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Urgent Action Required to Correct Building Act

Urgent action required to address deficiencies with the Building Act

The Property Council of New Zealand (PCNZ) is calling on the government to urgently amend the Building Act 2004 to ensure that buildings around the country, which are currently occupied, can be altered and renovated without the need to force an evacuation.

National Director of the PCNZ, Connal Townsend said the Building Act 2004, which comes into effect next week (1 April), is poorly worded and will prevent the construction, renovation and alteration of public buildings unless amendments are made.

“If section 363 of the Building Act, is not amended then it is possible that a building affected by building work may not be used, or permitted to be used. Unlawful use of a building intended for public use is an offence under that section and a person is liable to a fine not exceeding $200,000. In the case of a continuing offence, the person is liable to a further fine not exceeding $20,000 for every day or part of a day during which the offence has continued.

“The application of section 363 applies to a building that is intended for public use. Guidelines issued by the Department of Building and Housing spell out the type of building that will be affected, in particular: hospitals, schools, restaurants, and churches. But other buildings will also be affected, including shopping centres and foodcourts.

“All of these buildings, and many others, are affected by section 363 of the Act, which means that if any part of a building is affected by building work for which no code compliance certificate has been issued, no part of the building can be used.

“In other words a building would have to be evacuated until the building work is completed. This situation is ludicrous, unworkable and unacceptable,” Mr Townsend said.

The PCNZ has already commenced discussion with officials from the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) to seek changes to the Building Act.

“If the Building Act is not amended then the building industry’s ability to complete building projects potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars will be severely undermined,” Mr Townsend said.

About the Property Council of New Zealand (PCNZ)

The PCNZ is New Zealand’s property voice. The PCNZ represents New Zealand's Commercial, Industrial, Retail, Property Funds and Multi Unit Residential Property Owners. The PCNZ has branches throughout the country and its members represent some of the largest commercial property portfolios in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Tauranga, the value of which exceeds $14 billion.

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