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Choosing a good building site

Location plays a big part in how at-risk a building site is to natural hazard damage. You’ll need to consider the type of land your home will sit on and how that land will perform during a natural disaster.

At or before the design stage, ask your local council whether your site might be vulnerable to:

  • liquefaction in the event of an earthquake
  • flooding
  • high winds
  • landslips
  • inundation from a tsunami
  • volcanic or hydrothermal activity.

You can also purchase information from your local council, which might be useful to consider before starting your building project:

  • Land Information Memorandum (LIM) – specific to your land and buildings that already exist on the site (check that it’s up-to-date if you’re basing your building or renovation plans on it). If building work is consented on land considered at risk of a natural hazard, the local council will usually note this on the LIM.
  • Project Information Memorandum (PIM) – specific to your building project, with valuable information to help inform the design phase of your project. A PIM must be obtained for all building work that requires a building consent.

If the council information raises questions or you have concerns, consider getting an expert opinion on the site from an appropriately qualified professional such as an engineer. The engineer may also be able to provide advice on design options that might reduce the impact of a natural disaster.

Find a qualified engineer on Engineering New Zealand’s website.(external link)

You’ll find more about consents and council information on the Understand your land so you design well (external link)page of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Building Performance website.

BRANZ’s Renovate website has more about building or renovating in areas of natural hazards.(external link)