Designation response to February 2023 storm

Published on 08 February 2024

Simon Weston, Chief Executive, has reviewed the designation as required by the Building Act 2004 and on 8 February 2024 determined that the designation is still needed.

The whole Whangārei District has been "designated" under the Building Act 2004 to help manage ongoing risks to people from buildings affected by flooding and land instability as a result of the January 2023 storm event.

Full details of the Rapid Building Assessment system can be found on the MBIE Building Performance website:

Managing building in an emergency (

How to get your building assessed?

If your house has suffered damage by Cyclone Gabrielle, please contact us (09 430 4200) so a rapid building assessment can be carried out to assess the damage, existing or potential hazards, record details of the damage and assign appropriate placards to buildings to identify any restrictions of use. 

About this designation

The designation allows us to take specific actions under the Building Act to manage buildings in an emergency.

The decision to designate the region was made by Victoria Harwood, the Appointed Local CDEM Controller at 11:00am on 15 February 2023 and the designation took effect immediately.

The designation will be reviewed every 90 days by Whangarei District Council to confirm that the powers conferred by the designation are required to manage the response and recovery.

The designation may remain in place until 14 February 2026, unless terminated earlier.

Designated area

The designated area extends across the entire Whangārei District.

The area designated will be reviewed once Rapid Building Assessments are completed.

Powers under a designation

The Building Act provides us a number of powers that may be exercised in respect to all buildings within the designated area, including the ability to:

  • enter buildings
  • complete post-event assessments
  • direct the evacuation of buildings
  • put in place measures for protecting buildings and keeping people at a safe distance
  • place notices and signs on buildings
  • direct the owners of building or land to provide information
  • direct works (urgent and non-urgent) to remove or reduce risks
  • direct works for long-term use or occupation of a building.

Assessment placards (stickers)

Information about the different placards and what they mean is available on the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website:

North Island severe weather events 2023 (

Non-compliance and penalties

The Building Act sets out a number of offences and penalties for non-compliance in this matter, in sections 133BR to 133BU, 133BW and 133BX.

Penalties include fines of between $5,000 and $200,000.

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