The Building Warrant of Fitness serves a similar function to that of a vehicle warrant of fitness. It ensures the continued health and safety of building occupants. There are many parts of a building that can be damaged by regular wear and tear and could become a risk to occupants if left unchecked. These key aspects are vital to the continued safety of the building and the people therein and are often referred to as Specified Systems or Life Safety Systems.
Specified Systems include things like automatic fire suppression systems such as sprinklers, automatic and manual emergency warning systems for dangerous emergencies including fires, automatic doors and windows, escape route presentation systems, lighting systems, emergency power systems, lifts and escalators, and mechanical air conditioning and ventilation systems.
The main purpose of a Building Warrant of Fitness (BWoF) process is to ensure that these systems receive the regular inspection, maintenance, and testing they require. It outlines the instructions on how to perform these tasks in accordance with the legal requirements set out in the Building Act 2004.
Here’s a basic rundown of the entire Building Warrant of Fitness Process;
A Compliance Schedule is Issued to a Building Owner
The Local Building Consent Authority (Council) issues the Compliance Schedule alongside the Code of Compliance Certificate when the building work has been finished. This document includes details of the Specified Systems in the building that should be maintained, inspected, and reported about on a regular basis.
IQPs are Contacted and Engaged
For most cases, an Independent Qualified Person (IQP) is needed to perform the work as required. This is a person or company that has no financial interest in the building. They are all registered with – and approved by – the local council.
The Work is Performed as Expected
The building owner must then ensure that the schedule of inspection, maintenance, and reporting as listed in the Compliance Schedule is carried out at the necessary intervals.
Supporting Documentation is Received
An IQP is required to provide the council with a “Form 12A” that will prove the requirements listed in the Compliance Schedule are met as needed. Without this supporting document, it is impossible to generate and issue a Building Warrant of Fitness. Form 12A is also called a “Certificate of Compliance with Inspection, Maintenance, and Reporting Procedures” form.
Detailed Records are Kept as Needed
Detailed records of inspections, maintenance, and repairs are kept and must be kept for a period of at least two years. This includes records of work that was carried out, the date of the work, faults found, the solutions applied, and the name of the person who conducted the work.
A BWoF Certificate is Issued
Building owners must abide by the requirements of the BWoF. They must also apply for a new one every 12 months and sign and display each new certificate as it is issued. This ensures that the requirements of the Compliance Schedule have indeed been met and informs staff of what is expected of them. Failure to apply for new certificates and display them can result in penalties, including fines.
Documents are Sent to the Council
A copy of the Building Warrant of Fitness is sent to the local council along with any Form 12As the IQP has filled in and any recommended amendments to the Compliance Schedule. The council holds on to their own copies of the documents and will keep a record of all documents received throughout the lifetime of the building in question.
The Building Warrant of Fitness is the written proof of the fact that a building owner has met the legal requirements necessary to properly inspect, maintain, and report on the Specified Systems of their building as listed under the Compliance Schedule. If you need any help or advice about the Building Warrant of Fitness process or need help to meet the compliance requirements for your own building, then get in touch with our Building Compliance and BWoF Management experts today.