When is there a “change of use’ of a building?

An owner of a building must give written notice to the territorial authority where there is a change of use under section 114 Building Act 2004. A ‘change of use’ is defined in the Building (Specified Systems, Change the Use and Earthquake-Prone Buildings) Regulations 2005. Where a building has been designed for a specific purpose e.g. residential apartments, and there is later a change of purpose to say, serviced apartments, then depending on occupancy levels, the new use as a serviced apartment may cause a change of use of the building. Securing building code compliance certificates on a change of use. Where there is a change of building use, the building consent authority can withhold a code compliance certificate under section 115 Building Act:

  • for a residential conversion, unless satisfied that the building will comply with the building code in all respects;
  • in any other change of use, unless satisfied that the building will comply with the building code as nearly as reasonably practicable in respect of fire, sanitary facilities, and structural performance; and,
  • where a commercial building is open to access by the public, adequate provision is made for access and facilities for people with disabilities under section 118 Building Act.

Purchasers and financiers should ensure that a building’s use category (as specified under the building regulations) is accurately reflected in the building consent. If not, the code compliance certificate can be withheld by the council.