Alterations to existing buildings

When an alteration is done to an existing building, section 112 of the Building Act 2004 has to be considered.

Section 112 is in the Act to ensure the current building stock is being upgraded as nearly as reasonably practicable to the current provisions of the building code for fire safety and access and facilities for persons with disabilities.

The Act requires a Building Consent Authority (Nelson City Council) to be satisfied that after the alterations the building will comply, as nearly as is reasonably practicable, with the provisions of the building code that relate to:

a. means of escape from fire; and

b. access and facilities for persons with disabilities (if this is a requirement in terms of section 118); and

c. continue to comply with the other provisions of the building code to at least the same extent as before the alteration.

For Council’s Building Consent Authority to be satisfied that consideration of section 112 has been undertaken, it requires an evaluation to decide that the extent of the proposed upgrade will be effective.

The evaluation should contain:

1. what should be in the building to satisfy a. and b. above as if this building was new

2. what is currently in the building

3. what is proposed to bring this building toward the standard required by 1. above

The building code clauses that the evaluation should consider:

  • Means of escape are; C3.4, C4, D1, F6, F7, F8
  • Access and facilities are; D1, D2, F7, F8, G1, G5

The evaluation should also look at the benefits and sacrifices so Council can consider what is ‘reasonably practicable.’  For further information, please see MBIE guidance document Requesting information about means of escape from fire from existing buildings.  Please complete the building score sheet in appendix 1 of the guidance document and submit this with your building consent application.

Building officers recommend early in the design process that an appointment is made with the Senior Building Officer to discuss any concerns relating to evaluating section 112 issues.

Other resources

Change of use, alterations and extension of life (MBIE website)

As nearly as is reasonably practicable (ANARP) (MBIE website)