What is a dangerous or insanitary building

A dangerous building might:

  • be older and/or poorly maintained
  • be currently used for something it wasn’t designed for
  • have suffered a structural failure or be in a state of disrepair that means it could collapse.

An insanitary building might not have:

  • sanitary facilities such as functioning toilets, washing and bathing facilities
  • a potable (drinkable) water supply
  • a hot water supply.

What happens

1. What we do

We check:

  • if there has been any unauthorised building work and/or change of use
  • the standard of maintenance of any specified systems
  • the state of repair of building structures and services
  • the safety level of the building.

And we make sure that:

  • people use buildings safely and without endangering their health
  • people can escape from a building in an emergency
  • buildings are unlikely to cause injury or death to persons on other property, or damage to other property.

If there’s a problem with a building, our compliance team will work with the building owner to find a way to get the building back to a safe, healthy state.

2. What you do

If you are a building owner, you:

  • are legally responsible for ensuring the maintenance and compliance of your building
  • should employ a building surveyor if you think your building may be dangerous or insanitary
  • should take immediate steps to make sure your building, and any occupants, are safe if you discover the building is dangerous or insanitary.

Interested buyers and renters can:

  • ask an expert to check the building you want to buy or rent
  • look for the building’s warrant of fitness certificate (BWoF) in the foyer or entrance and check this is up to date.

For more information or if you think a building might be dangerous or insanitary, contact us.

Email: building.unit@hcc.govt.nz
Phone: 07 8386677 

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Last updated 9 October 2023