What is a Building Warrant of Fitness?
A Building Warrant of Fitness (BWOF) is a statement signed by the building owner (or owners agent), stating that the requirements of the building's compliance schedule have been fully complied with in the previous 12 months.
It makes sure that the specified systems in your building are maintained, inspected and reported on. This is important not only because it is required by the compliance schedule issued by Council but because it gives occupants, customers and visitors to your building confidence about the building's safety systems.
A current copy of the Building Warrant of Fitness (Form 12) must be displayed publicly in the building, and another copy must be sent to Council each year on the anniversary date for the Building Warrant of Fitness.
The Building Warrant of Fitness must be renewed by the building owner annually on the anniversary date. Once satisfied that the specified systems have been maintained as per the Compliance Schedule, the independent qualified person (IQP) supplies an annual certificate (Form 12a) for the system to the building owner. These must be attached to the Building Warrant of Fitness.
What is a Compliance Schedule?
A Compliance Schedule is issued by the Building Consent Authority listing the specified systems within a building (e.g. sprinkler systems, lifts, smoke detectors). These systems ensure a building is safe and healthy for people to enter, occupy or use. The Compliance Schedule for a building must identify which specified systems are present, the performance standards for those systems, and who is required to inspect, maintain, and report that those systems continue to function as installed.
For new buildings, a Compliance Schedule is issued with the Code Compliance Certificate. Where a Compliance Schedule has been issued for the first time, a Compliance Schedule statement is issued by Council. This is a temporary public notification of compliance with the Compliance Schedule requirements and is replaced after 12 months by the Building Warrant of Fitness.
The owner must display this document in a public area within the building. After receiving a Compliance Schedule statement, owners must engage an IQP as soon as possible (typically within one month) to ensure that all inspection, maintenance and reporting is completed for the next 12 months.
What is a Specified System?
Specified systems are systems or features installed in a building that are crucial to the safety and health of the building and those who use it, or systems which, if they are not maintained, could cause injury or harm. When you apply for a building consent, you must include a list of all specified systems in the building project.When is a Building Warrant of Fitness required?
If your building contains any of the following specified systems, you must have a Building Warrant of Fitness:
Renewing a Building Warrant of Fitness
- Automatic systems for fire suppression (for example sprinkler system)
- Automatic or manual emergency warning systems for fire or other dangers (other than a warning system for fire that is entirely within a household unit and serves only that unit)
- Electromagnetic or automatic doors or windows (for example ones that close on fire alarm activation)
- Emergency lighting systems
- Escape routes pressurisation systems
- Riser mains for fire service use
- Any automatic backflow preventers connected to a potable water supply
- Lifts, escalators, travelators or other systems for moving people or goods within buildings. Note: this includes cable cars attached to a private dwelling
- Mechanical ventilation or air conditioning systems
- Building maintenance units providing access to exterior and interior walls of buildings
- Laboratory fume cupboards
- Audio loops or other assistive listening systems
- Smoke control systems
- Emergency power systems for, or signs relating to, a system or feature specified in any of clauses 1-13
- Cable car
- Any or all of the following systems or features, so long as they form part of a building's means of escape from fire, and so long as those means also contain any or all of the systems or features specified in clauses 1 to 6, 9 and 13
- Systems for communicating spoken information intended to facilitate evacuation.
- Final exits (as defined by clause A2 of the building code)
- Fire separations (as so defined)
- Signs for communicating information intended to facilitate evacuation
- Smoke separations (as so defined).
A month before a Building Warrant of Fitness is due to expire; we will send you (as the building owner) a reminder letter. The reminder letter includes information on completing MBIE's Form 12 building warrant of fitness. The owner must sign two copies of the Building Warrant of Fitness form. One copy must be displayed in the building, and the other must be sent to Council, with all required form 12A certificates.
Amending a Compliance Schedule
You will need to apply for an amendment to the existing Compliance Schedule if you want to:
- Update owner details.
- Amend the inspection, maintenance or reporting procedures.
- Advise of any specified system not included on the compliance schedule for the building.
Who is an Independently Qualified Person (IQP)?
An IQP is a person approved by a territorial authority as qualified to inspect, maintain and report on certain specified systems. 'Independent' means that the person has no financial interest in the building.
Council does not perform Building Warrant of Fitness inspections or certification for building owners, although we carry out inspections for auditing purposes. The role of an IQP is to inspect, report on, and maintain the specified systems as detailed on the Compliance Schedule.
You are required by law to have annual written reports relating to the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures of the Compliance Schedule signed by each person who has carried out those procedures. Keep the reports with the Compliance Schedule for two years and make sure they are accessible when inspections are carried out.
The register for IQP's in our District is held by Hamilton City Council and can be searched at www.hamilton.govt.nz.
Please see the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment website at www.business.govt.nz for more information.