Posted: 5 June 2018
The building consent authority (BCA) received an application for a building consent for an apartment building. The proposed building had two commercial tenancies on the ground floor and seven levels of apartments.
The building included mechanically stacked car parking for residents of the apartment but no designated car parking for the commercial tenancies. To meet Clause D1 requirements, it was proposed the council-owned accessible car parking in an adjacent lot could provide the accessible car parks for the commercial tenancies.
The BCA believed this proposal did not comply with Clause D1 and refused to issue the building consent.
Section 118 of the Building Act (the Act) sets out the requirement for 'reasonable and adequate' access for people with disabilities who are expected to visit or work, and carry out normal activities and processes in a building. Clause A2 of the Building Code defines adequate as "adequate to achieve the objectives of the Building Code".
NZS 4121, an Acceptable Solution under section 119 of the Act, allows for council-owned car parking to be used to meet the requirement for accessible car parking, provided the car parks are connected to the site or building by an accessible route. Therefore, where car parking is not provided for in the building or on the site, council-owned car parking can be used to comply with section 118.
Section 118 does not require accessible car parking within every building or site that triggers section 118 requirements, rather reasonable and adequate provision for accessible parking is required. For example, dairies and cafes are required to comply with section 118, but in some instances it would not be practical and/or possible to incorporate car parking. In some cases, what is considered reasonable and adequate provision may include nearby publically available accessible car parking.
However, in this case the building had designated parking for the use of residents, but not for the commercial tenancies. Having car parking for residents only doesn't itself trigger section 118. However, this doesn’t remove the section 118 requirements that relate to the building as a whole, because of the commercial tenancies.
The determination carried out an assessment of whether using council-owned car parking was reasonable and adequate. A number of factors were considered, including the relatively small area of the commercial tenancies in comparison to residential floor area, the size of the site and the building's footprint, and the proximity of accessible car parking in an adjacent site.
The proposed building with no accessible car parks complied to the extent required by section 118 of the Act as there was access to adjacent council-owned publicly accessible car parks. The BCA was therefore incorrect to refuse to issue the building consent.
Each determination is made on a case-by-case basis. So, while this parking arrangement was established as compliant it doesn't necessarily mean the same parking arrangement will comply in another situation.
Previous determinations is a register of all previous determinations.