Change of use

The Building Act 2004 recognises that changing a building's use has implications and for this reason requires building or property owners to give the council written notice of any changes proposed.

You can notify council either by completing one of the two following forms: 

Common changes of use are:

  • residential villa to restaurant
  • warehouse to apartments
  • dwelling to childcare facility 

All of these can trigger Building Code compliance issues and certain systems or elements within the building may be required to be changed or upgraded.

If you are simply notifying council of a change, council has to make a decision whether it can allow the change of use to proceed or whether building consent is required to upgrade the building to comply with the Building Code, in particular, to ensure the building still meets code requirements relating to:-

  • means of escape from fire, protection of other property, sanitary facilities, structural performance, fire-rating performance
  • access and facilities for people with disabilities
  • compliance with other aspects of the Building Code to at least the same extent as before the change of use occurred.
  • if it did not comply with the other provisions of the building code immediately before the change of use, continue to comply at least to the same extent as it did then comply.

If a building consent is required the change of use will be refused at this time and the change cannot be put into effect until a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) has been issued for the work.

The change of use may be allowed under the Building Act but some other form of consent, such as resource consent, may be required. Note also that other changes may come from the change such as rating changes etc.

Change of use is a complex process. We suggest that the applications or notifications are done by a suitably qualified and competent person. You may need to provide fire reports and structural engineers reports and the like with the documentation. These reports should be compiled by suitably qualified competent people.