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The BWoF Process: A Building Warrant of Fitness Checklist

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If you own a commercial building in New Zealand, it is important that you maintain your building’s warrant of fitness. The purpose of the warrant of fitness is to ensure that the building meets all the regulations and standards under the Building Act 2004.

A Building Warrant of Fitness certifies that a structure has been inspected and is safe for its occupants. The government requires this record to ensure that a given structure meets all health and safety requirements for occupants. Upon issuing, BWOFs carry a validity period of one year, after which they must be renewed.

Completing a Building Warrant of Fitness can seem overwhelming at first; however, with proper preparation and knowledge it doesn’t have to be. 

This checklist will provide a step-by-step guide on how to complete your building's warrant of fitness.

Finding out what kind of structure you have is the first step in completing your Building Warrant of Fitness. There may be further specifications needed to finish the warrant, depending on the kind of structure. For instance, a certified professional engineer or other specialised inspectors such as fire safety experts may be called upon to conduct further inspections or provide reports for certain types of buildings.

Once you have identified what type of building you own, it is now time to gather all necessary documentation for completing the warranty process. This includes any plans, specifications and certificates that were issued when construction was completed or when changes were made to the existing building structure. It is also important to include any maintenance reports or records that document regular inspections and repairs carried out on the property over time. 

The next step in completing your warranty process is to get a qualified inspector who can review your documentation and inspect the property itself. This is why it’s crucial to hire an Independent Qualified Person immediately in order to obtain a Building Warrant of Fitness. Many different kinds of IQPs exist, and each one has its own unique focus. Owners of buildings must have proof of inspections, maintenance, and reporting obtained from the appropriate IQP(s). Compliance certifications for inspection, maintenance, and reporting requirements are issued using Form 12A.

An IQP should be able to provide an assessment report with their findings as well as any recommendations for further improvements or repairs needed before issuing a final certificate of compliance.  Detailed instructions on how to bring your building up to code will be included in the report if it turns out that it falls short of standards. After making the necessary modifications, a BWOF application can be submitted.

Once submitted, the council will review your application and may request additional information if needed. It usually takes around two weeks for a decision to be made on whether or not your BWOF has been approved.

While completing a Building Warrant of Fitness may appear daunting at first, it is possible to do it with the right amount of research and planning. Plus having an experienced professional onboard to consult and guide you throughout the BWoF process.

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If you follow the steps we've explained here, you'll have no trouble fulfilling your guarantee and keeping your building in compliance with the Building Act of 2004's latest requirements and standards.

Whether you’re an experienced business owner or just starting out, hope this will give you the confidence to reach out to professional inspectors, IQPs, and fire safety experts that comes from knowing your commercial space is up to code and safe for your customers. 

Here at Fireco, we’re pleased to work on your behalf to get your Building Warrant of Fitness completed. Fireco’s contact details are as follows: 0800 101 232, or info@fireco.co.nz 

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