Seismic risk and the Building Code: A regulatory perspective
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NZ is at the forefront of earthquake engineering and innovative solutions and strategies for dealing with seismic risk. Recent earthquakes have presented both opportunities and challenges for improving how the regulatory system responds to and supports the engineering industry to approach seismic risk. From a regulatory perspective, the management of seismic risk should be considered holistically, which requires an understanding of the contribution of all variables and uncertainties within the building system. MBIE has initiated several projects to support a review of how seismic risk can be addressed holistically within the building regulatory system. This paper introduces the high level Building Code objectives, functional requirements and performance criteria that are the basis of the current regulatory system for managing seismic risk in buildings in New Zealand. In practice however, demonstrating compliance with the Building Code currently relies heavily on Standards and technical documents cited by the Building Code. This paper seeks to present the background to the work underway and decisions that will need to be made in response to lessons learned and advancements in the science of earthquake engineering, earthquake risk assessment and new practices for managing and mitigating seismic risk.