In some circumstances, an owner who intends to change the use of a building (or part of a building) must give notice in writing to the Council of that intention.
Every building is designed for a specific use and has to meet Building Code requirements that ensure it will be safe, healthy and durable when used in the way it was designed. If that use changes, the building may need to be altered to support the new use. The regulation divides the uses for all or parts of buildings into four broad activity groups:
The four broad activity groups each have a number of uses adding up to 15 uses overall. Definitions and examples for each of these uses are also given in Schedule 2 of the regulations.(external link)
A change of use occurs when:
A building consent may not be required:
You can notify the Council of your change of use via email or hardcopy by providing documentation outlining compliance. We advise you to use the Notification of proposed change of use [DOCX, 162 KB] or PDF [PDF, 253 KB] form and send it to DutyBCO@ccc.govt.nz. For hard copies, post to Consenting & Compliance Group, PO Box 73013, Christchurch 8154 or drop it off to the Council office at 53 Hereford Street, Christchurch.
Your notification of proposed change of use will be assessed by a building consent officer and specialists as required. Depending on the complexity of the project this assessment is likely to be processed within 20 working days.
Please note that to determine the extent of any building code upgrade requirements, the Council must apply the ‘as nearly as is reasonably practicable’ test. This test is a weighting exercise and involves a sacrifices and benefits assessment where the sacrifices and difficulties of achieving full compliance are balanced against the advantages of upgrading. Also protection of life is to have a high weighting.
Once you have submitted an application, you will need to pay a deposit fee as set in our Building Consents Fee Schedule. Once the application has been processed and the Council is ready to accept the change of use, all of the costs associated with the application will be calculated, and if required, a further invoice will need to be paid before the decision is released.
An application that is comprehensive, concise and clear will be faster for the Council to process. That means it will be considerably less expensive.
When an owner neglects to notify the Council of a change of use that has already occurred, the consequences can be as follows:
You may benefit from a pre-application meeting to discuss your project with Council officers.
You can also refer to the MBIE website – Change of Use, alterations and extension of life(external link)
Email the Duty BCO at email@example.com with any queries.