A certificate for public use is issued by the Council where it is satisfied the premises are safe for members of the public to use, before a code compliance certificate is issued. It specifically applies to ongoing construction work.

You must have a certificate for public use if the public are to have access to all or parts of the building (either during construction or on completion) before a code compliance certificate is issued. Anyone who owns, occupies or controls premises intended for public use may apply for a certificate for public use.

The four basic principles of a certificate for public use requirement are:

  1. Premises are intended to be open to the public whether by charge or no charge.
  2. The public must be able to enter without passing by or through the building work.
  3. The building site and any tools or material must not be accessible to the public.
  4. The public must not be able to access any part of the premises where the structural integrity is compromised by the work, or where the public safety is jeopardised.

Matters to consider before applying

The Territorial Authority (Council) will undertake an assessment of a certificate for public use application to establish if the premises can be safely used by the public while affected by building work. The assessment may include but not limited to the following:

  • Adequate restrictions to areas affected by building work, either by the use of barriers and security, or including conditions that building work is taking place outside times when the premises are being occupied by members of the public.
  • Adequate barriers protecting changes of level within the premises being used.
  • Adequate operation of specified systems. This may include temporary modifications to some of the specified systems.
  • How the means of escape from fire is adequately maintained. This may include added signage for route changes and possible need for an updated evacuation plan.
  • How structural integrity is being adequately maintained. This may include temporary propping or bracing.
  • How fire and smoke separations are adequately maintained. This may include temporary measures to compensate for compromises created by the building work.
  • Adequate amenity within the premises. This may include sealing-off occupied areas from construction noise and dust, and maintaining adequate ventilation. It may also include provision of temporary sanitary facilities to ensure there are a sufficient number for the occupants.

Often the use of premises is staged where one part of the premises is opened up for public use, while construction work progresses and further parts of the premises become ready to be occupied. This would require a further certificate for public use application to include these areas. Other changes to circumstances to how the premises are affected by building work may require an amended certificate for public use application depending on the extent of the change. You may wish to disclose this information in your initial application.

Applying for a certificate for public use

To apply, complete an  Application for a certificate for public use [PDF, 98 KB] (Form 15 B-013) also available in Word [DOCX, 391 KB], then submit the application form, with supporting documents and the application fee.

An application can be submitted via the following methods:

Online: visit Online Services(external link). You will need to register to use Online Services. You can register at onlineservices.ccc.govt.nz.

Email: via CPUApplications@ccc.govt.nz

Post: (additional costs apply) post your application to us at Consenting & Compliance Group, PO Box 73013, Christchurch 8154

Drop off: (additional costs apply) deliver to Council office, 53 Hereford Street, Christchurch or any Council service desk

What you need to provide with your application

A completed application form shall be accompanied by:

  • Evidence of applicant’s status.
  • Plans and diagrams of the premises, which should include details and location of any barriers to restrict access to areas affected by building work.
  • Documentation relevant to the safety of the premises such as engineer’s report and certificates related to specified systems. 
  • Information on the status of all specified systems within the building including any temporary modifications to specified systems. 

Altogether the application must demonstrate how members of the public can use the premises safely.

How my application is processed

Statutory clock

The Council has to decide whether to issue the certificate within 20 working days after an application has been received.

Request for further information and the statutory clock

During processing of your application, the clock stops if we have to ask you for further information. Please respond quickly with accurate information. An onsite inspection to check for compliance will then be arranged between the applicant and a Council building inspection officer. Once compliance is confirmed, the inspection is passed and the clock will be started again.

Issuing a certificate for public use

The Council will issue a certificate for public use (Form 16) only if it is satisfied that members of the public can use the premises safely. The expiry date of a certificate for public use is at the Territorial Authority’s discretion. Certificates for public use do not relieve you, as owner of a building, from the obligation to apply for a code compliance certificate, after all the building work has been carried out.


Refer to the Building Consents Fee Schedule for further information.

Please note that where the cost to process a certificate for public use exceeds the scheduled fee then additional time will be charged at the relevant officer charge out rate.