificate. 

Building Unit statistics - September 2010

Monthly report of consents lodged and process times

Without amendments

Five consents went over time

Process results for consents lodged without amendments



Total number processed: 122
Average processing days 9
Number completed on time 116
Percentage completed on time 95.08%
With amendments

Eight consents went over time

Process results for consents lodged with amendments



Total number processed: 144
Average processing days 9
Number completed on time 136
Percentage completed on time 94.44%

Monthly report on Code Compliance Certificates

Process results for code compliance certificates



Total number processed: 109
Average processing days: 3
Number completed within 20 days 107
Percentage completed within 20 days 98.17%



Feedback by phone

If you have feedback on Building Nelson please contact: Tracy Quinton-Boundy on 03 546 0248 or Dawn Rosie on 03 545 8839. 

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Nelson City Council contact details

Civic House
110 Trafalgar Street

PO Box 645 Nelson 7040

Phone: +64 3 546 0200

Fax:  +64 3 546 0239

Website www.nelsoncitycouncil.co.nz