Previous determinations

Determinations are made by MBIE on matters of doubt or dispute to do with building work. Rulings are legally binding, but only in relation to each case.

Previous determinations may provide some useful guidance for those faced with similar problems, but note that individual circumstances may vary.

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2021/002: Regarding the proposed refusal of an amendment to a building consent relating to an intermediate floor in a new building

This determination considers whether a building consent authority was correct to propose to refuse an amendment to a building consent. This was due to a dispute with the owner over the maximum allowable area of an intermediate floor used for the storage of materials associated with a manufacturing, servicing and repair business. The determination considers the change in the intended use of the building during the course of the building work from a “warehouse” to a “workshop”, the means of compliance, and the area of the intermediate floor.

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2020/034: Regarding the compliance of fire safety precautions in a motel

Note: This determination is subject to appeal.


This determination considers the issue of a building consent and code compliance certificate for a motel in respect of a fire alarm system. The matter turns on whether the building work as approved in the building consent complied with Clauses C2 Means of escape from fire and F7 Warning systems, and whether the construction of the motel without a fire alarm system being installed met the performance requirements of those clauses when the code compliance certificate was issued.

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2020/029: Regarding the issue of a notice to fix for building work to a sprinkler system carried out without a building consent

This determination considers whether a territorial authority was correct to issue a notice to fix for building works that involved the alterations and modifications of an existing specified system – an automatic sprinkler system – where a building consent was not obtained prior to the works commencing. The determination also considers if the building works could have been undertaken in accordance with clause 10 of Schedule 1 of the Building Act.

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2020/003: Whether a consented apartment building with a single escape route requires smoke lobbies on the ground floor

This determination considers the granting of a building consent and whether a proposed three-storey apartment building with a common stairwell requires smoke lobbies in the ground floor apartments in order to comply with the Building Code by means of the Acceptable Solution C/AS2. The ground floor apartments have alternative egress routes and the common stairwell is the single escape route for the occupants of upper floors.

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2019/062: Regarding the means of escape from fire from a new dwelling located behind an existing dwelling

This determination concerns a new dwelling constructed at the rear of a site with an existing dwelling, and compliance of the new dwelling in relation to movement to a place of safety in the event of a fire.  The matter at issue is whether the escape route to a safe place for the occupants of the rear dwelling required a protected path past the existing dwelling.

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2019/046: Regarding dangerous building notices issued for a building

This determination considers two dangerous building notices that were issued for a six-storey building in central Auckland.  The various levels of the building are fitted out for retail, offices, and sleeping accommodation.  The determination considers the authority’s decision to the second dangerous building notice restricting entry to part of the building, which meant part of the building could not be used for sleeping accommodation, and the authority’s decision to reissue that notice after thirty days.

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2019/042: The code compliance of a garage built over a boundary

This determination concerns whether a garage built over a boundary complies with Clause C3 (Spread of Fire) of the Building Code in place when the building consent was issued, and whether the authority was correct to issue a code compliance certificate for the work.

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2019/040: Regarding the authority's refusal to amend a compliance schedule to remove a mezzanine floor from the schedule for an early childhood centre

This determination considers the authority’s refusal to amend a compliance schedule to remove the fire-rated mezzanine floor from the schedule for an early childhood centre.

The matter turns on whether the fire-rated floor is a “fire separation” as that term is used in relation to specified systems.

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2019/004: Decisions to refuse to issue a code compliance certificate and to issue a notice to fix in respect of a solid fuel heater

Note: This determination is subject to clarification


This determination concerns an as-installed solid fuel heater installed without the clearance behind it that was described in the manufacturer’s installation instructions.  The determination considers the compliance of heater and a notice to fix issued in respect of this work.

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2018/064: Regarding whether the fire safety design of a proposed 185m high mixed-use tower building complies with Clauses C1-C6 by means of C/VM2

This determination considers the fire safety design of a proposed tall building and whether compliance with Clauses C1-C6 has been established by means of Verification Method C/VM2.  The determination discusses the scope of the Verification Method, how compliance is established by way of the Verification Method, and the compliance of the proposed design – in particular the lack of isolated interconnection between the lobby containing the designated fire fighters lift and the stair that is the means of egress and which firefighters use to access the floor of fire origin.

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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: