Building and Land FAQs

Q. What do I do if my house has a placard and what do the placards mean?

After the earthquake we assessed almost half of the buildings in the district. As a result we determined what buildings were safe to be used and were unsafe to be used – these are identified by their placards.

Please do not remove yellow and red placards until we advise it is safe to do so.

White Placard

The white placard means the building is safe for normal use. However buildings with white placards may still be damaged. If your building is damaged then you should seek technical advice from a chartered professional engineer or building professional then decide what work is required. You can then contact our building team to discuss the consent process.  

Yellow Placard

The yellow placard means the building is potentially dangerous and use is restricted to parts of it. The placard will specify if the building can be entered or what conditions need to be met for entry and use. Building owners are always responsible for the safety of their buildings so if your building is potentially dangerous then you should make immediate arrangements to restrict entry or use of the building.

Owners can arrange emergency work or demolish the building as an emergency measure without consent if it is necessary to protect public safety. Please notify us of work/demolish undertakings as soon as possible. Owners should seek technical advice from a chartered professional engineer or building professional then decide what remedial work is required. Some emergency works can be undertaken without a building consent. Emergency works is only work that needs to be carried out urgently for the purpose of saving or protecting life or health or preventing serious damage to property. After completion of the emergency works a Certificate of Acceptance Application (COA) needs to be approved.

Some emergency work may change the status of the building from unsafe to safe and this will be done when the building is inspected again. Please do not remove placards the evaluation team will change the placards if necessary. Please contact the building team to rebook a re-inspection on 03 314 8816 or email via building@hurunui.govt.nz.

Red Placard

The red placard means the building is dangerous and should not be entered by any person. If you need to enter the building please call us as entry may be permitted with certain criteria met. Building owners are always responsible for the safety of their buildings. If your building is potentially dangerous then you should make immediate arrangements to prevent anyone entering or approaching dangerous areas.

Owners may arrange emergency work or have the whole building demolished without consent. A part demolition requires a building consent. We recommend that you consult us at the Council before demolition to ensure there are no heritage issues and for advice on disposal of waste etc. Where a building consent is required, owners should seek technical advice from a chartered professional engineer then decide what remedial work is required. When that advice is received make sure building consents are obtained before any work takes place. You can contact our building team on 03 314 8816 or email us via building@hurunui.govt.nz.

Red or yellow placard buildings will need to be repaired and made safe to the standards set in the building code before they can be occupied, or they will need to be demolished for a possible rebuild. The placard status will be recorded on a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) that is requested so it is important that you deal with the issues around the placard and advise us at the Council so we can update records.

Q. How long do I have to have the placards on my building?

The placards exist under special legislation for a short time, this short time is coming to a close soon so council inspectors will be visiting or accessing (from previous notes) red and yellow placarded buildings and converting (when required) the placards into dangerous or insanitary notices under the Building Act. These notices last for a longer period of time.

Q. My home is has a red placard, but I want to get my belongings from there. What should I do?

Please contact the Council building team (03 314 8816 or email building@hurunui.govt.nz) for advice on this as there may be ways to access your property with safety provisions in place, please contact us in the first instance to discuss.

Q. What will I need a building consent for and what can I do without a consent?

This is not straight forward to answer as it depends on what work you propose to do, please contact the building team at the Council (03 314 8816 or email building@hurunui.govt.nz) to explain the extent of your repairs and then we will advise if consent is required.

Q. Where can I find information about how to rebuild?

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has developed a helpful Rebuild with confidence book. They also have a guide titled Building or renovating? Know your rights A homeowner’s guide to the consumer protection. You can also call our building team on 03 314 8816 for more information, or email us via building@hurunui.govt.nz.

Q. I live on rural land and want to undertake some remedial work – do I need a resource consent?

Farmers and rural land holders have, or may still need to, carry out preventative or remedial activities on their land because of the earthquakes – like replacing or repairing farm tracks, septic tanks and stockwater supplies. Recent legislation allows a rural land holder to undertake certain emergency preventative or remedial works without a consent. For guidance about what can and cannot be done under the legislation, please click here. We will need you to let us know what works you have undertaken within 60 working days of the works commencing - notice should include a brief description of the works undertaken, the location on the property and when the work was, or is due to be, completed. Please note, as the legislation is temporary, any qualifying works must begin before 31 July 2017. For more information, or to give notification of works done, please phone us on 03 314 8816 or email our planning team at planning@hurunui.govt.nz, or you can find the notification form here 

Q. I am worried about winter coming and my home not being fixed or ready – what should I do?

You need to contact your insurance company in the first instance. If you are uninsured please let us know by calling the Council and asking to speak to the recovery team.

You can also contact Community Energy Action whose website is here.

Q. If I need temporary accommodation where can I find it?

If your household was affected by the November earthquake, and you can receive support to find temporary accommodation. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) are working together to help displaced people in finding suitable temporary accommodation while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.

There is generally a cost for temporary accommodation. You should first check with your insurance company to see if they are able to assist with this cost. If not, you can contact MSD to see if assistance is available – phone 0800 559 009.

For more information and to fill out a temporary accommodation form, which can find here. You can also contact tempaccon@mbie.govt.nz, or call 0800 673 227.

Q. How do I identify and handle asbestos?

Asbestos is a health hazard to you and your family if not managed properly. As work is done on your property to buildings – repair, rebuilds or demolition – you need to be aware of asbestos. To find information about how to identify and deal with asbestos safely click here.  You can also contact us at the Council for advice about removing and disposing of asbestos in a safe and responsible manner. Please do no bury or burn demolition waste as it may contain hazardous materials, such as asbestos.

WorkSafe New Zealand also has good advice about asbestos on its website.

Q. What health and safety requirements do I need to consider?

The government has a WorkSafe website dedicated to health and safety. You can visit that site here and find information you need to know and how to contact WorkSafe for advice.