Building for public use

This page contains information on things you need to think about when building for public use. If you own, occupy or control premises intended for public use affected by building work, you should know about safety measures for public access until the build is signed off as complete.

On this page:


Building warrants of fitness

A building warrant of fitness (BWoF) is a building owner’s annual statement that confirms the specified systems for their building have been maintained and checked for the previous 12 months, in accordance with the compliance schedule.

The purpose of the building warrant of fitness is to ensure that the specified systems in the building are being maintained and are functioning as intended at all times.

Supplying a BWoF

Once a compliance schedule is issued the building owner must commence and complete the building warrant of fitness process annually which includes:

  • Employing IQP’s to complete some or all of the inspections
  • Regularly inspecting and maintaining the specified systems
  • Producing a building warrant of fitness (Form12) annually
  • Receiving certification for each of the specified systems from IQP’s (Form12A) annually
  • Providing a copy of the building warrant of fitness and IQP certificates to the council annually
  • Keeping all records relating to the building warrant of fitness for 2 years

All building warrant of fitness requirements must be completed in accordance with the compliance schedule that has been issued for the building. The building warrant of fitness must be completed on the anniversary date of the compliance schedule.

Some or all of the building warrant of fitness requirements can be carried out by agents, IQP’s or others acting on behalf of the owner.

It is the council’s responsibility to ensure that building owners are carrying out and completing their building warrant of fitness requirements correctly. Council will review the documents from the IQP, along with the BWoF. If any changes are recommended by an IQP, Council will determine if the compliance schedule needs to be amended.

Read more about a building warrant of fitness here.

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Compliance schedule

Compliance schedules are issued when buildings contain certain safety and essential systems, known as specified systems. Compliance schedules specify the regular inspections and maintenance on the specified systems to ensure the systems operate when required and building is safe and healthy for members of the public to enter, occupy or work in.

What is a specified system?

A specified system is a safety or other system contained in a building that if it failed to operate as designed would have a serious safety or health consequence to occupants of the building. They are defined by regulation and include things like automatic systems for fire suppression, automatic or manual warning systems, emergency lighting systems, lifts, escalators, smoke control systems etc.

A building consent is required to install a new specified system or to carry out alterations on an existing specified system. Work on specified systems cannot be carried out under schedule 1.

More information regarding specified systems including performance standards, maintenance and inspections

What is in a compliance schedule? 

  • Identifies which systems are present in the building
  • States the performance standards for those systems
  • Describes how the systems will be inspected and maintained to ensure they will continue to function
  • Who is responsible for the inspections and certification


Compliance schedule applications should be made when: 

  • Your building contains one or more specified systems and no compliance schedule has been issued
  • Your building work includes installing new specified systems


Getting a compliance schedule

A compliance schedule will be issued by the Council when building work is complete and the code compliance certificate is issued for the relevant building consent.

In the case where an owner is applying for a new compliance schedule where no building work is involved, the compliance schedule is issued when the council is satisfied that all inspection and maintenance information has been received and the systems are functioning correctly.

Where a compliance schedule is required under a building consent, the Council building inspectors will check as an inspection, the location, the make, type and model of all specified systems noted under your building consent. If you refer to your approved consented documents you will also find the third party verification that may be required to supply at the time of the inspection. The council allow for a further inspection back at the office to then compile the compliance schedule. At either inspection, any further information required will be relayed to you in either an email or in your inspection report.

Amending a compliance schedule

Amendments to compliance schedules may be necessary from time to time. For example:

  • When building work affects specified systems
  • Due to a decision by the Council
  • Where there is a change to regulations  
  • At the request of a building owner
  • At the recommendation of an IQP

In the case of an owner requesting an amendment or an IQP’s recommendation, the application must be made on a Form11. See our forms section.

Fees may occur in order for Council to make amendments to a compliance schedule. The council will also consider why changes are necessary and if work should have had a building consent issued. The council will give the owner opportunity to object to any proposed changes.

Read more about compliance schedules here. 

The compliance schedule handbook as compiled by the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation (for Building Performance, in compliance with the Building Act) can be found here.

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 Certificate for public use

A certificate for public use certifies that a premises (or part of it) is safe to be occupied by members of the public while building work is carried out on it. A certificate for public use is used when a consent has been granted for the building work but a code compliance certificate has not yet been issued.

A certificate for public use does not mean the owner is exempt from applying for a code of compliance certificate once all the building work has been completed.

Your application will need to show which parts of the building will be safe for public use while the building works are being completed.

Premises with open or restricted access are both generally considered public use.

The requirement for a certificate for public use does not apply to:

  • Private homes
  • Apartment buildings or office space (unless there is a public foyer)
  • If the building doesn’t require a building consent (such as a non-structural fit-out of a shop or office)

The building may need to be inspected by Council before issuing the certificate.

How long will it take?

Council has 20 days from receiving the application to decide if they will issue a certificate of public use. If more information is required, the application will be suspended until the Council receives the requested information. 

Read more about certificates for public use here.

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Guidance form

You can download an Accessible Facilities Report Template here to help guide you for the purpose of:

  • Reporting on the extent of proposed upgrading of access and facilities for people with disabilities in existing buildings, in order to comply with sections 112 or 115 of the Building Act 2004, or
  • New buildings for demonstrating and assessing compliance with the NZ Building Approved Documents.

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8 May 2018