Building on land subject to natural hazards


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Section 71-74 of the Building Act 2004 covers situations where people want to build on land that is subject to a real or potential hazard.  Section 71(3) defines natural hazards and these include:

  • Flooding
  • Inundation subsidence
  • Slippage erosion
  • Falling debris

​​You can view a fuller list on our natural hazards Definitions page​.

Can I build on land subject to a natural hazard?

Yes, provided the building work does not worsen the hazard or have an adverse effect on both your property and/or neighbouring property.  You will be asked to produce technical evidence before a building consent application will be considered.​

There are some restrictions. For example; in floodable areas and coastal inundation areas minimum floor levels are required for dwellings and other habitable buildings; within coastal erosion areas only one dwelling can be built per title and these must be designed to be reloc​atable; and in land stability areas a geotechnical report is required to ensure buildings are established on solid foundations.

How do I get consent to build on such land?

Section 73 of the Building Act says that if Council issues a building consent on land subject to one or more natural hazards, then the Title must be endorsed to show that the building is on such land. 

You cannot build on land subject to a natural hazard without Council issuing a building consent with an endorsement on the Title.​

Effects of having an endorsement on my Title

Alerts subsequent buyers that the building is on land subject to a hazard.

This means legal action cannot be taken against Council for issuing the building consent.

How do I get the endorsement on my Title?

If you submit a building consent that requires endorsement we will contact you to complete the authorisation forms and discuss the full process with you. A fee​ is charged for this service.​

Where do the District Plan rules fit in?

The District Plan maps will identify the type and location of the specific hazard (stability or floodable areas for example) on the subject property.

Chapter 18  - "Natural haza​​rds" in the District Plan​ (PDF, 37KB) outlines the rules that, depending on the nature of the works, may require a Resource Consent application to be made.  It is important to note that this application is in addition to any requirement for an application under the Building Act.

We suggest that you discuss the resource consent aspect with the Councils planner. You can make an appointment through our online form​.

I'm currently building or have just finished building on a property not identified with a natural hazard – what will it mean for me if a hazard is identified later?

If you are currently building and have the necessary consents all you need to do is make sure you complete the building works in accordance with those consents and their timeframes.

However if the project is not completed in time and you need to re-apply for consents you will be required to address any newly identified natural hazards.  If you have finished building in accordance with the necessary consents and their timeframes, the identification of a natural hazard won't affect the building works.

Note: If you have not commenced building yet but have the necessary consents, you can continue with your project as per consents but may want to consider taking in to account any updated natural hazard information.​

Where can I get more information?

The Building on land subject to natural hazards practice note​ (PDF, 208KB)

- This guide ensures there is a consistent approach to the consenting of building work on land subject to natural hazards.

The Natural Hazards page​ on this website.

- This includes any reviews of the natural hazard maps for our district and any reports received for specific areas.

The Bay of Plenty Emergency Management website.

- Includes full details on Natural Hazards.​

Page reviewed: 25 Jun 2020 4:24pm