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Priority Buildings

What is a Priority Building?

Priority buildings are certain types of buildings in high and medium seismic risk areas that are considered to present a higher risk because of their construction, type, use or location. They need to be identified and remediated within half the time allowed for other buildings in the same seismic risk areas. The Building Act s133AE also prescribes specific buildings as a priority building and they include:

  • Hospital buildings that are likely to be needed to provide emergency medical and ancillary services in an emergency
  • Buildings that are likely to be needed as an emergency shelter or an emergency centre in an emergency; or that enable emergency response services to carry out their jobs in an emergency
  • Buildings that are used for education purposes that are regularly occupied by at least 20 people

Other buildings or parts of buildings that could be considered priority buildings include:

  • Parts of unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings that could fall in an earthquake onto thoroughfares with sufficient vehicular or pedestrian traffic. This can include parapets, verandas, balconies and decorative ornaments attached to the façade.
  • Buildings that could impede transport routes of strategic importance (in terms of emergency response) if they were to collapse in an earthquake.

What if I've already supplied an Initial Evaluation Procedure (IEP) report under the old legislation to Council?

Council will review the existing IEP reports it has on file and make a decision on their status as per the new EPB methodology.

What if I have an IEP report but I didn't submit it to Council?

You'll need to contact Council to ascertain if your building meets any of the new categories for EPB's. If the building meets the EPB category criteria you can supply Council with your IEP report. Council will moderate this report against the EPB Methodology and make a decision around suitability.
Council will advise you of the decision and will accept the report or you'll need to contact your engineer and organise either an ISA or DSA to meet the new EPB Methodology.

Priority Buildings - a guide to the earthquake-prone building provisions of the Building Act

Earthquake-prone buildings resources has further resources and tools.