Compliance Schedules & Building Warrant of Fitness

1. Overview

The information below is designed to help building owners and managers understand their responsibilities under the Building Act 2004. It is particularly important if you are the owner of a commercial, industrial or communal building.

The Building Act 2004 also outlines what Council does to enforce provisions (laws) to protect public health and safety.

Council's principle aim is to educate/monitor and work with owners/managers to ensure aims of the Building Act 2004 are maintained before enforcing penalties.

Common abbreviations

  • BCA: Building Consent Authority
  • BWOF : Building Warrant of Fitness
  • CCC: Code Compliance Certificate
  • CS: Compliance Schedule
  • CSS: Compliance Schedule Statement
  • IQP: Independent Qualified Person
  • LBP: Licensed Building Practitioner
  • MBIE: Ministry of Building, Innovation & Employment
  • NTF: Notice to Fix
  • NZBC: New Zealand Building Code or Building Code or Code
  • TA: Territorial Authority

2. What is a Compliance Schedule?

A Compliance Schedule is a document issued by a council for buildings containing specified systems. The compliance schedule states the specified systems, their performance standards and includes the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures needed to keep them in good working order.

A compliance schedule statement is a written statement issued by a council as temporary public notification of the specified systems covered by the compliance schedule for a building and where the compliance schedule is kept. It is not a statement about the performance of the specified systems listed. It is required to be publicly displayed for 12 months from the issue of the compliance schedule. It is then replaced by the first building warrant of fitness. 

 

What is a Building Warrant of Fitness?

A Building Warrant of Fitness (BWOF ) is a written statement issued annually to the council, a copy of which is also publicly displayed in the building. The building warrant of fitness is a declaration by the building owner, or the building owner’s agent, that all the specified systems in the building have been inspected, maintained and reported in accordance with the compliance schedule for a period of 12 months prior to the issue date. The warrant of fitness for a building must be prepared in accordance with the prescribed form (Form 12) in the Building (Forms) Regulations 2004.

The Council requires a copy of the BWOF  and any Form 12A certificates.

3. What is an IQP?

IQP (independent qualified person) are system specialists.

An IQP is a person approved by the Council to inspect certain Compliance Schedule items and ensure they meet performance standards. ‘Independent’ means the person (or firm) has no financial interest in the building they are auditing.

A list of approved IQP's is available by searching the South Island approved IQP register.

4. How IQPs and Compliance Firms can help you

You cannot issue a BWOF  without getting the annual IQP checks completed and a certificate (known as a Form 12A ) signed off.

An IQP firm or Compliance Company can act as your agent to help out with the paper work. They will co-ordinate all the specialist IQPs, collect the paper work and issue the BWOF , as well as deal with Council for you.

5. What is a Form 12A?

Form 12A is a certificate of compliance with inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures. This form is used as verification that the inspection and maintenance procedures under the compliance schedule have been carried out. They are issued by each independent qualified person who undertook inspection or maintenance of the building’s specified systems. 

 

The owner’s responsibility

A building owner must:

  1. Obtain a compliance schedule where one is required under the Building Act. Failure to do so could result in a fine upwards of $200,000.
  2. Publicly display a compliance schedule statement in their building for the first 12-month period from the issue of the compliance schedule. A compliance schedule statement is issued by the territorial authority and states:
    1. the specified systems covered by the compliance schedule
    2. and the place where the compliance schedule is held.
  3. Ensure all the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures for the specified systems stated in the compliance schedule for their building have been carried out and that those systems are performing, and will continue to perform, to the performance standards.
  4. Engage an Independent Qualified Person (IQP) to undertake the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures listed on the compliance schedule and issue Form 12As. Frequency of inspection varies depending on each specified system, and might be weekly, monthly, six monthly or annually
  5. Obtain a Form 12A certificate from their IQP verifying that the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures for each specified system have been fully complied with. The Form 12A can be found in the Building (Forms) Amendment Regulations 2005 (the Form 12A is officially called a ‘certificate of compliance with inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures’).
  6. Provide the BWOF  annually to the local council (ensuring the Form 12A certificates from their IQP(s) are attached) and publicly display a copy of this for the next 12 months (until the next anniversary of the issue of the compliance schedule where a new BWOF  will take its place).
  7. Keep the compliance schedule in the location nominated on the compliance schedule statement and BWOF . That way it and other documents are readily available for inspection by authorised people (such as council inspectors, fire service personnel and IQPs).

Other documents include:

  • annual written reports (which must be kept with the compliance schedule for at least two years)
  • log books (records of inspections by owner, tenant, maintenance and inspection personnel) where a requirement of the compliance schedule.

Further information about managing your BWOF  (for buildings with specified systems) can be found on the Building Performance website.

Please send BWOF  and IQP Certificates (Form 12A) to Council either by emailing a copy to building@waitaki.govt.nz or sending a hard-copy to:

Waitaki District Council, 20 Thames Street, Private Bag 50058, Oamaru, Otago 9444.

6. Tenants and the owner

The building owner’s responsibilities are clear, whether or not the building is tenanted by others. The owner, however, can delegate those responsibilities to an employee of the owner or to someone else under a contract or a lease. Tenants could also be liable if they breach the Act.

An owner, and anyone acting on the owner’s behalf in signing a BWOF , is liable for making any false statement in the warrant.

7. Council audits

Building owners should be aware that Council (or their agent) will undertake audits from time to time of a building for which a Compliance Schedule has been issued to ensure a BWOF  is correct, and that IQP reports are correct. A fee will be charged for this inspection.

Council has a policy to proactively review a percentage of buildings with BWOF s per year on a three- to five-year on-site audit cycle (20-33 per cent per annum). The audit frequency of a given building reflects the perceived risk for the use of that building.

The need for a BWOF  audit may also be triggered:

  • where a BWOF  is overdue or where there is a history of BWOF s being supplied late
  • where a building has had no building work done for an extended period of time
  • where the BWOF  and compliance schedule have not been reviewed for an extended period
  • during investigations of dangerous buildings.

 

Applying for, or amending a Compliance Schedule

The council (in its capacity as a building consent authority, territorial authority, or regional authority) and a building owner can agree to amend a compliance schedule as required, at any time.

An amendment may be initiated:

  • by the owner – for any reason
  • by the owner’s independent qualified person (IQP) – to ensure the specified systems will perform to the performance standards for those systems
  • by the council – to ensure the specified systems will perform to the performance standards for those systems.

You, your agent or the IQP needs to fill out an application to amend your compliance schedule. This must be done on Form 11.

A compliance schedule may also need to be amended as a result of building work that will affect a specified system. However, this will be managed through the building consent process and a Form 11 is not required.

The Building Act sets out procedures to follow for each case.

An IQP or the council may recommend you make an amendment to your compliance schedule. Before any amendments are made the council must consult with you. Then the council will make a final decision to amend (or not) the compliance schedule.

If the council accepts the recommendation, it will make the necessary change to the compliance schedule. The amended compliance schedule will then be issued to you.

Further information about amendments triggered by building consents can be found here.

8. Penalties

As a building owner, you need to be aware of fines and penalties if you fail to comply with the Building Act requirements for specified systems, compliance schedules, and BWOF s.

The building warrant of fitness (BWOF ) and compliance schedule requirements in the Building Act are in place to ensure specified systems perform correctly.

Building owners who fail to meet the requirements risk the health and life safety of their building’s occupants. The Building Act recognises these risks and the serious consequences, should you not comply.

Therefore, building owners are able to be prosecuted or fined under the Act for the following offences:

  • failure to obtain a compliance schedule
  • failure to supply the council with a building warrant of fitness
  • failure to display a building warrant of fitness required to be displayed
  • displaying a false or misleading building warrant of fitness
  • displaying a building warrant of fitness other than in accordance with section 108 of the Building Act.

These offences carry a maximum fine of $20,000.

If you fail to obtain a compliance schedule, you may be fined a further $2,000 for every day you don’t have one.

Councils can also issue you instant fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 for any of the compliance schedule and building warrant of fitness breaches listed above.

The Building Act allows councils to issue a notice to fix where:

  • a building warrant of fitness is not correct
  • the inspection, maintenance or reporting procedures stated in the compliance schedule are not being, or have not been, properly complied with
  • or any other breach of the Building Act or Regulations.

A notice to fix is a warning to correct an instance of non-compliance with the Building Code and/or Building Act. If you fail to correct the non-compliance, you are liable of a maximum fine of $200,000 and a further $20,000 for each day the offence is continued.

An instant fine of $1,000 can also be issued if a notice to fix is not complied with.

It is also an offence to use or permit the use of a building which is dangerous or insanitary, or if it has inadequate means of escape from fire. This offence carries a fine of up to $100,000.

If you continue this offence, there is a further fine not exceeding $10,000 for every day the offence is continued. Instant fines of $1,500 and $2,000 can be issued for these offences.

If you fail to have a building warrant of fitness, any insurance cover you have may also be compromised.

Specified systems under the Building Act 2004

Systems listed under the Building Act 2004 include:

SS1

Automatic systems for fire suppression

SS2

Automatic or manual emergency warning systems

SS3

Electromagnetic or automatic doors or windows

SS3/1

Automatic doors

SS3/2

Access controlled doors

SS3/3

Interfaced fire or smoke doors or windows

SS4

Emergency lighting systems

SS5

Escape route pressurisation systems

SS6

Riser mains for use by fire services

SS7

Automatic back-flow preventers

SS8

Lifts, escalators, travelators, or other systems for moving people or goods within buildings

SS8/1

Passenger carrying lifts

SS8/2

Service lifts

SS8/3

Escalators & moving walkways

SS9

Mechanical ventilation or air conditioning systems

SS10

Building maintenance units

SS11

Laboratory fume cupboards

SS12

Audio loops or other assistive listening systems

SS12/1

Audio Loops

SS12/2

FM radio frequency systems & infrared beam transmission systems

SS13

Smoke control systems

SS13/1

Mechanical smoke control

SS13/2

Natural smoke control

SS13/3

Smoke curtains

SS14

Emergency power systems or signs relating to a system of feature specified in any of clauses 1-13

SS14/1

Emergency power systems relating to a system of feature specified in any of clauses 1-13

SS14/2

Signs relating to a system of feature specified in any of clauses 1-13

SS15

Other fire safety systems or features

SS15/1

Systems to communicate spoken information intended to facilitate evacuation

SS15/2

Final exits

SS15/3

Fire separations

SS15/4

Signs for communicating information to facilitate evacuation

SS15/5

Smoke separations

SS16

Cable Cars

 

Please see the Building Act 2004, or Building (Specified Systems, Change the Use, and Earthquake-prone Buildings) Regulations 2005 and the Compliance Schedule Handbook 2014 for more information.