A structural engineer who helped develop the building assessments procedures following the Canterbury earthquakes says the coloured placard system is misleading.
David Brunsdon was speaking on Monday at the Royal Commission hearing into how post-quake safety inspections of buildings were managed.
He helped develop building safety assessment systems following the first earthquake on 4 September, 2010.
Mr Brunsdon said the public has misunderstood that a green sticker means the building is safe.
He explained that what it actually means is that the building has passed a 20 minute assessment and it is up to the owner to get a more extensive report.
Mr Brunsdon said a separate, more extensive system should be required for all unreinforced masonry buildings.
Earlier in an opening statement, commission counsel Mark Zarifeh said the hearing will discuss the lessons learnt from the Canterbury earthquakes about how buildings safety evaluation processes can be improved.
He said the hearing will consider issues raised about the assessments of buildings that failed in the earthquakes and how safety checks were carried out on those buildings.
Later on Monday the commission will hear from a structural engineer in the United States, Bret Lizundia.
The hearings are set down for Monday and Tuesday.