Argest Compliance & Fire Inspection Services at Alert Level 4 Covid-19

Argest is here to support you during the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though our offices are not accessible, the Argest team is set up to work remotely and safely from their homes and are contactable in the normal way by phone and email.

We are actively monitoring all updates and directions from the Government, MBIE and industry associations relating to on-site compliance services, as well as managing communication with Councils on your behalf. We will focus on your compliance over this time and allow you to focus on your business, staff and personal wellbeing. 

Site Inspections and Testing

There are a number of important changes and limitations to IQP and fire sprinkler inspections and testing which will impact your building. For the most part, all planned inspections and testing will be suspended until the Aert Level decreases and sites are allowed to be accessed.

If you are providing Essential Services, or your buildings are occupied or being used for Essential Services, your Contracts Manager will be able to assist you on the services you will need to support your staff and occupants of your buildings.

You are able to request Argest to provide or arrange certain services that directly assist in maintaining a safe and healthy environment for your staff, occupants and users or your buildings. The range of those services is being reviewed on a regular basis and we will update you if these changes will apply to your building.

If you do require on-site services, then we will work with you to complete all the necessary confirmations, approvals, site access and health and safety procedures that will need to be followed for any site work.

For most commercial buildings during Alert Level 4 all inspections and testing will be suspended.

Managing your Building Warrant of Fitness (BWOF)

We appreciate the suspension of inspections and testing will impact the ability to meet the requirements for the issue our your BWOF and some may even fall overdue over the lockdown period. Based on the updates from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Territorial Authorities (Councils), deferment of the issue of BWOF’s is the preferred option, with annual inspections, preventative maintenance and testing to be rescheduled when site access is allowed. Once these are done, and any repairs deemed necessary for compliance are completed, the BWOF will be issued for your building as soon as practicable. An allowance will be made for missed monthly inspections or testing unable to be carried out during Alert Level 4.

Things you can do for the Health and Safety of your staff, occupants or users of your building during Alert Level 4

If you do have staff in buildings being used for essential services, especially where they’re being accessed by the public or emergency services workers, assign a responsible person to carry out checks that can be done maintaining a safe distance.

  • Your emergency exits continue to be well signed and clear of any obstructions
  • Information and safety signs for your fire alarms, auto-doors, disabled access, lifts are still in place
  • Your fire alarm/fire sprinkler panels (if your building has one) are indicating “Normal”

If your building is residential, then any such checks should be completed by someone who resides in that building, but not in a way that compromises or requires entry into another’s “bubble” like an individual apartment. Checks should be limited to public areas, and only completed if it is possible to maintain a 2-metre gap, taking precautions like washing hands before and after the checks, and of course not completed by anyone who is ill or is required to self isolate themselves due to having or being in contact with people with Covid-19.

What will happen as we exit Alert Level 4

We are already preparing for what inspections and preventative maintenance services your building will need once New Zealand is able to exit Threat Level 4, as well as the process to get any impacted or delayed Building Warrant of Fitness’s issued as quickly as possible. We will be working with each Council to ensure any delayed or overdue BWOF is managed and that we comply with any specific processes that are put in place.

Who to contact

Please continue to contact your Argest Contracts Manager, as usual, using email or by phone or via 0800 ARGEST (0800 274 378)

We would like to thank you for continuing to use Argest for your compliance services during this challenging time, and wish you and your teams all the very best to stay safe and well. 

Current Initiatives during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, Argest has the safety and health of our team, clients and the wider community at the forefront of our minds. We want to provide you with an update on what we’re doing in light of the pandemic.

At this time, we are working hard to ensure this situation will not impact our ability to continue to deliver our Building Warrant of Fitness, IQP and Sprinkler Inspections services to you. We want to ensure you are able to continue to meet the requirements of the Building Act 2004 to keep your building safe and compliant. Argest has developed a COVID-19 response plan to ensure that we can look after our team and continue to deliver our services efficiently. 

Here’s an overview of some of Argest’s current initiatives:

  • We are following Ministry of Health guidelines and directing staff to remain at home if they are feeling unwell
  • We are able to have our people to work remotely from home for BWOF management and already have this in place and tested
  • We have put a COVID-19 Policy in place for our inspectors and subcontractors who have to go on to a customer site
  • Our COVID-19 Policy includes strict directives for our inspectors not to attend site if there is any chance of COVID-19 exposure or other illnesses
  • We have instigated an additional step to confirm with our clients that sites are safe to enter and be made aware of additional protocols we need to follow in regards to that site’s pandemic plan
  • We have arranged for our team to receive the latest flu vaccination
  • We have shared best practice health tips with our team, instigated extra hygiene precautions and informed our team of the need for social distancing practices

What we ask of you:

  • Even if you have your staff working from home or have skeleton staff, you will still need to have your Specified Systems, like fire alarms and sprinklers, tested and inspected so your building can have a current Building Warrant of Fitness. You will need to provide our inspectors and testers with access. This will be done with under tightly managed conditions including strictly enforced distancing
  • If your site cannot be accessed due to the presence of COVID-19, or the building is being used for self-isolation, please contact us immediately so that we can defer inspections
  • If people at your site become unwell prior to an inspection and will be present at the planned time of an inspection or test, please advise us immediately so that we can defer inspections
  • Please advise us if there are special conditions and protocols you need our inspectors to follow when on your site in relation to COVID-19 so that we can communicate that to them
  • If you have any other face to face meetings booked in with us, please talk to us about changing to “Teams” video or phone conference

Argest is following a policy of doing everything it can to help keep our clients and staff safe. While we have had to put new measures in place, we are also keen to minimise disruption and continue to deliver our services to you as normally as possible.

We would like to thank you for your co-operation and support at this time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your Argest Contracts Manager.