Building owners need to develop their own policies and procedures. All tenants must be aware of these processes and know what to do before an event.

Anyone running a business is required by law to provide a work environment that is without identifiable risks to health and safety.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015(external link) does not set a minimum standard, rather it says that all practical steps are taken to remove or minimise the risk from identified hazards. 

Following a significant seismic event, the Council recommends building owners/operators get any buildings assessed for potential structural damage that may have been caused by the earthquake. 

The Council recommends the following four-step process to ensure your building is safe after an earthquake.

Step one

Initial assessment

  • An initial assessment by owner/operator.  You will need a further assessment if you find issues due to earthquake damage.
  • You should hire a chartered professional engineer if there is any doubt.
  • Don't enter the building if there is any concern about the structural integrity of the building. Seek professional chartered engineering advice and guidance and advise occupants that the building is not to be occupied and move to step two.

Step two

Engineer inspection

  • A chartered engineer inspects key elements of the building structure. This may include invasive techniques. It is recommended that the same engineer/engineering company does this for continuity and familiarity of the building.
  • Buildings should not be occupied until the engineer declares that it is safe to occupy.

Step three

Check building systems

  • Once the engineer has declared the building safe to occupy, organise an inspection of building services and systems by suitably qualified professionals/Independent Qualified Person, for example, fire protection, electrical, water, lifts, heating and air conditioning, or security.
  • If any services/systems are damaged, you may not be able to occupy the building until they are fixed.
  • Any other damaged areas needing repair are also remediated in this stage.
  • A final check is done to ensure that the building is safe to occupy in accordance with building warrant of fitness and building code regulations and policies.

Step four

All clear to occupy

  • Building is cleared and fit to reoccupy.