Altering an existing building

Extra conditions may apply when you're applying for a building consent to change or renovate an existing building.

How it works

When you apply for a building consent to change or renovate an existing building, we must be satisfied that, after the alteration, the entire building will comply, as nearly as is reasonably practicable, with the Building Code clauses about:

  • means of escape from fire
  • access and facilities for people with disabilities (if required).

Full list of buildings required to provide access and facilities for people with disabilities – legislation.govt.nz

If the rest of the building complies with the current Building Code

It must continue to comply after the alteration.

If the rest of the building doesn't comply with the current Building Code

You must make upgrades to the entire building so that it complies with the requirements for means of escape from fire and, if required, access and facilities for people with disabilities.

Otherwise, the rest of the building must comply with the Building Code at least as much as it did before.

The rules for managing building alterations are mainly contained in section 112 of the Building Act.

Managing building alterations – Building Performance

If your building is earthquake-prone

If your plans don't meet the requirements

If your plans don't meet the above requirements, we may grant the building consent anyway if you can prove that the alteration:

  • will improve the building's means of escape from fire or disability access, and
  • wouldn't go ahead if the building was required to comply with all the relevant provisions of the Building Code.

You need to be able to show that the improvements made will outweigh the drawbacks of the non-compliant parts of the building, for example with a cost-benefit analysis.

Applying for your building consent

When you apply for your building consent, there's some extra information you'll need to provide.

You need to provide evidence of:

  • how the new building work complies with the Building Code
  • how the rest of the building will remain compliant, or be no less compliant than it already is.

If your building needs to meet the Building Code requirements for fire and accessibility, you'll also need to show how the alterations will comply as nearly as is reasonably practicable with those requirements, and the sacrifices and benefits of achieving full compliance. We recommend this information is provided in a report by a suitably qualified fire engineer.

Applying for a building consent

Need help?

The Building Compliance and Consents team is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.

Building Compliance and Consents
Phone: 04 801 4311
Email: bcc@wcc.govt.nz