Building Warrant of Fitness – Do you need one? Do you have one?

Posted by Auckland Property Management Ltd on December 14, 2022 | Commercial, Company News, News

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Commercial Property General Manager James Bangerter outlines when a building needs to have a BWOF and checks/certifications are in place to ensure a commercial property is compliant.

Does your commercial property have a Building Warrant of Fitness (BWOF)? The management of a BWOF can be very complex or quite simple depending on the type of building. There are also a lot of buildings that don’t require one.

Annual BWOF checks required are determined by the Compliance Schedule registered with the Council. The Council provides BWOF certification every year which must be displayed somewhere prominent near the front entrance of the building. Failure to display this certificate will result in a fine.


Does your Commercial Property Need a BWOF?

The compliance schedule lists all the mechanical systems that are within the building – having any mechanical system usually triggers the need for a BWOF. The most common mechanical systems are lifts, automatic doors, extraction units, air conditioning, backflow systems, sprinkler systems and other fire prevention and warning systems.

Each of these systems must be checked annually and, in some cases, need monthly or quarterly checks by an independently qualified tradesperson. This tradesperson will then supply a ‘12a Certificate’ to whoever’s job it is to ensure all documents are supplied and sent to the council for the issuing of the BWOF certificate.

Depending on the systems in place there may also be the necessity for a monthly Owner’s inspection which is recorded in the BWOF manual which is kept with the certificate at the front of the building.

Having a current BWOF certification means the mechanical systems have been checked to work as they should be, and this assurance may be needed for any insurance claims, or liability claims if anything unfortunate happens. If a building does not have a BWOF, when it should, then the property owner is liable for any damages and an excuse of BWOF ignorance doesn’t cut the mustard!

It’s always best to check with a professional to ensure that your property needs a BWOF, sometimes if there are no mechanical systems, then a fire systems check is needed instead.


Does your Commercial property Have a BWOF?

As commercial property managers we sometimes find that buildings don’t have the required systems being checked to ensure a BWOF is kept up-to-date. Compliance schedules need to be updated at council when mechanical systems have been added to or removed from the building.

For example, when a café, restaurant or takeaway is set up, an extraction unit is usually added to the kitchen. Consent from Council is needed and then the compliance schedule is updated. We have found that Council has recently audited compliance schedules of buildings within certain areas and will continue to do so.

If your building only has one system to be checked, the annual BWOF process is quite simple. But, if there are multiple systems it can become quite stressful so having a property manager make sure everything is in place ensures there are no risks of your building not being compliant.


If you are not sure if your building needs a BWOF or if you know that it does need one and it currently doesn’t, then chat to our team who will be able to help with the management of your commercial property.

Kind regards

James Bangerter

General Manager – Commercial Property

Feel free to contact our Commercial Team via the contact form below.