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 maintains 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;
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.
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 interested 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.
The Building Act 2004 – which covers the safety and integrity of buildings – states that building owners with buildings that contain “specified systems” related to health and safety, then those buildings must maintain a Compliance Schedule and they must produce Building Warrant of Fitness documents annually. These documents verify that those specified systems have been adequately maintained and looked after.
The Building Warrant of Fitness (BWoF) documents that the systems specified in the Compliance Schedule have all been properly inspected maintained, and reported on during the past 12 months. The BWoF and any supporting documents are supplied to the local council annually, and a copy of them should be displayed within the building itself where everyone can see it.
The Building Warrant of Fitness should be renewed each year before it expires. Failing to have the documents renewed is considered a breach of the Building Act 2004 and you will face consequences. This renewal process involves hiring Independent Qualified Persons (IQPs) who will inspect and maintain specified systems as outlined in the Compliance Schedule.
What are Specified Systems?
The “specified systems” are the parts of a building infrastructure that are fundamental in ensuring the health and safety of the occupants of said building. These specified systems require, by their very nature, constant maintenance. It is important that they remain fully operational and running at peak performance levels.
Here are some examples of specified systems;
A full list of specified systems can be found in the Compliance Schedule Handbook.
What is a Compliance Schedule?
The Compliance Schedule is issued by the local council. The schedule contains a record of the specified systems of a building, including the inspection, testing, and maintenance they require. It also covers who should carry out the work and when it should be conducted. They have been amended to include information about the building, the owner, and the purpose of the building in recent years.
The information on the schedule is collected when applying for building consent. You will have to supply the specific location and proposed maintenance and testing procedures for the building. Upon confirmation, the Compliance Schedule is issued alongside the Code of Compliance Certificate.
The Compliance Schedule Statement is to be displayed publicly in a building for the 12 months before an official Building WOF is issued, at which point the WOF is displayed instead.
What is an IQP?
Given the complex mechanical nature of these specified systems, they should be inspected and maintained by qualified professional specialists. An IQP is a person or entity that has no financial interested in the building who has been approved by the local council to conduct the work as necessary.
The requirements for the BWoF state that you need to obtain a 12A certificate from the IQP. This 12A form certifies that the inspection, maintenance, and reporting requirements for the Compliance Schedule have been met for the past 12 month period for the specified systems in a building.
You can find an IQP register at your local council. They keep a list of all the approved people and companies that you can use as an IQP for your specified systems.
Did you know that you are legally required to keep records of all maintenance, inspections and repairs for a minimum of two years? If you need any help managing building compliance requirements, meeting your legal obligations, and notifying the local council about the maintenance of your specified systems, then don’t hesitate to get in touch today.
Building Warrant of Fitness
As a commercial property owner, ensuring that your tenants live in a safe environment should be your top priority. All systems in the building should be in good working condition. However, it is a sad fact that some property owners neglect this responsibility, putting the lives of those that use their buildings in danger. To avert such scenarios, every commercial property owner is required to have a building warranty of fitness.
Understanding the building warrant of fitness
A building warrant of fitness is a legal document that’s issued by building owners to certify that all the specified systems in the building are functioning correctly. The building warrant of fitness to be issued annually and displayed in places where the public can easily access it. This certificate is only issued after an independent qualified person inspects, carries out maintenance and compiles a report showing the condition of the specified systems in the building.
It is important to note that some independent qualified persons only specialize in certain systems. Therefore, ensure that you work with one that’s experienced enough on the systems in your building. Your IQP will issue you with a form 12A that has to be presented with the building warrant of fitness to the local authority in charge of building compliance.
Finding Independent qualified personnel to work with is a very important step in the generation of a building warrant of fitness. The first step in finding the best IQP to help audit the specified systems in your building is to Consult Building Compliance Inspections. We are in a position to provide you with the list of all registered IQPs. You can go through the list to find an independent qualified person that’s best suited to inspect your building. If an IQP is not registered with this council, do not work with them.
Why is it important to work with a local IQP?
For your building compliance needs, it is advisable to work with a local IQP and here’s why:
i. It is cheaper
By working with a building compliance expert that’s from your region, they don’t add transportation cost to their fee, which makes it cost-effective to work with them.
ii. Good local knowledge
If there’s someone that can give you the best building compliance services, it is one that understands your locality well enough. A local IQP understands the compliance laws of your locality, and the geography of the area, which is an important factor when accessing the building.
iii. They are well networked with local contractors
In some cases, during the inspection, your IQP may find areas that need to be repaired. With a local IQP, you won’t have to worry about getting a contractor to repair. This is because most of them are well networked with contractors from your region, and they can easily contact them to come and help with the work. Remember, a local contractor also has a better understanding of the code that governs how repair and maintenance are done on buildings within your locality.
Article From https://buildingcompliance.blogspot.com/2019/12/building-warrant-of-fitness-in-nz.html