A building consent is usually (but not always) needed before an existing building is altered. It depends on the extent of the work being undertaken.
Alterations can include:
- increasing or decreasing the floor area
- making or closing an opening
- erecting or demolishing a wall
- and more.
Find out if a building consent is needed
Before you start alterations check whether building consent is required.
More information and guidance can be found on the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment website.
Additions and Alterations Guidance (building.govt.nz)
More than simple repairs and maintenance
Alterations beyond simple repairs and maintenance will often require consent. In the case of a detached dwelling or an outbuilding this is generally straightforward.
If the building is used by the public, the process is more complex so professional advice in the planning stages of the project is recommended.
The building consent can only be granted we are satisfied that the building will:
- comply with the Building Code requirements for people with disabilities and means of escape from fire (as required)
- continue to comply with other building code requirements to at least the same extent as before the alteration.
Under Section 112 of the Building Act, if a consent is required for alterations to one part of a building, upgrade provisions for the rest of the whole building are triggered.
Section 112 Building Act 2004 (legislation.govt.nz)
When applying for building consent to alter an existing commercial building, you will need to provide a suitable report covering means of escape from fire (fire report) and access and facilities for people with disabilities.
We suggest that when altering a commercial building that you ensure the design professionals have appropriate skills, experience and competence to make the application. This may avoid your application being suspended or refused.
Earthquake prone buildings
If you are altering a building that is subject to an earthquake prone building Notice, section 133AT of the Act provides additional upgrade requirements.
Managing earthquake-prone buildings (building.govt.nz)