The list of buildings in Auckland that may be an earthquake risk will eventually be made public but Auckland Council says it could be well into 2012.
Councillors have rejected proposals from staff that would have restricted the release of lists even though individual property records are public.
The council is winding up the first stage of assessing all commercial buildings constructed prior to the introduction in 1976 of improved standards.
Building control manager Bob De Leur says property owners will then have four months to do their own more detailed engineering assessments.
He says that should give a clearer picture of a building's risk, although he points out that factors such as the nature of the soil the building sits on may also play a role.
Mr De Leur says the council's new policy will give building owners up to 30 years to upgrade their properties, reflecting the fact that Auckland has a low earthquake risk.