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Court win for building safety

Court win for building safety

Auckland District Court convicted and fined Mr A. K. Milne, owner of a boarding house at 71 Sussex Street, $3000 plus court costs on Friday (6 December), for failing to supply a current Building Warrant of Fitness.

The successful prosecution by Auckland City Council for breach of the Building Act safety regulations is a strong warning to all commercial property owners. It reinforces the legal obligation of owners to ensure a current Warrant of Fitness is sought for all commercial buildings.

Under the Building Act (1991) a building is considered unsafe if it does not have a current warrant. The Act requires owners to renew their warrant annually to indicate that all inspection and maintenance requirements are being met. The Warrant of Fitness covers building features such as automatic sprinkler and emergency lighting systems, lifts, air conditioning, fire hose reels, and fire escapes.

Council endeavours to communicate with building owners and help them comply with the Act’s legislative requirements wherever possible. Prosecution is always a last resort, but court action will be initiated when property owners threaten public safety through non-compliance.

“Council hope that this prosecution will serve as a warning to others that safety breaches are taken very seriously by both the council and the court,” says Barry Smedts, manager compliance monitoring. “It’s encouraging to see the courts backing our efforts to ensure people are safe in public buildings.”

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