Council To Get Tough On Rogue Owners
Auckland City Council is to crack down on rogue owners of dangerous or unsanitary buildings.
Mr Bob de Leur, Building Team Leader Auckland City Environments, says that Auckland City has never shown sympathy for owners who deliberately flout health and safety regulations.
Recent publicity about an inner-city apartment block that required an extensive upgrade before it could receive a Warrant of Fitness may have concerned some people in the Auckland community, he said.
“If there is an immediate threat to life the council will close the building serving notice on the owner that section 70 of the Building Act is being invoked.
“Where there is no immediate threat to life the owner is served notice under section 64 of the Act, requiring remedial work to be undertaken within a prescribed timeframe.
He said that last year the council had two successful prosecutions for breaches of the Warrant of Fitness requirements. Penalties varied according to the severity of the situation and the successful prosecutions last year attracted $10,000 fines.
“Buildings that are in very bad shape and house people are very rare. The council complies with International Best Practice standards in relation to tracking and monitoring these issues and it is fortunate that ownership is tightly regulated.
“This means that features such as fire evacuation access, sufficient water pressure to meet the fire regulations, sprinkler systems, safe lifts and other essential features have to be kept in good mechanical order.
“Auckland City is very proud of our 95 per cent compliance record across the city in relation to the life safety and mechanical features in the Warrant of Fitness process.
“Our city’s buildings are among the safest in New Zealand and it is very important for the public to understand that when they enter a building that is open to the public a Warrant of Fitness has to be on display.
“This means that when we enter a movie theatre, a hotel or a nightclub the building will have a current Warrant of Fitness providing for the safety of the users of the building,” he said.
Mr de Leur said Auckland City Council had committed the resources of a department dedicated to tracking and monitoring the annual renewal process of Warrants of Fitness.
“Most owners in the city are extremely responsible and are aware they are obliged under the Building Act to contract an Individually Qualified Person to check the life safety and mechanical features of the building.”