An office set up for the purpose of considering applications for the demolition of earthquake-damaged buildings will open in Christchurch on Monday.
Eighty-one heritage or character buildings are currently considered unsafe to enter.
That doesn't necessarily mean they will have to be pulled down, says Mayor Bob Parker, who is urging owners to consult first with the building recovery office.
The city's old buildings help define Christchurch, Mr Parker says, and must be saved if at all possible.
He says heritage and engineering experts will meet on Monday to discuss the best way forward.
A meeting will then be held on Monday night for owners of character and heritage buildings to hear from the city council and the experts.