Alterations or Changing Use
Changing the use of a building
If you want to change the use of a building, even if no building work is involved, you need to let us know in writing.
A building owner can’t make the proposed change until we have given written confirmation that the requirements of the Building Act have been complied with. The requirements will vary, depending on whether the change of use means that new household units will be incorporated in the building. If this is the case, we 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). If this is not the case, the building will have to comply with building code requirements around access and escape for fire. Often a building consent will be required.
For more information, please refer to the MBIE website.
Alterations to existing buildings
Altering an existing building may trigger upgrade provisions for the whole building.
These provisions are in the building code and ensure the quality of New Zealand’s building stock improves over time.
Upgrade provisions relate to:
- means of escape from fire
- access and facilities for people with disabilities (if relevant).
All other aspects of the building must continue to comply with the Building Code to at least the same extent as before the alteration.
Councils may allow people to alter their building without ensuring it fully complies with the Building Code’s relevant provisions if they are satisfied the alteration:
- will not take place if the building has to comply
- and will improve the means of escape from fire or access and facilities for people with disabilities
- and outweighs (through improvement) any detriment likely to arise from not complying.
Extension of life
Where a building with a specified intended life is issued with a building consent that is subject to the condition that the building be altered before the end of its life, an 'extension of life' can be obtained.
An owner of a building must give written notice to Council if it proposes extending the life of a building.
If you make a change without advising Council you could be liable for a fine.
More information can be found on the MBIE website.
Requirements for subdivision of existing building
Council must not issue a code compliance certificate under section 224(f) of the Resource Management Act 1991 for the purposes of giving effect to a subdivision affecting a building or part of a building unless it is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the building will comply, as nearly as is reasonably practicable, with every provision of the building code that relates to the following:
- Means of escape from fire.
- Access and facilities for people with disabilities (if this is a requirement for the building).
- Protection of other property.
The building must also continue to comply with the other provisions of the Building Code to at least the same extent as before the subdivision application was made.
Some sites may be subject to a natural hazard such as erosion, falling debris, subsidence, slippage or flooding. Please refer to the guidance document for more information: Natural Hazards Guidance (822KB pdf)