Building Warrant of Fitness

What is a building warrant of fitness? A BWOF is an annual certificate proving that any specified systems within your building have been inspected and maintained, while also showing that all the requirements and procedures of the progress schedule have been met.

It is something that every builder owner must go through the process of acquiring every year - as construction and building safety standards change over time, so too does a building’s compliance with these regulations.

To prevent your building from being left behind and therefore causing you potential legal trouble, it is imperative that you schedule your yearly warrant before your compliance from the year previous is rendered invalid.


Building Warrant Of Fitness Following the issue of the compliance schedule, the territorial authority (i.e. whoever’s jurisdiction your building falls under) then undertakes all the subsequent functions associated with a building’s WoF. The Building Act 2004 outlines these functions, the most important of which are:

  • The owner of the building must undertake the provision of copies of their Form 12A certifications to the relevant territorial authority, ensuring that these forms are issued by the relevant IQPs and are inclusive of recommendations and suggestions made
  • The authority of whose jurisdiction the territory your building occupies falls under must consider any and all recommendations made with regard to the amendment of compliance schedules made by any and all IQPs - furthermore, if these recommendations and suggestions necessitate certain changes be made, that the authority amend the relevant compliance schedule accordingly, subsequent to the owner of the building offering comments on whatever recommendations, suggestions, or ideas concerned with any other forms of amendment, have been made

For a comprehensive list of building owner obligations, visit the NZ government’s building obligations page.

When must I supply a Building Warrant of Fitness?

BWOF Aside from the compulsory annual inspection and certification, there are times where you, as a building owner, may be required to supply a building’s warrant when:

  • Your building is being renovated, fully or in part
  • Your building is vacant, or has vacant tenancies within
  • Specified systems are decommissioned
  • You have taken out a building consent of some kind

Displaying your BWoF

To let all who enter into your building/s know that they are safe, your warrant must be signed and displayed publicly in an easily viewable location. This lets them know that all specified systems are functional, operating effectively, and therefore safe for people to be around without any risks to their health & safety.

Failure to display your warrant, or displaying a fraudulent copy, can result in fines of up to $20,000. Letting your warrant expire may result in prosecution. As any rational being can see, it is definitely worth attaining your warrant in a timely fashion to avoid unnecessary complications such as the aforementioned fines and/or prosecution.

Aside from the legal complications that may ensue from not displaying your warrant clearly, you achieve a peace of mind in knowing that your tenants, employees, visitors and guests are knowledgeable of their safety within and around your building.

BWoF Inspections and on-site council audits

Enforcing the Building Act 2004 and the accompanying warrants are the Local Council. Buildings are selected at random, and inspections and audits are carried out. On top of being randomly selected, your building may be audited if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • It has been at least, up to and including the time period of, five years since your building has last been audited
  • You have a known reputation for late supplication of past BWoFs, or your current one is overdue for renewal
  • The work-state of your building (the state of work either being carried out or not carried out upon your building) has stagnated, i.e. there has been no work done on your building for what the council deems is “an extended period of time”
  • Your building’s warrant and its accompanying compliance schedule have not been reviewed for what the council deems is “an extended period of time”
  • Your building, through anonymous tips, historical incidents, or other forms of evidence and/or whistleblowing, is being investigated as a dangerous building

While these are the most common reasons for buildings being audited, this list is neither extensive nor exhaustive - it is far better not to leave things to chance, and visit us at Compliance Consultants to receive expert advice regarding the state of your building and its current status with regard to compliance.

Our trained building inspectors undertake a range of BWoF inspections to ensure that your Building Warrant of Fitness is completed. They will let you know exactly where, if anywhere, you failed to attain compliance, and they will explain in detail how you can meet the criteria, before the threats of fines and prosecution begin to loom overhead.

Requirements relating to territorial authorities

Every building owner must supply a BWoF to the relevant territorial authority on the anniversary of the issuing of their building compliance schedule. The territorial authority has certain responsibilities that they must carry out. These are too detailed and numerous to print here, so let it suffice to say that the relevant territorial authorities certainly have their hands full. For a full list of their ordained responsibilities, please look on the New Zealand government’s website.

Your relevant territorial authorities should have planned procedures designed to:

  • Check the BWoF documentation that you have provided to them
  • Carrying out the inspection itself
  • Considering the potential suggestions of any IQPs
  • Reminding you, the building owner, of any warrants that may be due, or will be due soon, as well as organizing any follow-up inspections of your building, should the initial one fail

Achieve total compliance with us today!

To complete your BWoF, get in touch with us today! Showing you how to avoid fines and imprisonment while making your visitors, tenants or guests feel completely safe and at home is our mission statement here at Compliance Consultants. Reachable during business hours on 0800 325 435, or by email at, we are here to help prevent you from experiencing the disastrous consequences that come with failing an inspection or audit, and to assist in assuring your buildings compliance for future years.