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What Are Owner’s Responsibilities for BWOF in Auckland

Fireco Explains Building Owner’s Responsibilities and the BWOF process in Auckland

Among the many important measures to guarantee the safety and well-being of occupants, the Building Warrant of Fitness is a key responsibility of building owners. As a building or property owner in Auckland, ensuring the safety of your commercial spaces and rental properties is crucial. Fireco, your leading BWOF specialist in Auckland, is here to explain the regulations, recommendations, and requirements of building owners to maintain safety.

Firefighting and Smoke Detection Equipment

Providing adequate firefighting and smoke detection systems in rentals and commercial premises is important and highly recommended by Fire and Emergency NZ. In some industries, building owners are legally required to install fire extinguishers and other safety equipment to comply with NZ standard NZS 4503:2005 – read the government’s guidelines here, or get in touch with Fireco for expert advice.

Supplying fire safety equipment is crucial, but for business owners in Auckland, it’s equally important to ensure that your staff are trained to operate this equipment. Find more information on fire safety training here.


Regular maintenance of your safety equipment is also essential – it’s no use having fire safety equipment if it won’t work in an emergency! As a property owner, keeping track of the maintenance and servicing schedules of all fire safety equipment can be difficult, which is where Fireco can help. Read our guide on safety equipment maintenance here.

Evacuation Procedures and Schemes

Owners of workplaces or buildings open to the public must establish effective evacuation procedures, complete with signs guiding individuals in case of a fire emergency. See Fireco’s range of emergency signage here, and ensure your building is equipped for easy evacuation with required signs specifying emergency exits and assembly points.

As outlined by Fire and Emergency NZ, certain building and industry types necessitate trained employees to assist in evacuations, such as childcare centres, kindergartens, police stations, and more. Additionally, an approved evacuation scheme by Fire and Emergency may be required for specific conditions – find more information on their website here.

Maintaining Means of Escape

While emergency exit signage is important, building owners are also required to maintain adequate means of escape. This means exits need to be clear of obstacles, and not locked or barricaded during emergencies. Fire-stopping or smoke-control doors cannot be kept open, otherwise they won’t be able to serve their function. Stairwells, hallways, and passages need to be kept clear, and cannot be used for storage that blocks quick exit. Make sure any flammable materials are stored away from escape routes in non-combustible containers where necessary, otherwise combustible materials could block means of escape in the event of a fire emergency.

Appliance and Electrical Safety

Both building owners and occupants share the responsibility of ensuring electrical equipment, gas systems, and appliances are in good condition. As explained by Fire and Emergency NZ, this includes electrical wiring, gas reticulation systems, and appliances fuelled by flammable liquids. Open flames are restricted to compliant fireplaces or properly maintained appliances, and chimneys must be compliant and well-maintained.

Building Warrant of Fitness Explained

The most crucial aspect of building owner’s responsibility is the Building Warrant of Fitness. A BWOF is a compliance certificate confirming that specified systems in a commercial property have been inspected, tested, and approved by an Independent Qualified Person (IQP) according to the compliance schedule. The Auckland Council defines these “specified systems” as:

“A system or feature that is contained within a building for the primary purpose of maintaining health or life safety of building users i.e. fire alarm, sprinkler, mechanical ventilation system, etc.”

The Fireco team is here to simplify the BWOF process, with a team of highly trained IQPs able to ensure that your building and specified systems are inspected and maintained according to NZ safety standards. Find more information on how Fireco can help streamline your Auckland BWOF process here.

What Happens if Building Owners Fail to Comply with BWOF Responsibilities?

  • The BWOF is a sign of a safe and complaint building – and failing to comply with the Building Act of 2004 and Auckland BWOF regulations risks major penalties, as cited from the Auckland Council’s ‘Compliance Schedules and Building Warrant of Fitness’ document:

    • If a person is the owner of a building for which a compliance schedule has been obtained, they are liable for a fine of up to $20,000 with a further fine of $2,000 for each day the offence is continued;
    • Building owners can be fined up to $20,000 for failing to display a Building Warrant of Fitness, or displaying a false or misleading Building Warrant of Fitness;
    • Building owners who fail to give written notice of a change of use commit an offence and are liable to a maximum fine of $5,000;
    • It is also an offence carrying a fine of up to $100,000 to use or permit the use of a building, which is not safe or sanitary, or if it has inadequate means of escape from fire.


    Fireco knows how important a streamlined and cost-effective BWOF process is to Auckland building and property owners. Partner with Fireco for great customer service, a strong network of professionals, and a focus on safety compliance. Get in touch with the Fireco team here to secure your BWOF and contribute to the safety of Auckland’s commercial buildings.

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