Recent natural disasters

Those of you who have been caught up in Cyclone Gabrielle and the preceding Auckland rains have had a tough time, and we hope that things come right in due course.  NZACS will respond where we can to reduce ongoing risks to your practice, and the NZIA has recently published some guidance to information to aid the road to recovery.  For our non-NZIA members, and for those of you that may be involved in remediation or salvage of damaged buildings, MBIE has some resources at as does CHASNZ at

In some respects these recent events may lead to similar outcomes and responses as Covid:  disruption to supply chains, labour availability, and site progress.  In addition, some sites will be physically affected by flooding or landslip.  Inevitably, some of those who suffer loss will be looking around to recover uninsured losses:  you should be thinking about whether you or a project you are working on is a potential target, and if so, what you need to do about it. 

Your staff losses and family disruption need to be addressed directly:  see, for example, at  and at the MBIE site  

Personal or staff stress and losses may affect productivity, and to the extent this affects your projects, you should advise stakeholders at the earliest opportunity, so that mitigation can be managed.   Focussing on your personal and business well-being is likely to be more important in the immediate future than meeting (perhaps arbitrary) deadlines.

Climate change as a design input

When advising clients on site developments, in addition to compliance requirements there is a duty of care to apply your experience skills and knowledge as a professional person.  Where is it apparent that a site may be more than usually affected by climate change, higher rainfall, higher temperatures, stronger winds, flooding, landslip or off-site adverse events, these are issues to be raised with the client.  This may in turn require attendances by other consultants.  Pro-actively educating your clients on the potential risks is a better course of action than having to defend your position later.  The records you have kept of those discussions and the resulting decisions will be an important defence if a later related claim arises.