Certificates for public use

What section 363 of the Building Act provides for

The Building Act 2004 was introduced to strengthen building controls and increase protection for the public.

Under the Act, a new public safety measure, known as section 363, makes it an offence for a person who owns, occupies or controls a premise to permit people to use that premise or parts of premises intended for public use where that premise is affected by building work, unless the territorial authority confirms it is safe to do so.

This will normally exclude dwellings and flats, but may include common parts of flats.

A part of premises may be affected by building work whether or not the work has been completed and includes:

  • work that is being or has been done to or in the building; or
  • work that involves or involved the building of the part itself; or
  • work that involves or involved some other part of the building that the premises comprise or forms part of

Allowing members of the public access to the premise could result in a fine of up to $200,000, and a further fine of up to $20,000 for every day or part of a day the offence has continued.

When section 363 applies

In premises intended for public use affected by building work, section 363 applies in either of the following situations:

  • a building consent has been issued to undertake the building work, but a code compliance certificate or certificate for public use has not yet been issued (or the conditions on the certificate for public use are not being complied with)
  • a building consent was never issued for the building work that has been undertaken, even though one was required

In these circumstances, an offence under section 363 will be committed if members of the public use the affected part or some other part of the building that the premises comprise or form part of, from the time the physical work starts until documentation is issued confirming it is safe to do so.

People in control of premises affected by building work consented or begun before 31 March 2005 have until 31 March 2010 to obtain a code compliance certificate (CCC) or a certificate of acceptance for that work and comply with the requirements of section 363.

To read more, see building work and premises intended for public use (MBIE website).

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