The 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquake sequence, which generated significant ground shaking in Christchurch, New Zealand, caused land damage, widespread building and infrastructure damage, and human losses. In response to every significant ground shaking, the local and central government sectors and other nominated private organisations conducted damage surveys on the built environment with various focuses and stored the assessment details within their premises. Furthermore, as a unique feature of the Christchurch region, the well-distributed strong motion instruments network yielded one of the most complete ground motion datasets for a damaging earthquake in an urban environment. This paper describes the overwhelming tasks undertaken by the authors in association with their partners: (i) to scrutinise, organise and compile the massive amount of data collected by various agencies; and (ii) to derive a uniform and comprehensive damage database for buildings. The distinctive feature of this database is that it provides pre-earthquake details of building characteristics and post-earthquake damage sustained by them including land damage information. The database is made as versatile as possible in order to benefit the myriad of fundamental and applied research communities by means of sharing the database. In addition, some preliminary lessons are highlighted and discussed in the light of the pre- and post-event building management.