Understanding Building Warrant of Fitness in NZ: What It Is and Why You Need It

As a building owner, you know there’s a lot you need to do to keep your building (and everyone and everything in it) safe and secure. New Zealand buildings are strong structures, but they can become dangerous if they’re neglected or if their specified systems aren’t maintained. This is where your building warrant of fitness comes into play.

You might be confused if you’ve never heard of this before. What is it, and why do you need it?

building warrant of fitness

Keep reading to understand why this crucial document is necessary for building owners in New Zealand.

So, What’s A BWoF?

This document, which is often shortened to ‘BWoF,’ is a document that states a building owner has complied with all inspection and maintenance requirements for their building and all the specified systems in it for the past year.

Basically, your BWoF states that your building has been well-maintained. It’s proof that you’ve done your part as a responsible building owner to keep your structure safe.

You should know that not every single building needs a building warrant of fitness; only buildings with compliance schedules and specified systems require BWoFs.

Specified systems are systems in the building such as fire and smoke control systems (like sprinklers and fire separations), automatic doors and windows, lifts and escalators, emergency lighting systems and more.

Additionally, compliance schedules are documents that list all the specified systems in a building and their maintenance requirements. You’ll need to follow these requirements to keep your specified systems running smoothly and safely.

A BWoF will show that you’ve met the conditions of your compliance schedule and that your building’s specified systems are safe to use.

So, most commercial buildings need BWoFs, and homes that have cable cars also need BWoFs.

Why Do I Need A BWoF?

After learning more about them, you can probably tell why you’ll need a BWoF for your building if your structure has specified systems.

These documents are important because:

It Ensures Safety. No one wants to visit, work in or live in a building that’s potentially dangerous. Specified systems like lifts and smoke-detecting sensors can cause serious issues if they malfunction. By displaying a valid building warrant of fitness, you’re proving that your structure is safe.

Of course, accidents can still happen, but maintaining your building significantly reduces the chances of preventable disasters. You should also think about fire safety measures if you really want to keep everyone and everything safe.

It’s Legally Required. Aside from the very important duty of keeping your building and everyone and everything in it safe, you’re also legally required to display a valid BWoF if your New Zealand building has a compliance schedule.

Failing to update your BWoF or displaying a falsified one can result in penalties like serious fines for each day a valid building warrant of fitness is not displayed.

How Do I Get My BWoF?

It’s crucial that all NZ building owners understand how to get their BWoF. Luckily, the process is rather straightforward, and all you really need to do in preparation is keep up with your compliance schedule, know what IQPs (independent qualified persons) to call and plan ahead to avoid going past your current BWoF’s expiration date.

Follow these steps to get an updated BWoF:

Step 1: Plan Ahead. As mentioned above, displaying an expired BWoF can result in fines. So, you’ll want to know your current document’s expiration date so you can apply for a new one before it expires. Planning ahead and applying for a new document before your old one expires will help you avoid nasty fines.

Additionally, you should also keep up with your compliance schedule.

Step 2: Hire An IQP For A Building Inspection. An IQP can inspect your building and ensure everything is maintained and well cared for.

Step 3: Get All Of The Documents You Need. Get the documents you need to apply for your new building warrant of fitness.

Step 4: Submit Your Application. Apply for a new BWoF by contacting the right people. Nowadays, you can easily do this online or by contacting Councils directly.

Step 5: Once You Have It, Display Your New Document In A Public Area. Your new BWoF needs to be prominently displayed in a public area of your building. It needs to be able to be seen and read clearly.

Where Can I Go For Help Regarding Building Compliance In New Zealand?

Your best source of building compliance help in New Zealand is us at Compliance Consultants. We help building owners make sure their structures comply with their compliance schedules and with New Zealand’s building regulations.

You can visit our website to learn even more building warrant of fitness details, why they’re important and how you can get yours.

Or, if you have any specific questions or would like to speak to us about our services, you can call us on 0800 325 435 to reach our team.

Trust us at Compliance Consultants to keep your building up to code.