If you want to change the use of a building, even if no building work is involved, the owner needs to let the council know of the change in use (section 115) in writing.

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 will be incorporated in the building. If this is the case, the council will need to be satisfied that 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 means of escape from fire, protection of other property, sanitary facilities, structural performance and fire rating performance. Often a building consent will be required.

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

For more detailed information on Change of Use go to MBIE Change of Use.