Post-earthquake building safety 
evaluation procedures

Preparedness checklist and
 response plan
 for territorial authorities

  • Editor NZSEE, Wellington, New Zealand


The primary aim of this document is to provide Territorial Authorities with an outline response plan so that safety evaluations of damaged buildings can be activated efficiently and effectively following a major earthquake (or any other disaster which affects buildings). Services such as drainage, water supply and roading are not included within the scope of this document.

Territorial Authorities have the responsibility for providing the planning framework, within which a range of professional groups can operate. These include structural and civil engineers, building inspectors, and loss adjusters.

It is intended that these Building Safety Evaluation Procedures will be adopted by all New Zealand Territorial Authorities to avoid the need for each to formulate their own.

National acceptance of these procedures will also mean that only one set of forms, placards, information management systems, training resources etc. need be prepared. A common standard also makes the use of external inspection resources more practicable.

This document confines its scope to Territorial Authority planning for building damage assessment during the emergency phase of a disaster. Further plans for activities arising in the restoration phase are also required. They include:

  • definition of structural standards for the repair of damaged buildings
  • streamlined procedures for building consents
  • streamlined procedures for resource consents, including debris disposal and land use
  • transfer of information to insurance firms


Bent, D., (1993). Local Authorities and earthquakes - some guidance for councillors and managers, Ministry of Civil Defence, Wellington.

Hammond, D., (1995). David Hammond lectures 1995 - urban search and rescue, structural collapse, building triage, Register of Engineers for Disaster ReliefNZ, Auckland.

Ian C Smith & Partners, (1992). Guidelines for initial shoring or securing o f damaged buildings following earthquake, Earthquake and War Damage Commission, Wellington.

Works Consultancy Services, (1995). Earthquake risk assessment study. Study area 1 - Wellington City. Wellington Regional Council, Wellington.

Works Consultancy Ltd, (1990). Procedures for post-earthquake safety evaluation of buildings. (Adapted from ATC-20). New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence, Wellington.

- 1995. Wellington City disaster recovery planning guide. Wellington City Council Wellington Emergency Management Office.

- 1989. ATC-20 Procedures for postearthquake safety evaluation of buildings, Applied Technology Council, Redwood City, California.

- 1995. A TC-20-2 Addendum to the A TC-20 postearthquake building safety procedures, Applied Technology Council, Redwood City, California.

- 1991. Building department guide to disaster mitigation, International Conference of Building Officials, Whittier, California.

- 1991. Disaster response procedural manual, City of Long Beach California Department of Planning and Building (Unpublished).

- 1992. Post-disaster safety assessment plan: Local building officials' guide to the activation and utilization o f safety assessment volunteers, State of California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, (unpublished) Sacramento, California.

How to Cite
Editor. (1998). Post-earthquake building safety 
evaluation procedures . Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 31(2), 103-121.

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