Seismic risk communication

Investigating how best to communicate seismic risk to commercial tenants.

Large commercial tenants (public and private organisations) have a significant influence on the property market.

Their perception of earthquake risk and resulting requirements around building standards influences landlord and developer behaviour.

We want to ensure the seismic resilience of our building stock matches the needs of users.  To do this, we need to understand how seismic risk information is interpreted by organisations that tenant commercial buildings.

This project examines this interpretation and, how it translates into tenant decision-making, including:

  1. the requirements tenants stipulate around the seismic performance of the buildings they occupy, and
  2. tenants’ decisions to stay or leave buildings deemed seismically vulnerable.

We will use interviews, observation and document analysis to explore how commercial tenants receive, interpret and make decisions around seismic risk. This includes talking to both those who communicate seismic risk information (owners, property managers, engineers, government agencies) and those who receive it (tenants).

We will also consider existing research evidence about effective risk communication and develop and test communication approaches that aid tenants in understanding and making decisions around seismic risk.

Intended project outcomes
  • Guidance for tenants outlining how seismic risk can be mapped to other commercial risks faced by organisations. This guidance will support tenants to make informed decisions through an improved understanding of the seismic performance of the buildings they occupy.
  • Guidance for professionals communicating seismic risk information: The guidance will provide engineers, property managers, and policymakers with effective best-practice strategies for communicating information about seismic risk with commercial building tenants.
  • Peer-reviewed journal article: An open-access research journal article will be published regarding the overall key findings from this project.
Poster presentation overview of the project

We recently presented this poster at a Resilience Symposium hosted by the University of Canterbury to showcase community and urban resilience research.

Click on image to view full size poster.

Project team

Resilient Organisations

  • Charlotte Brown
  • Tracy Hatton
  • Cameron Eade

Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Massey University

  • Dr Julia Becker
  • Dr Emma Hudson-Doyle
  • Catalina Miranda

Kestrel Group

  • Dave Brunsdon

Project funding



If you would like to find out more about the project, please get in touch:
Charlotte Brown
+64 (0)21 142 5420

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