Building warrants of fitness

The Building Warrant of Fitness (BWoF) provisions of the Building Act 2004 came into force on 31 March 2005.

A BWoF is a statement supplied by a building owner, confirming that the systems specified in the compliance schedule for their building have been inspected, maintained and checked in accordance with the compliance schedule for the previous 12 months, and that they will continue to perform as required.

An owner must also provide the territorial authority with copies of Form 12A, which is issued by an IQP and certifies that the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures stated in the compliance schedule have been complied with over the last 12 months. The territorial authority will keep these forms on record for the life of the building. It will consider any recommendations made on inspection and, where necessary, make any changes to the compliance schedule after giving the owner an opportunity to provide comments.

The requirements in the Building Act 2004 for BWoFs are similar to those of the Building Act 1991.

Important changes include that:

  • an owner must provide to the territorial authority, with their BWoF, copies of Form 12A certificates from Independent Qualified Persons (IQPs), including any recommendations made by the IQP
  • the territorial authority must retain copies of the Form 12A certificates
  • the territorial authority must consider any recommendation to amend a compliance schedule made by an IQP and where necessary make any changes to the compliance schedule after giving the owner an opportunity to provide comments
  • after 31 March 2008, all buildings serviced by, or attached to, cable cars will require a BWoF
  • a territorial authority can now charge a fee for undertaking a BWoF inspection.

Once a compliance schedule is issued, the territorial authority undertakes all subsequent functions associated with a BWoF. Unless a new building consent is sought from a building consent authority that is not a territorial authority, only the territorial authority can alter a compliance schedule associated with a BWoF.

Supplying a building warrant of fitness

A building owner must supply a BWoF to the territorial authority on each anniversary of issuing the compliance schedule.

The territorial authority keeps the original copy of the form, and a duplicate copy must be displayed on the premises in a public place. The owner must update the building warrant of fitness every 12 months. The owner needs to keep records of inspection, maintenance and reports for the previous 2 years.

A BWoF must be supplied on Form 12 of the Building (Forms) Regulations 2004.

The Building Act 2004 requires that:

  • the BWoF must state that the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures of the compliance schedule have been fully complied with for the previous 12 months
  • a copy of each certificate issued by the IQP for each of the specified systems, along with any recommendations for amending the compliance schedule, must be attached to the BWoF provided to the territorial authority
  • the owner must use the prescribed BWoF form in the Building (Forms) Regulations 2004, providing all the information and attachments required in that form.

Independent qualified persons (IQPs)

Specified systems need annual inspection by an independent qualified persons (IQP).

An IQP is a person (or firm) approved by the South Island IQP register as qualified to inspect certain compliance schedule items and ensure that the necessary maintenance occurs. ‘Independent’ means that the person has no financial interest in the building.

Timaru District Council maintains the South Island register of Independent Qualified Persons, visit their website for the full register.

Certificate of compliance (Form 12A)

IQPs provide building owners with a certificate verifying the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures for each specified system have been fully complied with. IQPs will issue the certificates on Form 12A of the Building (Forms) Amendment Regulations 2005 (certificate of compliance with inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures).

Employees of the building owner

The owner will engage specialists for building work. Such specialists could be for example engineers, builders, plumbers, electricians and independent qualified persons. For compliance schedule procedures, typical specialists can be building maintenance companies, lift engineers and electricians who are appropriately qualified.

The owner can choose who to employ to do the work or give advice. If, however, the Act is breached, the owner is likely to be fully liable, but any agents or specialists working for the owner do not necessarily escape liability.

Audits by Territorial Authority

The Act provides for the territorial authority to proactively check a building to ensure a BWoF is correct, and that IQP reports are correct. The territorial authority now charges for this inspection.

Offences and infringement

The following are offences under the Building Act 2004, and may result in an infringement fee:

  • Failing to supply the territorial authority with a building warrant of fitness (section 108(5)(aa) of the Building Act 2004)
  • Failing to display a building warrant of fitness required to be displayed (section 108(5)(a) of the Building Act 2004)
  • Displaying a false or misleading building warrant of fitness (section 108(5)(b) of the Building Act 2004)
  • Displaying a building warrant of fitness other than in accordance with section 108 (section 108(5)(c) of the Building Act 2004)