Behavioural Science and Risk-Based Decision Making: A Case Study of Earthquake Prone Council Buildings

Tuesday 7 June 2022
12:00 - 1:00pm

Policy and technical guidance are only as good as their implementation. Often well-meaning policy has unintended consequences, as individuals and organisations overlay their own risk perceptions and understanding to an issue.

In this presentation we will explore how behavioural science can be applied to improve risk-based decisions. The presentation is framed around an analysis of the management of earthquake prone public buildings in New Zealand. We show how the individual, social and cultural contexts can influence how risks are perceived, evaluated, and communicated. The framing of risks, unconscious biases, cognitive limitations, trust, and other social influences are all critical factors in translation of policy to effective outcomes.



Lunchtime Seminars - Key Information

  • Lunchtime Seminar charges are $10 for RiskNZ members, $25 for non-members, or free if you have a RiskNZ Lunchtime Seminar Annual Pass. You can pay directly via credit card online, or an invoice will be sent to you following registration.
  • Seminars commences at 12:00pm and will finish at 1:00pm.
  • Webinar dial-in – Webinar information for logging in and participating in the webinar will be shared with registered participants at least one day before the seminar.

About our presenters:

Dave Brunsdon: Kestrel Group

Dave Brunsdon is a director of Kestrel Group, a consultancy that provides strategic advice on the resilience of buildings and infrastructure, and on crisis and emergency management planning. He was a technical adviser to MBIE on the 2016 amendments to the earthquake-prone buildings provisions of the Building Act, and provides advice to local authorities on the implementation of the new regime. 

Charlotte Brown: Resilient Organisations

Charlotte is joint Managing Director at Resilient Organisations Ltd., a research and consulting group helping organisations, groups, and communities to be future-ready ( As a social scientist with a civil engineering background, Charlotte often works at the interface between physical and social sciences.  Charlotte’s areas of specialty include risk management, systems thinking, decision-making, and organisational resilience.

Michael Nuth: BRANZ

Michael is an experienced social scientist with broad and eclectic experience across the building and construction industry. This includes managing high-profile, multi-year research contracts regarding building industry performance; project managing large-scale seismic retrofits; and helping shape central government housing policy.