New NZGS technical guidance on rockfall available online

- Ross Roberts

Rockfall: Design considerations for passive protection structures


This new joint NZGS /MBIE guidance gives a strong introduction to the design of passive rockfall protection structures, such as rockfall fences and embankments, which act as barriers to intercept and capture or divert falling rock to prevent it from impacting a critical structure.  It’s taken lessons from the rockfalls and remedial works in Canterbury as well as international best practice, particularly from Italy and Austria.  This is essential reading for anyone designing or checking rockfall protection structures.

See the document in our library here.


This joint guidance has been published as Building Act s175 guidance and focuses on:

  • How passive protection fits within the overall scope of rockfall risk mitigation
  • Site assessments
  • Design approaches
  • The design process, including inputs, site selection, structure selection, structure sizing and long-term inspection and maintenance
  • Other non-technical design considerations
  • Regulatory considerations.

This document has been developed in collaboration with the New Zealand Geotechnical Society and the New Zealand Transport Agency and is part of the general guidance on geotechnical engineering that is being developed in response to issues arising from the Canterbury earthquake.

Please note that while Christchurch City Council did issue preliminary guidance to assist owners in the Port Hills, this new guidance is more comprehensive and detailed and applies throughout New Zealand.

Geotechnical and structural practitioners are encouraged to make use of this document and return comments to by 29 May 2017.

Ross Roberts
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