When altering an existing building the New Zealand Building Act requires that the Building Consent Authority is satisfied that, after the alteration, the building will comply as nearly as is reasonably practicable with the provisions of the building code that relate to the following:
- Means of escape from Fire.
- Access and facilities for persons with disabilities.
All other provisions of the building code only need to comply to the same extent as before the alteration.
We specialise in both means of escape from fire and access & facilities for persons with disabilities. Means of escape from fire is handled by our fire engineering team refer Fire Engineering
Accessibility issues are complex particularly with existing buildings and compliance will be required to obtain a building consent. Increasingly now we are seeing the use of “Accessibility Reports” accompanying architectural documentation as part of the package submitted for building consent in the same way a Fire Design Report is attached.
The use of such reports provide three key benefits;
- They allow a specialist to focus on the accessibility requirements enabling the architect or designer to focus on key design matters rather than compliance elements such as accessibility. The extent of detail required around accessibility in buildings continues to change and it is beneficial to have individuals regularly working in this field to stay abreast of these changes.
- The Building Consent Authority can review compliance with greater surety and speed during the application review process.
- As this is a legal requirement under the Building Act and also has elements that relate to Health and Safety, by having a third party engaged to complete an accessibility report there is shared responsibility in relation to this aspect of the Building Act.
Typically an “Accessibility Report” will cover matters such as: – door widths, surface finishes, toilet layout & numbers, lifts, handrails, car parking and signage.
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