If you are the manager or owner of a New Zealand building, then you are legally obligated to provide evidence that the building meets the health and safety requirements set out in The Building Act 2004 and the associated regulations of that Act.
Part of the process is that building owners have to hold a current Building Warrant of Fitness (BWoF) if there are any safety systems installed in the building.
These systems, also called “Specified Systems” are the parts of the building infrastructure that, should they fail to fulfil their purpose, would potentially endanger the health, safety, and lives of occupants within the building. Prime examples of these specified systems are sprinkler systems, lifts and escalators, and smoke alarms. The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment maintain a full list of Specified Systems as defined by the Building Warrant of Fitness on their website.
These specified systems will, of course, require regular maintenance, inspections, and testing to ensure that they are working at the optimum level. That is the purpose of the BWoF; to ensure that these systems are adequately looked after, repaired, and – if necessary – replaced across the lifespan of a building.
The Building Act 2004
Every bit of building work across New Zealand, from construction and demolition to renovation, is covered by the Building Act and the regulations of the Act. This includes the New Zealand Building Code. A local council will administer the requirements of the Act on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The New Zealand Building Act ensures that buildings are kept to a nationwide standard in order to meet the health and safety requirements of the future occupants of the building. The Building Code offers regulations that focus on building durability, sanitation services and facilities, fire safety, energy efficiency, moisture control, and building accessibility.
Building WoF Owner Obligations
The Building Act 2004 lays out the rules and regulations for buildings with Specified Systems. This includes information about the Building Warrant of Fitness, which calls on building owners to;
- Hold a current copy of their Compliance Schedule somewhere in the building
- Prepare BWoF documents every 12 months for renewal
- Ensure that the inspection, maintenance, and reporting schedule of the Specified Systems as set out in the Compliance Schedule is adhered to
- Engage the appropriate Independent Qualified Persons for the inspections, maintenance, repairs, and reporting procedures as laid out in the Compliance Schedule.
- Ensure that these Independent Qualified Persons prepare and provide a Form 12A certificate as proof that the inspection, maintenance, and reporting procedures have been appropriately followed.
- Keep records of building inspections, maintenance, and repairs from the past 24 months.
- Display the Building Warrant of Fitness in a public part of the building
- Ensure that the Compliance Schedule and any related documents are available for an authorised person to inspect as needed
- Obtain professional engineering advice and then act upon that advice in the event of an earthquake if there are concerns over the building safety
- Provide a copy of the renewed Building Warrant of Fitness to the local council every 12 months, along with any supporting documentation
The local council regularly review Compliance Schedules, Building Warrant of Fitness certificates, and Form 12As in order to ensure that the building is in line with the regulations of the Building Act. Copies of these documents and their related paperwork are held by the council for the lifespan of the building.
If you need any help with Building Compliance or with a Building Warrant of Fitness, then get in touch with our experts and specialists.