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Building warrants of fitness (BWoFs)

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

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

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)/Licensed Building Practitioners (LBP), including any recommendations made by the IQP/LBP
  • 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/LBP and where necessary make any changes to the compliance schedule after giving the owner an opportunity to provide comments
  • 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.

Location in Building Act 1991 Location in Building Act 2004 Description
Part V - Use of buildings
Section 45

Part 2 - Building
Subpart 3 - Building work
Section 108-111

Part V - section 45 of the Building Act 1991, Building Warrants of Fitness, is equivalent to Part 2, Subpart 5, sections 108-111of the Building Act 2004

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.

A BWoF must be supplied on Form 12 of the Building (Forms) Regulations 2004. It must include generic information as well as the following.

  • The location of the particular building.
  • Current lawfully established use, including number of occupants per level and per use (if more than one).
  • The owner of the building.
  • Original date the building was constructed.
  • The highest fire risk category for building use.
  • Certificates relating to inspections, maintenance and reporting.

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 or LBP 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.

IQPs/LBPs

Building owners will be required to continue to engage IQPs or LBPs to undertake the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures listed on the compliance schedule.

Certificate of compliance (Form 12A)

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

Role of the territorial authority

Document review

The territorial authority should review the IQP/LBP documents provided with a BWoF. Where any recommendations have been made by an IQP/LBP, the territorial authority must determine whether the compliance schedule needs to be amended, based on those recommendations.

Inspections

The Act provides for the territorial authority to proactively check a building to ensure a BWoF is correct, and that IQP/LBP reports are correct. The territorial authority can now charge for this inspection. A territorial authority may authorise an agent to undertake this inspection work.

Procedures

A territorial authority should have procedures in place for:

  • checking BWoF documentation provided
  • considering recommendations made by the IQP/LBP
  • inspecting buildings that have BWoFs.

If the owner requests a change to the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures of the compliance schedule, the territorial authority must consider the effect of the proposed change on the compliance of the system. Prior to the compliance schedule anniversary, many territorial authorities notify building owners that their BWoF is due. This is good practice.

Recommendations

A territorial authority may adopt a policy to proactively review a percentage of buildings with BWoFs per year. The policy may identify buildings that either have had no building work done for an extended period of time or where the BWoF and compliance schedule have not been reviewed for an extended period. A BWoF should be audited during investigations of dangerous buildings. When renewing BWoFs, a check should be made to determine whether there are any building consents issued to the property that do not have code compliance certificates. If any building consents are outstanding, this is a good time to raise the issue with the owner