Building Compliance Obligations In New Zealand

Building ConstructionAs the owner or manager of a building in New Zealand you must be able to provide evidence of the building’s ability to meet the health and safety requirements of The Building Act 2004 and its associated regulations.  As part of this process the Act requires all building owners to hold a current Building Warrant of Fitness (BWoF) if their building has any life safety systems installed.

These life safety systems, referred to as “Specified Systems” are elements of the building’s infrastructure defined by the concern that if they were to fail in their purpose they have the potential to have a negative impact on health or life safety.  Examples include sprinkler systems, smoke alarms, lifts and escalators; a complete list of Specified Systems associated with Building WoF requirements is available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

Understandably these Specified Systems require ongoing maintenance, testing and inspections to ensure they continue to function at optimum levels. This is where the Building WoF serves its purpose, ensuring they are adequately looked after, repaired and replaced if necessary for the life span of the building.

The Building Act 2004

All building work in New Zealand, including construction, demolition and renovation comes under umbrella of The Building Act and its associated regulations which include the New Zealand Building Code.  Local councils administer the requirements of the Act under the Building Consent process on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The purpose of the Act is to ensure buildings are built to a nationwide standard with the well-being and safety of their future occupant’s in mind.  The New Zealand Building Code provides supporting regulations focusing on the durability, fire safety, sanitation services and facilities, moisture control, energy efficiency and accessibility of the building.

Building WoF Owner Obligations

As set out under The Building Act 2004, all building’s that contain Specified Systems must supply a current Building Warrant of Fitness, owners of these buildings must:

  • Hold a current copy of the Compliance Schedule for the building.
  • Prepare and renew the Building WoF documentation every 12 months.
  • Ensure all maintenance, inspections and reporting of Specified Systems are carried out in the appropriate time frames as set out in the building’s Compliance Schedule.
  • Engage appropriate Independent Qualified Persons for any inspection, maintenance, repairs and reporting procedures.
  • Ensure the Independent Qualified Persons supply a Form 12A certificate verifying that the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures for each Specified System have been fully complied with.
  • Keep detailed records of all building inspection, maintenance and repairs undertaken over the last 24 months.
  • Publicly display a current signed Building Warrant of Fitness Certificate.
  • Ensure the Compliance Schedule and other supporting documents are readily available for inspection by authorised persons.
  • Get professional engineering advice, and act on it in the event of an earthquake if there are concerns about building safety.
  • Provide a copy of the renewed Building WoF and supporting documentation to the local council every 12 months.

Building WoF, Compliance Schedules and Form 12As are reviewed by the council to ensure the building complies with the Building Act and its regulations.  Copies of these documents and related paperwork are kept by the council for the life of the building.  Need help with your Building Compliance and Building Warrant of Fitness requirements?  BC Group are the specialists in managing the Building WoF process.