Change of Use of a Building

What is a change of use?

A change of use occurs when both:

  • the use of a building or part of a building changes from one use to another as defined in the Building (Specified Systems, Change the Use, and Earthquake-prone Buildings) Regulations 2005 (the Regulations), (for example an industrial business use to a shop or restaurant, or creating sleeping uses in building or parts of buildings here none existed before)
  • and the new use has more onerous or additional Building Code requirements than the old use.

Applying for a change of use

You cannot make the proposed change until the council gives the owner written confirmation that the requirements of the Building Act have been complied with.

The requirements will vary, depending on whether the change of use means that household units/sleeping groups will be incorporated in the building. If this is the case, the council will need to be satisfied the building in its new use will comply with the Building Code as near as reasonably practicable (also known as ANARP). If this is not the case, the building will have to comply with Building Code requirements around accessibility and escape for fire. Often a building consent will be required if any work is needed as a result of the change.

If you make the change without advising the council you could be liable for a fine of up to $5,000.

Additional information relating to change of use

For more information, please refer to publications on the MBIE website.