Licensing criteria for centre-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines an early childhood education and care centre as a premises that is used regularly for the education or care of 3 or more children (not being children of the persons providing the education or care or children enrolled at a school who are being provided with education or care before or after school) under the age of 6 years by day (or part of a day) but not for any continuous period of more than 7 days.

Centre-based ECE services have a variety of different operating structures, philosophies and affiliations, and are known by many different names – for example, Playcentres, early learning centres, Montessori, childcare centres, Kindergartens, crèches, preschools, a’oga amata, Rudolf Steiner etc.

These centres are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the centres meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

For each criterion there is guidance to help centres meet the required standards.

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.8 MB] and printed. 

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022. 


PF3 Building Act compliance

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 3

      The premises conform to any relevant bylaws of the local authority and the Building Act 2004.

      Documentation required:

      1. Code Compliance Certificate issued under Section 95 of the Building Act 2004 for any building work undertaken, or alternatively, any other documentation that shows evidence of compliance.
      2. If the premises fall under section 100 of the Building Act 2004, or section 108 of the Building Act 2004 applies:
        • a copy of the current Annual Building Warrant of Fitness; or
        • a copy of the compliance schedule if 12 months have not elapsed since the compliance schedule was first issued.

      To ensure the premises are compliant with the Building Act and maintained in good condition.

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      The building consent process is administered by the local councils, as are council by-laws that might impact on the centre. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has information regarding Early childhood education centres and Building Code compliance(external link).

      Before you undertake any building work at the centre (including the building of fences or outdoor play structures), the local council should be contacted to see if building consent is required.

      Local councils website(external link)

      The Code Compliance Certificate may include an occupancy load. This is the number of people who can be in the building at any one time and includes adults and children.

      Building warrants of fitness and compliance schedules are required under the Building Act only when buildings contain an escalator, lift, cable car, automatic doors, or particular kind of fire alarm – they provide evidence that these mechanical systems are maintained in good working order.