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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2016/048: Section 112 requirements to remediate the fire separation between units in an apartment complex, and compliance of the proposed solution

This determination concerns construction defects that were exposed during building work undertaken to remediate weathertightness issues. The determination considers the code-compliance of the use of intumescent sealant without plasterboard patches for penetrations in intertenancy walls, and discusses the application of section 112 of the Act in respect of the defects in existing construction including those not exposed as part of the proposed building work.

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2016/022: Authority's proposed exercise of its powers to refuse to grant a certificate under section 224(f) of the RMA for a unit title development

This determination considers the requirements under section 116A with respect to fire rating of an inter-tenancy wall. The determination discusses the relationship between the Building Act, the Resource Management Act and the Unit Titles Act in respect of unit title developments and subdivision.

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2015/077: Regarding the authority's exercise of its powers of decision in requiring notice of a change of use

This determination involves two adjoining household units. The determination discusses whether the Building Code obligations relating to fire separation apply given the age of construction and whether there has been a change of use.

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2015/074:Regarding the installation of a lift without building consent, and a request to remove the compliance schedule ...

Regarding the installation of a lift without building consent, and a request to remove the compliance schedule, for a multi-unit residential building.

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2015/066: Regarding the authority's refusal to issue a building consent for an extension to an anluminium factory building in respect of Clause C3.8

This determination discusses the application of sections 17 and 112 in respect of an alteration to an existing building that has the effect of creating a larger firecell, and the Building Code obligations that are triggered by the increase in size. Also discussed is the fire service intervention time.

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2015/058: Regarding the refusal to issue a building consent for a proposed apartment block with a single means of escape in a retirement complex

This determination discusses the compliance of a proposed block of apartments in a retirement village with respect to the limit provided for the numbers of people with disabilities likely to be present on any given floor when using the Acceptable Solution C/AS2. The determination sets out a method of calculating the numbers of people with disabilities for a known population by age.

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2015/028: Refusal to grant building consent and whether proposed alterations to an existing building comply with the Building Code

Considered the application of sections 17 and 112 of the Act, and the compliance of the proposed fire alarm system. Discussed compliance of the building as a whole after the alterations ‘as nearly as is reasonably practicable’ with respect to means of escape, and how the approach involves the balancing of sacrifices and difficulties of upgrading against the advantages of upgrading. Discussed use of MBIE guidance and “gap assessment”.

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2015/022: Authority's refusal to grant a modification of clause 3.4a of the Building Code in respect of materials used for internal surface linings

Discussed as title and whether a comparison to the wharenui (marae buildings) exemption is appropriate. Also provides a general framework for modifications or waivers under section 67 of the Act, and methodology for deciding whether it is “reasonable” to grant a modification, for example, by reviewing the extent and possible consequence of the non-compliance with a specific performance clause, or reviewing for consistency with the purpose and principles of the Building Act.

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2015/014: Regarding the issue of a dangerous building notice for a house

Discussed whether a multi-unit dwelling had adequate fire safety features for the three residential units in the same dwelling, and whether the building was dangerous under section 121 (1)(b) of the Act. Discussed “occupancy” and whether a “change of use” had occurred. Also considered whether the building complied with the Building Code and the threshold at which at a building may be considered “dangerous” when it does not comply.

An appeal was lodged against this determination.

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2015/013: Regarding a dispute about which fire risk group should be used in determining compliance of proposed accommodation at a holiday park

The dispute turned on which Acceptable Solution (C/AS1 or C/AS2) applied to the proposed building work, depending on whether it fell within Risk Group SH or SM. Discussed the relationship between Uses as defined in the Regulations, Risk Groups in the Acceptable Solutions and Classified Uses in the Act. Also discussed “intended use”, and the Risk Groups in relation to household units located above car parks.

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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: