Who is responsible?
In general the owner of the land is responsible for repairing a slip on their land. If your neighbours land has moved and caused damage, they don’t automatically have an obligation to repair it, even if it affects you, unless they caused the slip by their own negligence.
All landowners have a general duty of care to act reasonably to prevent or mitigate damage to a neighbour’s property due to a hazard on their land once they are aware of it – so if you have concerns about a neighbouring property, you get professional advice and should inform them in writing.
Inform your insurer
If your house or land is damaged, you may be able to make a claim with your insurance company or EQC. You can find out more about what’s covered here. EQC have a set of rules and criteria, so you will need to lodge a claim with them to find out if you’re covered.
Get professional advice
Contact a local engineering consultancy to provide advice. Ask for a Professional Engineering Geologist (with PEngGeol registration) or Geotechnical Engineer (with CPEng registration).
If you’re looking for a professional to help solve a geotechnical problem it is important that you use appropriately qualified geotechnical professionals. You’ll need either a Chartered Professional Engineer who specialises in geotechnical engineering, or a Professional Engineering Geologist. Look for the qualifications CPEng (Geotechnical) or PEngGeol. These are the quality marks administered by Engineering New Zealand, and the holders of these certifications are held to a high standard of professionalism and follow the Engineers New Zealand Code of Ethical Conduct, available here.
Do I need a Geotechnical Engineer (CPEng Geotechnical) or Engineering Geologist (PEngGeol)?
Engineering Geology is the profession responsible for defining the geotechnical problem, and identifying and characterising the hazards and material properties. Geotechnical Engineers then take this information to design the appropriate solution. These two functions work together to ensure a safe design. If you’re not sure which you need, ask a professional.
- CPEng register here (search for ‘geotechnical’ in the Engineering Practice Field)
- PEngGeol register here (search for ‘Chartered Member (Engineering PEngGeol)’ in the Membership Class Field)
Not everyone that works on your project needs to be registered, but you should insist that the person responsible for signing any formal documentation is on one of these two registers to protect your interests.