The Institution of Professional Engineers wants to see improved earthquake standards for buildings throughout New Zealand.
The call follows an interim report from the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission issued on Wednesday recommending immediate action to make safe 3500 unreinforced masonry buildings.
The association's deputy chief executive says the Building Act only requires the country's 73 district and city councils to have a policy for earthquake-prone buildings, with no requirement for them to enforce it.
Nicki Crauford says 28 councils do not have a timetable for when strengthening should occur and the average time for strengthening is 21 years.
Ms Crauford says councils should retain control over standards, as some areas are more earthquake-prone than others.