Repair and rebuild of houses in land damaged areas of Canterbury guidance document published

Issue 24 – February 2011

The Department of Building and Housing (DBH) has issued a Guidance document to assist the repair and rebuild of houses in land-damaged areas of Canterbury. The document was officially released by the Minister for Building and Construction on 20 December 2010.

The focus is on foundation and floor elements but it also covers common areas of 'above the floor' damage such as chimneys.

The approaches and options in the document represent the combined view of experts from the public and private sectors. The Earthquake Commission set up an Engineering Advisory Group, which included DBH representatives, to investigate how residential structures responded to liquefaction effects in the Canterbury earthquake. The Department has used the Group's findings to develop the guidance.

A consistent approach to repair and reconstruction in land-damaged areas is vital to minimise delays and aid recovery in Christchurch. Councils, insurers, designers, and builders have expressed a need for guidance and the document was released before Christmas in response to that demand. Research into the earthquake and its effects is ongoing and further investigations may result in alterations to the document.

At present the guidance only applies to houses damaged by the Canterbury earthquake. The DBH will consider incorporating the learnings from the Canterbury earthquake, in particular the effects of liquefaction, into more general guidance for the rest of the country.

Visit the DBH website to download the 'Guidance document to assist the repair and rebuild of houses in land-damaged areas of Canterbury' (

Information supplied by Department of Building and Housing.

Published in building.