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Last reviewed: Wed, 10 Oct 2012 RSS

Updated floor levels released for Christchurch properties

10 October 2012

The Christchurch City Council has today (October 10) released updated floor levels for properties in the Avon, Heathcote and Styx river catchments, as well as Sumner.

These levels are based on the latest ground surface information, says the Council’s Regulation and Democracy Services General Manager Peter Mitchell.

The data will be available on the Council’s website:

“After every significant aftershock, the Council has sought new ground surface information to understand the impact of the earthquakes on land levels. This was last done in February, following the late December 2011 aftershock.

“Of the 160,000 properties in Christchurch, about 10,360 in the Avon, Styx and Heathcote river catchments have the potential to flood in a 50-year rainfall event. This is an increase of 769 properties post-earthquakes.”

He says it is important to remember that Christchurch is a flat, low-lying city and there have always been areas prone to flooding and that the Council has always set minimum floor levels in these areas.

“In general, flooding in the city has tended to be shallow and more of an inconvenience rather than a serious threat for life and property.

“The Canterbury earthquakes have caused significant land damage throughout the city. Areas close to riverbanks and other waterways have been particularly hard-hit and ground levels across the city have settled by as much as 200mm to 300mm in large areas and by more in some smaller areas.”

Mr Mitchell says to protect homes located in these areas, the Council has updated the minimum floor levels for properties in river and waterway catchment areas which will help protect them from the risk of future flooding.

“The specific floor level for each property will be set as part of the building consent. However, homeowners can expect the actual floor level will be the same or similar to those indicated on the website.”

He says releasing bulk information on updated floor levels provides insurance companies, EQC and design professionals with the information to make progress with the rebuild, providing homeowners with certainty of what is required for their property.

“The Council has also provided consenting guidelines for the repair and rebuild of homes inside and outside the Flood Management Areas (FMAs) to help both homeowners and insurance companies to understand the consenting process that is likely to be required for homes being repaired or rebuilt.”

Insurance Council of New Zealand comments:

“Insurers have reviewed the flood data collated by the Christchurch City Council and have met with the Council’s planners to discuss a number of rebuild and repair scenarios.  Insurers now have a better understanding of how the Council will treat applications for building consents in the FMA and will use this information to process insurance claims.

Insurers will continue to assess rebuilding and repair requirements for their customers on a case-by-case basis; however flood management issues should not delay the rebuild process. Flood issues will be taken into account when the repair plans are progressed through established consenting process.

Homeowners should take note that most insurance policies in place at the time of the earthquakes will cover the cost of building consent requirements to raise finished floor levels to meet standards set in the Building Act.

Insurers will continue to work productively with the Council, EQC and other agencies to provide best outcomes for policy holders. 

Insurers are working to prioritise the claims of vulnerable groups in the community.”

Further information

See our Frequently Asked Questions section for answers to specific questions about floor levels in Christchurch residential homes.

Consenting guidelines on repair and rebuild of residential homes inside and outside the Flood Management Area [PDF 100KB]

Updated residential floor levels for areas throughout Christchurch [PDF 600KB]

Floor levels in these areas have been updated to protect homes from the risk of future flooding. Actual floor levels for each property will be set as part of the building consent process and homeowners can expect these to be the same or similar to those indicated on this map.


Authorising Unit: Communications

Last reviewed: Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Next review: Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Keywords: flood, flooding floodplain flood awareness maps tidal rai, floorlevel