Today the Policy Committee adopted an updated Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy reflecting changes to the Building Act.
The Building Act 2004 requires local councils to have a policy to manage buildings that could be dangerous or insanitary for their occupants, neighbours or passers-by. Buildings are any structure intended for occupation, so this includes houses as well as commercial and industrial buildings. Tauranga City Council requested public feedback on a draft reviewed policy in 2019 and received four submissions.
The content of the policy is largely dictated by the Building Act, and most of the changes to the previous policy are to reflect changes to that act. Some other changes are to make the policy more transparent about how council identifies and manages dangerous and insanitary buildings.
The Building Act sets the threshold to classify a building as dangerous or insanitary. There are no buildings identified as dangerous in Tauranga at the moment.
The new policy will take effect from 18 February 2020 and replace Council’s previous Earthquake-prone, Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy.
Overview of changes to the previous policy
- removing any reference to earthquake-prone buildings, as this is now covered under the Building Act 2004
- including ‘affected buildings’ in the policy. These are buildings that pose a risk to building users and passers-by because of their proximity to a dangerous building (a new requirement of the Building Act)
- clarifying that council uses external sources/complaints to find out about potentially unsafe buildings (as opposed to inspecting each building in the city on a regular basis – considered an inefficient use of resources)
- stating that council gives consideration to any special, traditional or cultural aspects of heritage buildings if they are assessed as dangerous or insanitary
- spelling out the priority council will give in dealing with dangerous and insanitary buildings: those posing urgent risk to life, health or property first.