Building Change of Use

Change of use, alterations and extension of life

If you want to change the use of a building, even if no building work is involved, the owner needs to let the council know of the change (in writing).

You should also talk to the council if you want:

  •          to alter a building, as this could trigger upgrade provisions for the whole building
  •          an extension of life for a building with a specified intended life
  •          to do a subdivision that will affect a building.

You cannot make the proposed change until the council gives the owner written confirmation that the requirements of the Building Act have been complied with.

The requirements will vary.  The council will need to be satisfied that the building in its new use will comply with the Building Code as near as reasonably practicable (also known as ANARP). The parts of the  Building Code which need to be complied with will depend on the change of use. Often a building consent will be required.

If you make the change without advising the council you could be liable for a fine.

Every building is designed for a specific use and has to meet Building Code requirements that ensure it will be safe, healthy and durable when used in the way it was designed. If that use changes, the building may need to be altered to support the new use.

To determine if the building is a change of use, refer to Sections 5, 6 and Schedule 2 of Building Regulations 2005 (Specified Systems, Change the Use, and Earthquake-prone Buildings) for use of all or parts of the building, on the New Zealand Legislation website.

For further guidance, see our Council Building Services guide (PDF)