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Building on land subject to natural hazards

Building on land subject to natural hazards


Sections 71-74 of the Building Act 2004 are concerned with building on land which is subject to a range of natural hazards, such as erosion, falling debris (including soil, rocks, snow and ice), subsidence, inundation (flooding) and slippage

The act provisions exist so that the risk to land and other property can be recognised, the effect of the building work considered, and steps take to mitigate those risks and effects. 

Where the risks and effects cannot be sufficiently mitigated but the land is still subject to a natural hazard, the provision recognises that it may nevertheless be acceptable to build on the land. There will be a requirement to notify of the risk on the title to the land and provide regulatory authorities with protection from liability (on the basis that the owner is knowingly building on land affected by the natural hazard). 

Placing a notice on the title ensures that future purchasers and other interested parties are aware that the land is subject to a natural hazard.

 See further information on MBIEs website

  • 71 Building on land subject to natural hazards

    1. A building consent authority must refuse to grant a building consent for construction of a building, or major alterations to a building, if—

    (a) the land on which the building work is to be carried out is subject or is likely to be subject to 1 or more natural hazards; or

    (b) the building work is likely to accelerate, worsen, or result in a natural hazard on that land or any other property.

    2. Subsection (1) does not apply if the building consent authority is satisfied that adequate provision has been or will be made to—

    (a) protect the land, building work, or other property referred to in that subsection from the natural hazard or hazards; or

    (b) restore any damage to that land or other property as a result of the building work.

    3.) In this section and sections 72 to 74natural hazard means any of the following:

    (a) erosion (including coastal erosion, bank erosion, and sheet erosion):

    (b) falling debris (including soil, rock, snow, and ice):

    (c) subsidence:

    (d) inundation (including flooding, overland flow, storm surge, tidal effects, and ponding):

    (e) slippage.

    72 Building consent for building on land subject to natural hazards must be granted in certain cases

    Despite section 71, a building consent authority that is a territorial authority must grant a building consent if the building consent authority considers that—

    (a) the building work to which an application for a building consent relates will not accelerate, worsen, or result in a natural hazard on the land on which the building work is to be carried out or any other property; and

    (b) the land is subject or is likely to be subject to 1 or more natural hazards; and

    (c) it is reasonable to grant a waiver or modification of the building code in respect of the natural hazard concerned.

    73 Conditions on building consents granted under section 72

    A building consent authority that is a territorial authority that grants a building consent under section 72 must include, as a condition of the consent, that the building consent authority will, on issuing the consent, notify the consent to,—

    (a) in the case of an application made by, or on behalf of, the Crown, the appropriate Minister and the Surveyor-General; and

    (b) in the case of an application made by, or on behalf of, the owners of Māori land, the Registrar of the Maori Land Court; and

    (c) in any other case, the Registrar-General of Land.

    2. The notification under subsection (1)(a) or (b) must be accompanied by a copy of any project information memorandum that has been issued and that relates to the building consent in question.

    3. The notification under subsection (1)(c) must identify the natural hazard concerned.

    74 Steps after notification

    1. On receiving a notification under section 73,—

    (a) the Surveyor-General or the Registrar of the Maori Land Court, as the case may be, must enter in his or her records the particulars of the notification together with a copy of any project information memorandum that accompanied the notification:

    (b) the Registrar-General of Land must record, as an entry on the record of title to the land on which the building work is carried out,—

    • (i) that a building consent has been granted under section 72; and

    • (ii) particulars that identify the natural hazard concerned.

    2. If an entry has been recorded on a duplicate of the record of title referred to in subsection (1)(b) under section 641A of the Local Government Act 1974 or section 36 of the former Act, the Registrar-General of Land does not need to record another entry on the duplicate.

    3. Subsection (4) applies if a building consent authority determines that any of the following entries is no longer required:

    (a)an entry referred to in subsection (1)(b):

    (b)an entry under section 641A of the Local Government Act 1974:

    (c)an entry under section 36 of the former Act.

    4. The building consent authority must notify the Surveyor-General, the Registrar of the Maori Land Court, or the Registrar-General of Land, as the case may be, who must amend his or her records or remove the entry from the record of title.

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