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Alterations to Commercial Buildings

If you're making alterations to an existing commercial building

When an alteration is done to an existing commercial building, Section 112 of the Building Act 2004 has to be considered. Section 112 of the Act requires Tauranga City Council as the Building Consent Authority to be satisfied that after the alterations the building will comply, as nearly as is reasonably practicable, with the current provisions of the Building Code that relate to:

  1. means of escape from fire; 
  2. access and facilities for persons with disabilities (if this is a requirement in terms of section 118); and
  3. continued compliance with the other provisions of the Building Code to at least the same extent as before the alteration.

To be satisfied that consideration of Section 112 has been undertaken, Council will assess the extent to which the proposed upgrade will be effective to bring the building to the relevant Building Code standards. As part of the Building Consent application, building owners will need to provide an evaluation of:

  • what should be in the building to satisfy 1 and 2 above as if this building was new;
  • what is currently in the building; and
  • what is proposed to bring this building toward the standard required by items 1 and 2 above.

The evaluation should also detail the benefits and sacrifices required so Council can consider what is ‘reasonably practicable’. 

And if you're changing the use of your commercial building

Section 115 of the Building Act 2004 will apply. This section ensures that when changing the use of a commercial building, the current building stock is being upgraded toward the current provisions of the Building Code, specifically relating to:

  1. means of escape from fire, along with protection of other property, sanitary facilities, structural performance, and fire-rating performance
  2. facilities for persons with disabilities (if this is a requirement in terms of section 118); and
  3. continued compliance with the other provisions of the Building Code to at least the same extent as before the change of use.

In the same way, Council will need to assess the extent to which the proposed upgrade will be effective to bring the building to the relevant Building Code standards. As part of the Building Consent application, building owners will need to provide an evaluation of:

  • what should be in the building to satisfy 1 and 2 above as if this building was new;
  • what is currently in the building; and
  • what is proposed to bring this building toward the standard required by items 1 and 2 above.

The evaluation should also detail the benefits and sacrifices required so Council can consider what is ‘reasonably practicable’. 

Book an appointment with a Building Officer

We recommend that you make an appointment with a Building Officer early in the design process (before you lodge your Building Consent application) to discuss any concerns relating to evaluating Section 112 and/or Section 115 issues. Meetings must be booked at least two working days before they are required. Please phone 07 5777 000 for an appointment.

Other resources

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment article on complying as nearly as is practicable

MBIE Guidance Document on requesting information about means of escape from fire from existing buildings


Last Reviewed: 05/04/2017