Fire and accessibility upgrades improve building safety

The requirements for buildings undergoing alterations mean that over time buildings are upgraded to better meet current Building Code requirements by making the most of planned interventions.

The Building Act sets out the rules for the construction, alteration, demolition and maintenance of new and existing buildings in New Zealand.

The key purposes of the Building Act include ensuring that:

  • people who use buildings can do so safely and without endangering their health
  • buildings have attributes that contribute appropriately to the health, physical independence, and wellbeing of the people who use them
  • people who use a building can escape it if it is on fire
  • buildings are designed, constructed, and able to be used in ways that promote sustainable development.

There are provisions in place for upgrading fire and accessibility features in buildings to achieve these purposes.

It is important to note that people with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments. These disabilities may, in interaction with various barriers, hinder full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. The Office for Disability Issues and NZS 4121:2001 have more information.

The Building Act 2004 can be found on the Legislation website.

The Office for Disability Issues has further information.

NZS 4121:2001 Design for Access and Mobility is available on the Standards New Zealand website.

Buildings for everyone: Designing for access and usability provides information about good practice for the design of buildings that are safe and easy to use for everyone

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This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: