Frequently Asked Questions


  • What does EPB stand for?

EPB means Earthquake Prone Building.

The Church Property Trustees [CPn EPB Programme was developed:

II         in response to the Canterbury Earthquakes,

  • to assess the risk our buildings may present to users and the wider public and
  • to formulate a plan with the Parishes to manage these
  • What is the EPB Programme?

The structural safety of buildings in the event of a moderate to significant earthquake has become a major issue following the Christchurch earthquakes. Buildings considered at risk of partial or complete collapse in a significant earthquake pose large risks to the safety of occupants. Accordingly a programme was set  up to review the seismic safety of all Diocesan buildings.

The location, age of the building and type of construction are major determinants as to whether a building is likely to be earthquake prone.

Buildings are assessed against the latest building codes (New Building Standard – NBS) to measure their capacity in the event of earthquakes. Buildings assessed as:

  • <33% NBS are considered to be earthquake prone and
  • >34% but <67% NBS are deemed to be earthquake

The minimum  standard set by  Government legislation when upgrading a building’s seismic capacity is 34% NBS.

The EPB Programme has the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Initial desktop analysis
  • A process of assessing each building in the CPT property portfolio and confirming key details such as date of construction, construction type, seismic risk of location, and
  • Analysis of this information to determine the priority of buildings for completing an Initial Evaluation Procedure [IEP] also known as an Initial Seismic Assessment [ISA]. [The initial focus being on buildings built prior to 1935 constructed from unreinforced masonry (round 1) followed by those built prior to 1965 (round 2)).
    • Phase 2: Initial Evaluation Procedure [IEP] or Initial Seismic Assessment [ISA] which consists of the following:
      • A review of the available information on the building held by
      • A site visit to the building consisting of an internal and external walk around and visual structural
      • Brief hand calculations on critical elements identified on the site visit or from other availabl
    • A brief report summarising the information

The next phase will be determined by new government  legislation. The Building [Earthquake-Prone Buildings] Amendment  Bill ls currently before Parliament and will, when passed, provide further guidance regarding the requirements of the EPB Programme and the timeframes for any required strengthening work.

  • Phase 3: Detailed Structural Assessment (DSA) and Strengthening – (sometimes referred to as a Detailed Engineering Evaluation [DEE]):

II                            If the IEP assesses a building as <33% a more detailed structural assessment is required to verify the actual strength of the various parts of the building.

  • A DSA determines more precisely the strength of the building and also the best strategy for bringing the building up to the minimum 34%. This report can be expensive (approximately

$10,000 –  $20,000)  and timing of reports  constrained by the availability of  engineering resources. If the building is still deemed <33% after the DSA, the proposed legislation then allows from 15 to 35 years [determined by the seismic risk of the building’s location] to undertake the strengthening work before the building, by law, may be required to close.

  • As the legislation is not yet law, a cautious approach to completing DSA’s is recommended for buildings assessed as <33% to ensure that parish funds are not spent unnecessarily ahead of the new requirements being passed into
  • The completion of IEP’s for CPT’s most at-risk buildings (pre 1935 and 1936-1965 unreinforced masonry buildings) does mean that there is a good base to start from in determining the priorities for more detailed reports when the new legislation comes into
  • There is no immediate urgency to undertake a

3)  Who pays?

The EPB programme was first outlined to parishes at Synod 2012. At that time it was explained that EPB report preparation and, if required, building strengthening are a cost of maintaining buildings that parishes occupy. Parishes have been advised at Synods since 2012 that contributions for work undertaken for the Diocese by CPT would be sought from parishes. In 2012 Phase 1costs were expected to be $550 per building and Phase 2 costs $1,810 per building.

The first two phases have been completed for round 1 and 2 buildings and are the subject of the parish contribution request distributed in January 2016.

  • “Triage & Intervention $1,810 for any building subject to an Initial Evaluation Procedure” is mentioned in your letter of 13th January 201 Does this mean at some stage the parish Is to receive an invoice for all buildings?

The Initial Evaluation Procedure was conducted based on priority. Reports have not been prepared for all pre- 1965 wooden buildings. These are not deemed a high risk due to their performance during the earthquakes and subsequent testing which has shown that wooden buildings performed differently to unreinforced masonry buildings. Once the outcome of this testing was made available the initial evaluation procedure on wooden buildings was placed on hold.

Post 1965 reinforced masonry buildings were identified as lower risk and have not yet been assessed.

The timing of these remaining IEP’s on what is referred to as low-risk buildings (round 3), is uncertain but what we can tell you is that if a report was likely to be required, it would be within a 5 year time frame from when the new legislation [amendment to the Building Act) is adopted by Parliament.

  • Can we have a copy of the report for which we are being asked to contribute?

The round 1of IEP Reports, [completed in 2013], were sent to parishes. The round 2 reports [completed in 2014  and 2016) were  sent to parishes where the relevant building performed at <33%. We are  happy to

provide copies again if requested. Round 3 reports have not been completed as these buildings present a low risk.

  • Why are these reports only in “DRAFT” format?

The engineers initially issued these in draft format for CPT comment  and review as there  needed to be consistency in content  and report structure across the portfolio of buildings. Now that all the reports have been received the intention is to have them issued as “Final”. Any FINAL version will not differ in content to the draft version. This will be at no additional cost to the Parish.

  • Will there be a contribution request for buildings which were significantly damaged during the earthquake?

For those buildings where there was significant structural damage due to the earthquakes, and an engineer’s involvement was required during the insurance settlement process, the costs incurred for relevant reports and inspections were covered by the insurance settlement  received.

  • I don’t recall this cost being mentioned before?

CPT’s EPB Programme paper was presented to Synod representatives and the programme was adopted by Synod in September 2012. CPT has updated Synod with the progress of the EPB programme at each subsequent Synod.

  • What is the distinction between a “contribution request” and a charge? Why is there no GST payable?

The contribution request is in essence a  request to assist CPT to  recover the costs incurred  in its role as Trustee.  Therefore this contribution is not compulsory, but should these contributions not be received, CPT would need to exercise its ability to draw on Trust funds and/or sell Trust properties – this would not be in the Diocese’s long term interests.

As CPT receives no consideration in relation to the church buildings this is not deemed to be part of CPT’s taxable activity and as such does not attract GST. We have sought extensive professional advice on these two matters and our actions are in line with this advice.

10) Why is our main building treated as three separate buildings when its actually one building built over three time periods? We believe that they are all one continuous building.

In the IEP report under the “building description” section it is clear that despite the buildings being adjacent/linked to each other they each have different structural systems  and were built in different years. This means the structural elements may perform differently. As such three separate IEP’s were required. lf the structures had been considered one building, the report would be more complex  and more importantly the lowest rating of the various structures would have applied to the whole building (whereas the church and/or the hall may have had a much higher rating). Based on the CPT Earthquake Prone Building policy in place at the time we may have had to shut all attached buildings given the overall lower rating which would have applied.

11) Could the contribution requests be deducted from the sale proceeds of a property in the event of it being sold?

The Diocesan Handbook  [reference H29) explains that after capitalisation of a reasonable proportion of interest income the balance of income generated may be spent on general purposes of the Parish BUT this needs to be with the agreement of the Standing Committee. CPT can then follow the correct process to ensure the contribution is paid.

12) 0ur parish can’t afford to pay.

CPT appreciates the difficulties Parishes are facing in paying the contribution but unfortunately CPT is obliged to perform the work involved in the EPB programme as agreed at Synod, and as required by the CPT Act and legislation.

Any inability to contribute as requested should be raised in the first instance with the Diocesan Manager and or Diocesan Finance Manager to see what assistance may be provided.

If a payment plan will assist please contact the Recovery Finance Manager at: cptrecoveryfinancemgr@anglicanlife.

  1. Is CPT doing anything to find external funding to cover these costs?

CPT has received a grant of $166,500 from Lotteries to assist with DSA’s on Heritage buildings. CPT applied but was unsuccessful in securing funding for non-heritage building DSA’s. No retrospective funding for IEP’s was available.

  1. Are any other unexpected CPT charges likely?

CPT does not believe so, except where a building has been assessed as <33% and further costs in terms of a DSA could be required. This is all dependent on  legislation being adopted, the timing of which is uncertain. Prior to any further costs being incurred, we will discuss with the Parish to ensure all parties are in agreement.

  1. Why are the EPB programme costs not covered by the global insurance settlement funds?

The EPB programme is independent of the global insurance settlement and earthquake repair work. The global insurance settlement funds cannot be used for the EPB programme as the costs are unrelated. CPT would be seen as acting negligently in terms of the obligations CPT has under its insurance policy and the Recovery programme if these funds were  used.

  1. Why is Recovery involved in the EPB Programme?

The Recovery team is currently managing the EPB programme due to in-house expertise; ultimately longer term responsibility for management of the programme will fall to Facilities.

  1. Can we have a breakdown of the costings to Justify these contribution requests? Also the dates when visits were made and by whom.

The $250 per building is for Phase 1: Initial desktop analysis as explained in question 2 above – this cost would not necessarily have involved someone visiting your site.

The charge of $1,810 is for Phase 2: Initial Evaluation Procedure as explained in question 2 above.

The Earthquake Prone Building Programme costs are based on a fixed fee pro-rated in that it balances building types and degree of complexity with travel times and consultant charges for more remote areas. CPT believes the cost allocation methodology applied is the most equitable and reasonable.