Building on land subject to natural hazards

We’re lucky to have lots of properties near beaches and on hills or cliffs in our district. The views are spectacular, but there may also be risks – especially if the land is subject to natural hazards such as erosion or slips.

People buying or building on these properties may find a section 72 notice on their title. This can have an effect on your insurance and your building plans.

Talk to us before you start

We strongly recommend that you discuss your proposals with us before applying for building consent. You can contact a duty building officer on 03 543-8400.

We also strongly recommend you contact your solicitor, insurance company or the EQC if you are purchasing a property that may be subject to natural hazards, or you are planning on doing any alterations or additions in the future.

What is a section 72 notice?

Section 72 is part of the Building Act 2004. A Section 72 endorsement on a Record of Title means building or renovations are allowed on a property subject to a natural hazard, but that insurance may be declined or only partially met for damage by that hazard.

For example, if a property is prone to flooding, any building work under a section 72 notice may not be covered if there is a flood. 

How do I find out if I have a section 72 notice on my property?

If you are buying the property, request a Land Information Memorandum. It will list all the natural hazards the Council knows about on your property.

Order a Land Information Memorandum (LIM)(external link)

Another alternative is a Project Information Memorandum. This is a report relating to a specific project on a property. You can apply for a PIM any time, but it's usually related to a building consent.

Find out more about Project Information Memorandum (PIM)(external link)

If you already own the property, you can check your Record of Title.

Order a copy of the Record of Title from Land Information New Zealand(external link).

Does the council have to consider applications to build on land subject to a natural hazard?

Yes. However we must also make sure the work doesn’t create a natural hazard or make a natural hazard worse.

A consent can be issued if adequate provision has or will be made to protect land from natural hazard damage.

We strongly recommend that you discuss your proposals with us before applying for building consent.

The Building Act 2004 identifies natural hazards as:

  • Erosion (including coastal erosion, bank erosion and sheet erosion)
  • Falling debris (including soil, rock, snow and ice)
  • Subsidence
  • Inundation (including flooding, overland flow, storm surge, tidal effects and ponding)
  • Slippage

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