Change of use (Section 115)
You cannot make the proposed change until Council provides written confirmation to the owner that the requirements of the Building Act have been complied with. This is typically done as part of a building consent.
A change of use is where:
- a building incorporates a household unit where one did not exist before
- when use of a building or part of a building changes from one use to another as defined in the Building (Specified Systems, Change the Use and Earthquake-prone Buildings) Regulations 2005 (the Regulations) and the new use has more onerous or additional Building Code requirements than the old use.
When a change of use occurs
Once Council receives advice about a change of use it must confirm to the owner, in writing, whether it is satisfied the building (in its new use) will meet the requirements of the Building Code.
Requirements of the Building Code:
If the change of use involves incorporating one or more household units into the building where there were none before, Council must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building (in its new use) will comply as nearly as is reasonably practicable with the Building Code in all respects.
For all other cases, Council must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building (in its new use) will:
- comply, as nearly as is reasonably practicable, with every Building Code provision relating to either or both of:
- means of escape for fire, protection of other property, sanitary facilities, structural performance and fire-rating performance
- access and facilities for people with disabilities (if this is a requirement under section 118 or the Building Act)
- continue to comply with other Building Code provisions to at least the same extent as before.
To work out if an upgrade is required a gap analysis needs to be undertaken. The key purpose of the gap analysis is to compare how the existing building complies to the current building code requirements. This will identify if the existing building needs to be upgraded or not.
If an existing building needs to be upgraded to comply with current building code requirements and there is good reasoning for the upgrade not to be undertaken, an ANARP (As near as Reasonably Practicable) justification must be documented and provided with the building consent application.
Often the ANARP justification is the start to planning maintenance and upgrades that require building consents in the future.
For help with assessing ARNARP refer to the ARNAP section on the Building Performance website. (external link)