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Certificate of Public Use

This page contains information about Certificates of Public Use, what they are and what they mean.
Updated: 15/10/2018 12:02 p.m.

Buildings that are open to the public either free of charge or requiring a payment or entrance fee or similar, which include, but are not limited to;

  • Shopping malls
  • cinemas
  • marae
  • camping grounds
  • some workshops or garages
  • funeral homes
  • office / retail complexes
  • rest homes

cannot be used or opened to the public until a Code Compliance Certificate has been issued.

These premises will generally have systems within the building which will contribute to life-safety and the wellbeing of the building users - these systems are called specified systems - and will usually have to be installed and operable for the safe use of the building.

However, a Certificate of Public Use may be issued by council in certain circumstances to allow the premises to be opened.

Certificate of Public Use's are usually required in the following two scenarios, a publicly used building is:

  • to remain open whilst building work is undertaken (in the case of an existing building)
  • to be opened before a Code Compliance Certificate has been issued (new building).

If the building is to remain open whilst construction work is undertaken, Council will need to be given plans and methods of how the users of the building will be protected from hazards and other general health and safety measures ensuring public safety during construction.

This may be fencing off areas, having traffic management plans or similar and ensuring that specified systems remain operable - (a site specific safety plan may also be required to meet Worksafe requirements under notifiable works provisions).

Worksafe website

You may apply for a Certificate of Public Use in this scenario with your building consent but you must apply and have the certificate before construction starts.

If you want to start using public premises before a Code Compliance Certificate is issued, even if building work has been completed, you can apply for a Certificate of Public Use.

This certificate should be viewed as a temporary measure that allows the public to use the premises until the issue of a code compliance certificate.

Note: the owner is obliged to apply for a Code Compliance Certificate once building work has been completed.

Both the above scenarios are likely to involve an assessment and inspection.

Council may issue a Certificate of Public Use if satisfied on reasonable grounds that the public can use the premises safely. In all cases usual conditions of issue of this certificate will be:

  • that all specified systems are commissioned and/or maintained as required by the issued compliance schedule, ensuring that full maintenance and inspection records are maintained, and,
  • limited in time, i.e. will only be issued for a stated time measured in weeks or months, and/or require that a new certificate be required should site conditions change or the time frame be required to be extended.

Every issue or application for a Certificate of Public Use may also require an inspection by council to ensure it can be satisfied on reasonable grounds with regards to public safety requirements.

Please note that Fees are applicable for these applications.

Certificate of Public Use application form [235kb]

More information can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website



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