Buildings that contain certain safety and essential systems, known as specified systems, need a compliance schedule and an annual warrant of fitness. Some examples include things like lifts, automatic doors, or emergency power or emergency lighting systems. Specified systems help ensure a building is safe and healthy for people to enter, occupy or work in. They require ongoing inspection and maintenance to ensure they function as required. If they fail to operate properly, they have the potential to affect health or life safety.
Warrant of Fitness
A building warrant of fitness is presented by the building owner. It confirms that their building has been checked and maintained according to the
Apartment buildings and commercial and other non-residential buildings must have a compliance schedule for their safety and essential systems like sprinkler systems and lifts. A full list of buildings that require a compliance schedule, including how to apply for one, can be found on theMinistry of Business, Innovation and Employment website. The compliance schedule states the performance standards those systems have to meet, and also the inspection, maintenance and reporting processes that have to be followed. Once the compliance schedule is issued it’s followed by an annual warrant of fitness check by a registered building compliance inspector.
A building doesn’t need to have a compliance schedule if it’s a single household unit like a residential house (unless it’s got a cable car).
If building work is done on a building’s safety/essential systems, either modifying or adding to them, the owner should apply for an amended compliance schedule when they apply for the building consent for the work.
Contents of the compliance schedule
While the compliance schedule is not in a prescribed form, section 103 of the Building Act specifies that the schedule must:
- state and describe each of the specified systems
- state the performance standards for the specified systems
- describe the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures to ensure that those systems are performing to the performance standards
Administration of the compliance schedule
The Wellington City Council amends and administers compliance schedules and building consent authority issues. They may charge a fee for doing so. A compliance system identifies the systems present, the performance standards, and guidelines as to how those systems should be monitored and maintained. If the building complies with all the required standards, the owner of the building will be granted a code compliance certificate and a compliance schedule.
The building consent authority will have five working days to notify the relevant territorial authority that they have issued a compliance schedule. The building consent authority must also provide a copy of the compliance schedule to that relevant territorial authority.
Amending the compliance schedule
A territorial authority and a building owner may agree to make changes to the compliance schedule. This can be done to better reflect the building’s needs and requirements. There is a fee for the amendment of the schedule.
Amendments to a compliance schedule may be made in the following circumstances:
- through a building consent application
- at the building owner’s request
- by a decision made by the territorial authority at any time
- through a suggestion from an independent qualified person or a licensed building practitioner
Owner’s legal obligations once a compliance schedule is issued
After the compliance schedule is issued, the building owner is legally required to make sure that:
- all necessary inspections, maintenance and reporting are completed to performance standards
- the compliance schedule is available to be inspected by the relevant officials
- an annual building warrant of fitness is obtained for the building and provided to the local council
- that the warrant of fitness is kept and displayed in the building
Monthly checks are also required to make sure all safety equipment is in good working order, that all fire exits are kept clear and functioning properly, and that there are no hazards preventing a quick and safe exit.
Inspections of the property are undertaken by building officers hired by the council. Building owners, its occupiers, and anyone else engaged in the building work have a legal duty to assist building officers during the inspection process. Inspection requirements will be detailed on the building consent.
To book an inspection, a community venue must provide:
- sufficient information about the work being done
- the kind of inspection needing to be conducted
- the name of person on the site
- the unique code (SR number) issued to those with a building consent
If the inspector deems that the requirements of the consent are not fulfilled, the community venue must rectify this and reschedule the inspector to review the work. There is a cost to inspections, details of inspection fees can be found here.
Types of inspections
A community venue may seek the following types of property inspections:
- retaining wall
- sub floor
- pre-line acoustic
- post-line bracing
- post-line fire
- post-line (wet area membrane)
- post-line acoustic
- final inspection upon completion
Signing off: Code of Compliance Certificate
Once the work is completed, you’ll need to apply to the relevant building consent authority for a code of compliance certificate. This acknowledges that the building work has complied with the building consent. A final inspection on the property is also required. The building consent authority has 20 working days after you apply in which to decide whether to issue the certificate. If the authority refuses to issue the code compliance certificate, they have to notify you in writing and include their reasons (section 95A Building Act, 2004).