A new five star rating system that evaluates the strength of a building in an earthquake is being developed.
Legal advisor Don Holden says current building assessments are too complicated and a simpler, more reliable system would help everyone.
The new system would involve a variety of engineers estimating a building's safety and the damage it might sustain in a major quake. Exact details are still being worked out.
Mr Holden says action is currently taken only on buildings that are seen as earthquake-prone, and others, which could still pose some risk, should be assessed.
He says market forces could create the biggest reduction in earthquake risk in New Zealand's history, because a building's value would be affected by its rating.