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Auckland Council

Changing the use of your building

If you want to change the use of your building, or part of it, you will need to let us know. If you plan to carry out building work, you may need a building consent.

What is a use of building?

Every building or part of a building has its use specified under the Building (Specific Systems, Change the Use, and Earthquake-prone Buildings) Regulations 2005, Schedule 2.

These regulations group these loosely into four groups:

  • crowd activities
  • sleeping activities
  • working, business or storage activities
  • intermittent activities.

​Let us know of your intention to change the use of your building

You will need to notify us in writing of your intention to change the use of your building. For example, you need to let us know if you want to change from an auto parts store to a car spray-painting workshop.

You can contact us, or get free advice from us in person.

Get a copy of the practice note

Why we do this

To ensure public health and safety, we need to review your notification and be satisfied that the building, in its new use, complies with the provisions of the Building Code.
If you do not notify us of a change of use of your building you may be fined up to $5000.

How we review your change of use notification

When we review your change of use notification, we apply a risk-based approach, particularly where public health and safety may be affected.

We will need to be satisfied that the building, in its new use, complies as near as reasonably practicable with the provisions of the Building Code that relate to:

  • means of escape from fire
  • protection of other property
  • sanitary facilities
  • structural performance
  • fire-rating performance
  • access and facilities for people with disabilities.

If the change involves the incorporation of one or more household units that did not exist before, then the building must comply with the Building Code as near as reasonably practicable.

The risk factors we consider include:

  • the nature and types of risk that can occur and any resulting consequences
  • how to mitigate the risk
  • the likelihood of risk (domestic use versus commercial use)
  • the timeframes (temporary or permanent, likelihood of the temporary use becoming permanent)
  • the level of risk the proposed use may cause
  • the level at which risk becomes acceptable or tolerable
  • the building size
  • the building complexity
  • the location of the building in relation to other buildings and public places
  • how often members of the public visit the building
  • disruption to business operations and occupants during the upgrade
  • any other relevant matters.

We will notify you in writing of the outcome of our review.

 

When you will need a building consent

If we find that you need to do work to comply with the Building Code as near as reasonably practicable, you will need to apply for a building consent.

Our tip

You should not start any building work until the building consent has been granted and issued.

​When you do not need a building consent

If we are satisfied that the new use of your building will comply with the Building Code, you may not need a building consent to change to the new use.

You may still need a building consent for an alteration to remove redundant systems.

 

More information on the change of use of a building

For more details on change of use see, Change of use and alterations on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

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