New commercial or industrial buildings and alterations to these types of building will require a Building Consent unless the work is exempt under Schedule 1. Commercial, industrial and public buildings (and also multi-unit residential buildings) have additional requirements under the Building Act, to ensure they remain safe for occupants, users, and the public. The Council must be satisfied that any proposed alterations, or new building work, will meet the Building Code requirements.
Access and Facilities for Persons with Disabilities
Under Sections 117 – 120 of the Building Act 2004, buildings used by the public, whether for free or on payment of a charge, must be accessible for people with disabilities. Schedule 2 of the Building Act lists additional buildings which must also be accessible. Please check this list. If you are an owner it is your responsibility to ensure compliance of your building. If the project for an existing building involves alterations, upgraded or changing the use of the building, the owner must upgrade access, parking, and sanitary facilities of the entire building to the same extent as if it were a new building, or as nearly as is reasonably practicable. This is to ensure people with disabilities are able to enter and carry out normal activities and functions within the building. Refer to Acceptable Solutions.
Specified systems, Compliance schedules, and BWOFs
Under the Building Act 2004, owners of commercial buildings are responsible for keeping their building’s Specified Systems (fire safety systems) and features in good working order, and to provide Council with an annual Building Warrant of Fitness.
- See Compliance Schedules and Building Warrant of Fitness.
- If applying for a building consent, also see Compliance Schedule Details Forms.
- Also see Acceptable Solutions: F8 Signs, the requirements for signs that clearly identify hazards, escape routes, access, and facilities for people with disabilities.
Change of Use
If you intend to use the building for another purpose other than what it was designed for, you need to check whether or not this is a Change of Use as defined by the Building Act and Change of Use regulations.
- See Change the Building Use (on this website)
- MBIE change of use guide for building owners, managers and developers.
It is recommended that you engage specialists for the design and construction of the proposed building work. Any building work outside the Building Code B1 Acceptable Solution will require specific design by a specialist engineer. The Council may require that the design is peer-reviewed to confirm the structural design complies with the requirements of the relevant structural standards.
- Refer to the Acceptable Solutions for B1 Structure
A proposal for a lift must meet the relevant performance requirements of the Building Code and be listed on the building’s Compliance Schedule. If the ‘use’ of the multi-floor building or its ‘occupant load’ (number of people) changes, the building will be assessed to determine whether it must have a lift.
- Refer to Acceptable solutions for D2 Mechanical Installations for Access
Hazardous Substances / Dangerous Goods
If you intend to use or store Hazardous Substances or Dangerous Goods on-site you will be required to comply with the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO), Building Act 2004 and the Building Code.
- Refer to Hazardous Substances page
- Acceptable Solutions for:
Trade waste is any liquid discharged into a council wastewater system from a commercial or industrial property in the course of any trade or industrial process. Trade waste must be collected, held, treated and disposed of in a way that safeguards people from injury or illness caused by infection or contamination resulting from industrial liquid waste. Please check with your local Council to find out about the local trade waste bylaws.
- Refer to Acceptable Solutions G14 Industrial Liquid Waste
- A new food premise may require:
- Resource consent
- Building consent
- Change the Building Use notification
- Trade waste
- Food premises registration. Please contact your local Council
All premises used for the manufacture, preparation, packing or storage of food for sale to the public must be registered by Council under the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974, or hold a Food Control Plan or Risk Management Plan approved by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) before food can be sold to the public. Please contact your local Council for further information.
Buildings must have appropriate spaces and sanitary facilities for personal hygiene. A Change of Use that increases an occupant load of a building (i.e. the number of people), or type of use of a building, may require additional sanitary facilities. Refer to
- Acceptable Solutions for G1 Personal Hygiene
- Acceptable Solutions for G3 Food Preparation & Prevention of Contamination
- See Change the Building Use notification (on this website)
Staged Consents and when they can be used
Section 44(2) of the Building Act 2004 allows a project to be split up into a series of building consents, one for each stage of the project. This may be useful where the scope of the work can be clearly defined in each case. For example:
- Large multi-storey buildings
- Multi-unit apartments or development blocks
- Large public buildings such as shopping malls and hospitals
- Site works, foundations and drainage, with the balance of work completed under a separate stage (this situation might occur where it is desirable to start the project early but where plans and calculations have not been completed for the balance of the work)
More information on staged consents
Building use by the public during construction
If you want to continue to use the building or parts of a building that is undergoing construction work under a building consent which hasn’t as yet been issued with a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC), then you need to apply for a Certificate for Public Use. The Council will assess if the public safety systems are in place and operational. This is a temporary permit to use the building while work is being completed. It has an expiry date.
Public buildings and large residential buildings are to be assessed for earthquake resistance.
Post emergency building assessment
An emergency event could result in structural damage to the building that makes it unsafe to use. MBIE provide guidance and tools to assist you in assessing damage and risk.