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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2023/040: An authority’s decision to refuse a waiver or modification for two isolated steps

This determination considers an authority's decision to refuse to grant, by way of building consent, a waiver or modification of Building Code clause D1.3.3(i) to authorise construction of two isolated steps in a retail unit.

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2019/051: Regarding provision of access and facilities for people with disabilities to an existing house being used to accommodate seasonal workers

This determination considers an authority's refusal to consent to a change of use for an existing building intended to be used as seasonal worker accommodation, on the basis that the building does not make reasonable and adequate provision for access and facilities for people with disabilities. The determination considers the authority's reasons for the refusal and the interrelationship between the change of use provisions and the requirement to provide access and facilities for persons with disabilities to and within buildings.


Note: The decision of this Determination was upheld on appeal to the District Court. See: CIV-2019-070-001005 - Western BOP DC v Limmer & NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc.pdf

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2019/041: Regarding the provision of an accessible route to a cupola with an elevated viewing platform on a landscaped roof area

This determination considers whether a lift is required to an elevated viewing platform on a landscaped roof area of a building housing an arts centre in order to meet the requirements of the Building Act for reasonable and adequate access for people with disabilities.  The determination discusses the definition of “storey” for the purpose of Clause D1.3.4 of the Building Code and whether the cupola in which the viewing platform is housed is an “ancillary” building as defined in Clause A1 of the Building Code. 

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2018/042: Refusal to issue a code compliance certificate for a viewing platform

This determination considers the compliance of a viewing platform and associated parking with Clause D1 Access routes, and whether an access route to the platform for people with disabilities was needed. The determination also considers whether the gravel access track and car parking provide reasonable and adequate access in terms of Clauses D1 and B2 Durability.

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2018/036: Compliance of a new swimming pool complex, in relation to access for people with disabilities into the pools

This determination considers whether installation of a hoist will satisfy the provisions concerning access for people with disabilities to the pool.  The determination considers whether members of the public will be admitted to the pool and therefore whether section 118 applies, and whether a waiver or modification of Clause D1 can be granted.

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2018/032: Open risers in an existing building undergoing alterations

This determination considers the authority’s refusal to grant an amendment to a building consent for alterations.  The applicant seeks to remove the requirement to close risers to the single set of stairs providing access to the upper level.  The determination discusses the application of section 112(1)(a) in the circumstances, and the assessment of compliance with Clause D1 Access routes to the extent "as nearly as is reasonably practicable"

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2018/018: Decision to aggregate the floor areas of two buildings in a new development to determine Clause D1 Access requirements

This determination considers the access requirements for a new office building being constructed as part of a development that includes an adjacent hotel.  The determination discusses aggregation of floor areas for the purpose of establishing whether the requirement for a lift is triggered.

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2018/008: Accessible parking facilities for a proposed mixed-use building

This determination considers the compliance of a proposed building in respect of parking provisions for people with disabilities to access the commercial spaces on the ground floor. The building contains mechanical stacking car parks that have been designated for use by residents only.

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2018/007: Compliance of door thresholds to a proposed gymnasium in a school

This determination considers the compliance of door thresholds to a proposed gymnasium in a school where the threshold incorporates a change in level of 20mm between the external and internal surfaces.  The determination assesses the detail against the Acceptable Solutions D1/AS1, C/AS4 and E2/AS1 and discusses the terms “stepped threshold”, “weather stop” and “isolated step”.

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2017/084: Compliance of new building without a lift with regard to disability access

This determination considers whether a new two-storey building without a lift to the upper level bar/restaurant complies with Clause D1. The determination also discusses the relationship between the criteria in the Building Code and the New Zealand Standard NZS 4121: Design for Access and Mobility in relation to buildings requiring a lift.

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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: