A building warrant of fitness makes sure that the Specified systems in your building are maintained, inspected and reported.

This is important not only because it is required by the compliance schedule issued by the Council but because it gives occupants, customers and visitors to your building confidence about the building’s safety systems.

What is a building warrant of fitness?

A building warrant of fitness is a statement signed by the building owner (or owners agent), stating that the requirements of the building’s compliance schedule have been fully complied with in the previous 12 months.

The compliance schedule(external link) lists the specified systems operating in a particular building, and the building warrant of fitness is an assurance that the specified systems have been inspected and maintained, and are continuing to operate as installed.

  1. A current copy of the building warrant of fitness (Form 12) must be displayed publicly in the building, and another copy must be sent to the Council each year on the anniversary date for the building warrant of fitness.
  2. The building warrant of fitness must be renewed by the building owner annually on the anniversary date.
  3. Once satisfied that the specified systems have been maintained as per the compliance schedule, the Independent Qualified Person (IQP) supplies an annual certificate (Form 12a) for the system to the building owner. These are required to be attached with the building warrant of fitness.

For more information about the building warrant of fitness requirements, see the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment information for building owners, managers and developers(external link)(external link).

What is a specified system?

Specified systems are systems or features installed in a building that are crucial to the safety and health of the building and those who use it, or systems which, if they are not maintained, could cause injury or harm. When you apply for a building consent, you must include a list of all specified systems in the building project.

When you need a building warrant of fitness

If your building contains any of the following specified systems, you must have a building warrant of fitness:

  1. automatic systems for fire suppression (for example sprinkler system)
  2. automatic or manual emergency warning systems for fire or other dangers (other than a warning system for fire that is entirely within a household unit and serves only that unit)
  3. electromagnetic or automatic doors or windows (for example ones that close on fire alarm activation)
  4. emergency lighting systems
  5. escape routes pressurisation systems
  6. riser mains for fire service use
  7. any automatic backflow preventers connected to a potable water supply
  8. lifts, escalators, travelators or other systems for moving people or goods within buildings. Note: this includes cable cars attached to a private dwelling
  9. mechanical ventilation or air conditioning systems
  10. building maintenance units providing access to exterior and interior walls of buildings
  11. laboratory fume cupboards
  12. audio loops or other assistive listening systems
  13. smoke control systems
  14. emergency power systems for, or signs relating to, a system or feature specified in any of clauses 1-13.
  15. any or all of the following systems or features, so long as they form part of a building's means of escape from fire, and so long as those means also contain any or all of the systems or features specified in clauses 1 to 6, 9 and 13:
    1. Systems for communicating spoken information intended to facilitate evacuation; and
    2. Final exits (as defined by clause A2 of the building code); and
    3. Fire separations (as so defined); and
    4. Signs for communicating information intended to facilitate evacuation; and
    5. Smoke separations (as so defined).

For more information, see List of specified systems [PDF, 353 KB] (B-068)

Independent qualified persons (IQP)

An IQP is a person approved by a territorial authority as qualified to inspect, maintain and report on certain specified systems. ‘Independent’ means that the person has no financial interest in the building.

The Council does not perform building warrant of fitness inspections or certification for building owners (although from time-to-time we carry out inspections for auditing purposes).

The role of an IQP is to inspect, report on, and maintain the specified systems as detailed on the compliance schedule.

You are required by law to have annual written reports relating to the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures of the compliance schedule signed by each person who has carried out those procedures. Keep the reports with the compliance schedule for two years and make sure they are accessible when inspections are carried out.

View information on IQP’s registered to supply documentation(external link) in the South Island.

Renewing a building warrant of fitness

A month before a building warrant of fitness is due to expire, we will send you (as building owner) a reminder letter. The reminder letter includes information on completing the building warrant of fitness form (Form 12):

The owner must sign two copies of the building warrant of fitness form. One copy must be displayed in the building, and the other must be sent to the Council, with all required Form 12A certificates.

What is a compliance schedule?

A schedule issued by the Building Consent Authority listing the specified systems within a building (e.g. sprinkler systems, lifts, smoke detectors).

These systems ensure a building is safe and healthy for people to enter, occupy or use. The compliance schedule for a building must identify which specified systems are present, the performance standards for those systems, and who is required to inspect, maintain, and report that those systems continue to function as installed.

See information on compliance schedules (external link)for building officials(external link) at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website.
(external link)

Obtaining or amending a compliance schedule

For new buildings, a compliance schedule is issued with a code compliance certificate.

Where a compliance schedule has been issued for the first time, a compliance schedule statement is issued by the Council. This is a temporary public notification of compliance with the schedule requirements. It is replaced after 12 months, and every 12 months after that, by the building warrant of fitness.

The owner must display this document in a public area within the building.

After receiving a compliance schedule statement owners must engage an IQP as soon as possible (typically within one month) to ensure that all inspection, maintenance and reporting is completed for the next 12 months.

You will need to apply for an amendment to the existing compliance schedule if you want to:

  • Update owner details
  • Amend the inspection, maintenance or reporting procedures
  • Advise of any specified system not included on the compliance schedule for the building.

Providing you are the owner, you can apply for an amendment at any time. Complete and return:  Application for amendment to compliance schedule [PDF, 233 KB] (Form 11 B-031) also available in Word [DOCX, 351 KB]


If a building consent requires a new compliance schedule as a result of building work, or an amendment to an existing compliance schedule is required, a fixed fee applies.

There is also an annual administration fee for processing the building warrant of fitness. This is comprised of a base fee and an additional fee per specified system.

A new fee for building warrants of fitness site audits following a failed audit has also been introduced.

Refer to the Building Consents Fee Schedule for related fees.

The cost of an IQP’s services is not included in the Council application fee or annual fees.

Further information

You can obtain further information from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment guidance on building warrants of fitness and compliance schedules(external link).