Altering, changing the use of, or extending the life of a building

Find out more about altering, changing the use of, or extending the life of a building.


If you're making alterations to an existing building, section 112 of the Building Act 2004 has to be considered.

Section 112 (1) of the Act requires Council, as the Building Consent Authority, to be satisfied that after the alterations the building will comply, as nearly as is reasonably practicable, with the current provisions of the Building Code that relate to:

1.  means of escape from fire

2.  access and facilities for persons with disabilities (if this is a requirement in terms of section 118)

Also, the Council needs to be satisfied that the building continues to comply.

To be satisfied that consideration of Section 112 has been undertaken,  Council will assess the  extent to which the proposed upgrade will be effective to bring the building to the relevant Building Code standards. As part of the building consent application, building owners will need to provide an evaluation of: what should be in the building to satisfy 1 and 2 above as if this building was new what is currently in the building what is proposed to bring this building toward the standard required by items 1 and 2 above. The evaluation should also detail the benefits and sacrifices required so Council can consider what is ‘reasonably practicable’.

If you are planning to change the use of a building, you must give us written notice before you do so. Once we have received your written notice, we will assess compliance with Building Act 2004 requirements

Section 115 of the Building Act 2004 will apply. This section ensures that when changing the use of a building, the current building stock  is being upgraded toward the current provisions of the Building Code, specifically relating to:

1.  means of escape from fire, along with protection of other property, sanitary facilities, structural performance, and fire-rating performance

2.  facilities for persons with disabilities  (if this is a requirement in terms of section 118)

In the same way,  Council will need to assess the  extent to which the proposed upgrade will be effective to bring the building to the relevant  Building Code standards. As part of the building consent application, building owners will need to provide an evaluation of:

  • what should be in the building to satisfy 1 and 2 above as if this building was new
  • what is currently in the building
  • what is proposed to bring this building toward the standard required by items 1 and 2 above.

The evaluation should also detail the benefits and sacrifices required so Council can consider what is ‘reasonably practicable’.

Some buildings have a specified intended lifespan, either due to code compliance inadequacies or because they were constructed to be temporary buildings. When a building consent is issued on a building like this, it is subject to the condition that it be altered, demolished or removed on or before the end of its life.

However, Council can approve an ‘extension of life’ if we are satisfied that the building can continue to perform for a longer period.

If you would like to extend the life of a building you’ll need to provide us with written notice.

When a proposed cross lease, company lease or unit title subdivision affects an existing building or part of an existing building, you must give us written notice about the proposed subdivision. Once we have received the written notice, we will assess whether the existing building or part of an existing building:

  • will comply as near as reasonably   practical with every provision of the building code that relates to means of escape from fire, access and facilities for persons with disabilities (if this is a requirement under s118 of the Building Act 2004 and protection of other property).
  • will continue to comply to at least the same extent as before the application for a subdivision was made with the other provisions of the building code.

This ensures that these developments meet minimum Building Code compliance levels under section 116A of the Building Act 2004 and the Building Code.   The applicant for the subdivision needs to provide sufficient information as part of their application to show how these requirements will be achieved.


For more information

Contact details