Codewords Issue 76

Codewords banner without heading
31 January 2017

In this issue:

Codewords is our building controls newsletter that will keep you up to date with building and construction news and information.

Welcome to the first edition of Codewords for 2017

I hope you all had a good break over the holiday period with your family and friends (and some sunshine if you’re lucky) and you’re ready for what looks like another busy year for the industry.

Tragically, one young child drowned in a residential pool in 2016. I strongly recommend you read the new Building Code clause F9 restricting access to residential pools that took effect on 1 January 2017. Changes include a new requirement for mandatory three-yearly inspections of swimming pools, allowing safety covers to be used as barriers for spa pools and hot tubs, and introducing additional enforcement tools for councils, including notices to fix.

The government has proposed that owners of certain unreinforced masonry buildings be required to secure street-facing parapets and facades, in response to the 2016 Hurunui/Kaikōura earthquakes. The focus will be on unreinforced masonry buildings in four areas with a heightened risk of earthquakes, on routes that have high pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Those four areas include Wellington, Lower Hutt, Marlborough and Hurunui. Further information can be found on the MBIE Corporate website.

I also want to remind you about our earthquake-related building videos on jacking up a foundation, packing house piles and lifting wall plates. These easy to follow videos contain useful information for both builders and homeowners who may be affected by the recent earthquakes.

This edition of Codewords gives you an update on recently amended Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods. It also looks at GoShift, which is a programme a number of councils are taking part in to make consenting easier.

For licensed building practitioners (LBPs), the Building Practitioners Board has recently written a significant decision about a complaint relating to supervision of building work provided by LBPs, which is well worth reading.

Many thanks to those of you who completed our website satisfaction survey in December. Your feedback says that although the new website is much better overall than our previous one, we need to improve our search function so you can easily find the information you need. Our team will be looking into how we can improve this so watch this space.

The work is already piling up – so all the best for a safe, smooth and well-planned year.

Code and technical changes

Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods Amendments 2017

Twenty-eight Acceptable Solutions and ten Verification Methods for complying with the Building Code have been amended and took effect from 1 January 2017.

Consultation on the amendments to the Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods, as well as two new Acceptable Solutions, took place from 20 July to 31 August 2016. Ninety-two people submitted feedback on these proposals, which helped to refine and finalise the amendments. Two proposed Acceptable Solutions, E2/AS4 Torch-on Membrane Systems for Roofs and Decks and E3/AS2 Internal Wet Area Membranes, require further development and have not yet been published.

Update: Please note that on 1 February 2017 minor corrections were made to the details below on amendments to B1 Structure and C1-C6 Protection from fire.


The following describes which version of an Acceptable Solution or Verification Method to use when submitting a complete application for a building consent:

Until 31 December 2016: Use the existing version.

From 1 January to 30 May 2017*: Use either the existing version or the newly published version (during this transition period either version is an Acceptable Solution or Verification Method).

From 31 May 2017*: Use the newly published version (the existing version is no longer an Acceptable Solution or Verification Method).

* An exception is the transition period for D2/AS1. From 1 January 2017 to 6 August 2017 you can use either D2/AS1 Amendment 6 or Amendment 7 as an Acceptable Solution. From 7 August 2017 only D2/AS1 Amendment 7 can be used as an Acceptable Solution.

Summary of changes

A brief description of the changes to each Acceptable Solution or Verification Method is given below:

  • B1 Structure: B1/AS1, B1/VM1, B1/VM4

    NZS 4223 Parts 1 to 4 are updated to the latest versions in B1/AS1, and the structural glass barrier requirements in Part 3 are modified.

    Clause and Figures 7.10(b) and 7.10(c) in NZS 3604 are modified to clarify the requirements (in accordance with the latest test data).

    The modification in B1/VM1 on applying the hazard factor Z, to buildings with structure periods less than 1.5 seconds in the Canterbury earthquake region, is deleted.

    The modification in B1/VM1 on applying a minimum risk factor for the serviceability limit state of Rs = 0.33 in the Canterbury earthquake region is deleted.

    Clause in NZS 3101 is modified in B1/VM1 to limit the depth of precast units to 300 mm and the overall depth to 400 mm.

    The formula in B1/VM4 paragraph 3.3.2b) is corrected.

  • B2 Durability: B2/AS1
    NZS 4223.2:2016 is cited as a means of compliance for the durability of insulating glass units (double glazing)
  • C1-C6 Protection from fire: C/AS1 to C/AS7

    Paragraph 1.1.2, C/AS2 to C/AS6: Clarification that an alternative solution or Verification Method can be used for buildings with complex features or specific fire engineering design.

    Paragraph 2.3, C/AS1 to C/AS7: Scope limitations on Life rating and Property rating are removed.

    Paragraph 3.4, C/AS1 only: NZS 4514 domestic smoke alarms can be used to extend travel distance in housing.

    Paragraph 3.15.5, C/AS3 only: Door widths clarified.

    Paragraph 4.1.3, C/AS7 only: Limitations on intermediate floors do not apply to car parks.

    Paragraph 4.9.6, C/AS2 only: Paragraph removed as requirements are given in Paragraph 3.9.6.

    Paragraph 4.16.12, C/AS3 and C/AS4: Location of smoke dampers clarified.

    Paragraph 5.1.2, C/AS1 only: Requirement for notional boundary between buildings only applies where there is sleeping use.

    Paragraph 5.5.7, C/AS2 to C/AS6: The tabulated method for calculating Unprotected Areas can be used.

    Paragraph 5.8.3, C/AS2, C/AS4 to C/AS6: Removed dispensation from external cladding requirements for buildings sprinklered and less than 25m.

    Appendix C, C/AS2 to C/AS6: Table added enabling Australian and European Standards to be used to determine Group Numbers.

  • D1 Access routes: D1/AS1, D1/VM1
    Section 2.1 on slip resistance of walking surfaces is revised and references AS 4586: 2013 ‘Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surfaces’. Paragraph 1.2.1 includes a requirement for maximum vertical variations in flooring. BS EN 14975: 2006 ‘Loft ladders – Requirements, marking and testing’ is referenced as an acceptable solution. AS 1657: 2013 ‘Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders – Design, construction and installation’ replaces an earlier version. Minor changes and corrections are made throughout the text for clarity.
  • D2 Mechanical Installations for Access: D2/AS1
    The lift Standard EN 81-20:2014 is cited, with appropriate modifications for use in New Zealand, to incorporate modern technology and practices. The transition period for introducing EN 81-20 aligns with its introduction internationally.
  • E1 Surface Water: E1/VM1
    Six reference Standards are updated. Minor corrections are made to Table 1 and paragraph 9.0.6.
  • E2 External Moisture: E2/AS3
    The code of practice CCANZ – CP 01: 2014 errata 1 January 2015 replaces the 2014 version.
  • E3 Internal Moisture: E3/AS1
    Comment under paragraph 1.1.4 is corrected – clause E3 does not apply to buildings that are not Housing or Communal residential.
  • F2 Hazardous Building Materials: F2/AS1
    NZS 4223.3: 2016 Amendment 1 ‘Glazing in buildings – Human impact safety requirements’ replaces the 1999 version. A comment is provided on asbestos in building materials.
  • F4 Safety from Falling: F4/AS1
    Minor changes to Table 1 regarding barriers on stairways. A comment is provided on access to building services equipment mounted on roofs. Requirements for opening windows are clarified in section 2.0.
  • F6 Visibility in Escape Routes: F6/AS1
    Comments are modified to improve guidance on “occupant load” and “slopes”.
  • F8 Signs: F8/AS1
    AS/NZS 2293.2 is updated to the latest version and NZS 4541 is cited. Exit signs, sprinkler signage and electromagnetic compatibility are clarified (paragraphs 4.5.1, 5.4 and Appendix A respectively). Suitable LED lighting is included as an acceptable means to recharge photoluminescent signs.
  • G2 Laundering: G2/AS1
    The reference to AS/NZS 1229:2002 is corrected. The minimum space requirements for laundries and laundries for persons with disabilities are clarified (paragraph 1.2 and Figures 1 and 2).
  • G3 Food Preparation and Prevention of Contamination: G3/AS1
    The minimum clear area for domestic kitchens and the associated requirements for facilities for persons with disabilities are clarified in G3/AS1 (Figure 1 and paragraphs 1.5.1 and 1.5.2).
  • G4 Ventilation: G4/AS1, G4/VM1
    AS/NZS 5601.1:2013 and the Workplace Exposure Standards are updated to the latest versions, including consequential changes to G4/AS1 paragraphs 2.4.1(c) and 3.0.1.
  • G10 Piped Services: G10/AS1, G10/VM1
    AS/NZS 5601.1:2013 is updated to the latest version, including consequential changes to G10/AS1 paragraph 5.0.1.
  • G11 Gas as an Energy Source: G11/AS1
    AS/NZS 5601.1:2013 is updated to the latest version.
  • G12 Water Supplies: G12/AS1, G12/AS2, G12/VM1
    Eight referenced Standards for pipe materials, design and installation, including AS/NZS 3500.1 and AS/NZS 3500.4, are updated to the latest versions and BS EN 1567:1999 is referenced. Minor corrections, clarifications and consequential changes from updating Standards are made to G12/AS1 and G12/AS2.
  • G13 Foul Water: G13/AS1, G13/AS2, G13/AS3, G13/VM2
    Five referenced Standards for pipe materials, design and installation, including AS/NZS 3500.2, are updated to the latest versions and consequential changes are made to G13/AS1, G13/AS2 and G13/AS3. Minor changes are made in G13/AS1 relating to air admittance valves.
  • G14 Industrial Liquid Waste: G14/VM1
    Four referenced Standards for pipe materials and installation are updated to the latest versions.
  • H1 Energy Efficiency: H1/AS1, H1/VM1
    NZS 4218:2009 replaces the 2004 version in H1/AS1 and H1/VM1. Overall the requirements in H1/AS1 do not change, but foil insulation is no longer within the scope of H1/AS1.
Show more

GoShift – a simpler, faster way to obtain consent

GoShift is an initiative involving more than 20 councils from Western Bay of Plenty to Nelson to deliver consistent and timely building consents. MBIE supports this best practice initiative from the councils involved.

GoShift will deliver standard and common forms, templates and checklists, promoting a consistent consenting experience for customers and builders working around the middle and lower North Island and top of the South Island. 

Progress to date

  • The GoShift website went live in August 2016.
    • The first key deliverable – a common application form set – was completed and released to member councils in August 2016. The form set is available on the website.
  • Currently, 10 GoShift councils are using the application form set and have reported a smooth transition to the new forms.
  • The shared online service will be piloted in the first half of 2017 by nine councils – including Wellington City Council, which started the initiative and is the largest GoShift council.
    • It is anticipated that this service will be available to all other GoShift councils from 1 July 2017.

MBIE is aware that many building consent authorities and practitioners around the country are also keen to improve the way the consent system works. If you have questions about GoShift or want to contribute, please contact

Read more about GoShift

Show more

Exemption 2 – Territorial and regional authority discretionary exemptions

Territorial authorities (city or district councils) or regional authorities (regional councils) are able to use their discretion to exempt any proposed building work from requiring a building consent, so long as certain conditions are met under clause 2 (or ‘exemption 2’) of Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004.

The conditions that need to be met to qualify for an exemption are:

  • the completed building work is likely to comply with the Building Code, or
  • if the completed building work does not comply with the Building Code, it is unlikely to endanger people or any building, whether on the same land or on other property.

Exemption 2 is the only exemption in Schedule 1 that requires a territorial or regional authority to make a decision about any proposed building work. For the other 42 exemptions, it is the property owner who makes the decision as to whether an exemption in Schedule 1 applies.

Any type of building work (from simple, low-risk to complex engineered projects) can potentially be considered under exemption 2. However, all building work carried out under this exemption needs to comply fully with all other relevant legislation (for example, the Resource Management Act 1991).

Some territorial authorities have developed and publicly published their policies and procedures around the types of building work they would consider issuing an exemption 2 for under the current legislation. For example, Christchurch City Council specifies the types of residential and commercial building work that it would consider issuing an exemption 2 for, on a case-by-case basis. The council also states the types of building work that it will generally not consider under exemption 2.

If, as an owner or agent, you are considering applying for an exemption 2, you should discuss this with the relevant territorial or regional authority.

Building work that does not require a building consent

Building work that does not require a building consent [PDF 190 KB] – relating to Christchurch City Council is available on the council's website.

Guidance in relation to Schedule 1(k) exemptions and issuing building infringement notices [PDF 589 KB] – outlines good practice in relation to clause (k) of December 2010’s version of Schedule 1, which is equivalent to the current exemption 2. This document also covers some suggested policies and procedures for territorial and regional authorities.

Show more

Using staged building consents

Owners can make a series of building consent applications for stages of proposed building work (‘staged building consents’) under Section 44(2) of the Building Act 2004.

Staged building consents may be useful where the scope of each stage of your building work (new build or alterations) can be clearly defined. Applications that might be staged include, but are not limited to:

  • multi-storey buildings
  • multi-unit apartments or development blocks
  • large public buildings (eg shopping malls, hospitals).

For example, staged building consents would be suitable for the demolition of an existing four-storey building on a central city site, followed by the ‘fast-track‘ construction of a new eight-storey office building that will be occupied by a single tenant.

Fast-track construction allows the early building work, which is fully documented by the plans and specifications, to proceed once consented, even though the design team is yet to complete the detailed design, working drawings and associated documents for the upcoming stages of the project.

Such a project could be handled as a series of four consents:

Stage 1 – demolition and removal of existing four-storey building

Stage 2 – site works/retaining walls/foundations/basement car park/ground floor slab/drainage

Stage 3 – remainder of the ‘base-build’ above the ground floor slab, including structure, weathertight building envelope (cladding, glazing, roofing) and base-build services (plumbing, electrical, mechanical services, lifts, fire protection)

Stage 4 – internal fitout of tenanted spaces, including the connection to base-build services.

Since each stage is a unique building consent, a Code Compliance Certificate will be issued for each stage once the building consent authority (BCA) is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the building work has been completed in accordance with the consented documents.

Although staged building consents are typically used with larger-scale building projects, such consents could also be used on a simple detached house build. If you are considering a staged building consent, MBIE recommends engaging with your BCA early in the design process.

Staged consents has more information.

Show more

Partnership Approvals are a catch-all service for developers

Construction projects rely on a wide range of approvals from local authorities. Access to an efficient service that encourages strong working relationships can substantially contribute to a development’s success.

Councils throughout the country have shown significant interest in the Partnership Approvals service run by Christchurch City Council. This provides a single point of contact throughout the life of a project, from concept to completion, and has changed the way the council works with its development customers.

There are a variety of associated checks and approvals, both within and alongside resource consent and building consent approvals. These include:

  • road corridor access
  • water supply
  • wastewater removal
  • stormwater
  • environmental health 
  • transport. 

The Partnership Approvals service identifies the requirements at each stage. It helps avoid surprises and delays in construction planning, as well as offering certainty around construction start times. This reduces costs caused by delays and means occupants can move into buildings as planned.

Partnership Approvals can be applied to large-scale projects, including those with critical timeframes and technical challenges. Customers can also have multiple projects managed as portfolios of work. In addition, a basic comparison between projects that do and don’t use Partnership Approvals shows that it saves one third of the total elapsed building consent processing time.

How it works

Currently the Christchurch City Council has a dedicated team of six staff managing more than 200 projects through Partnership Approvals. The service is adaptable but follows a basic structure, which is managed in an online platform with full client and staff visibility:

  • Early engagement – concept planning stage, a case manager is assigned.
  • Project discovery – identify all regulatory approvals, common causes of delays shared.
  • Pre-application consultation – meetings, emails and phone discussions between client and council technical staff.
  • Application management – monitor activity as consents, licences and other approvals are processed. Support for council staff to obtain the information they need to give approvals.
  • Construction – manage changes and stages, monitor activity and ensure documentation is ready for final processes.
  • Completion – facilitate Certificates for Public Use, Code Compliance Certificates and other licences required for occupation of buildings (such as health and alcohol).

For further information contact Aaron Haymes at Christchurch City Council (03 941 8999 or

Show more

LBP knowledge link

LBP Registrar update (Codewords 76)

It’s hard to believe it is 2017 already. Following on from a busy 2016, this year looks set to be another bumper one for the industry.

Paul HobbsPaul Hobbs

We have received a lot of positive feedback from licensed building practitioners (LBPs) on the information we provide in Codewords. It’s great you’re enjoying the articles – please let us know if there is a part of the scheme you would like us to concentrate on in the future.

The two LBP articles in this edition relate to what you need to know about supervision, as well as recent changes made to the competencies for external plastering, bricklaying and blocklaying and design. The majority of these changes are subtle technical or regulatory updates with one exception – external plastering. The proprietary plaster cladding system (PPCS) area of practice (AoP) has been amended to include the installation of a wider range of substrates (eg aerated concrete panel). Previously this AoP only related to exterior insulating finishing systems (EIFS) or lightweight fibre cement-based sheet or cladding systems.

In the last edition we updated you on skills maintenance and now a new LBP portal has been designed to help you easily manage your skills maintenance requirements online. If you have been notified that you have been phased into the new scheme you can log points and complete your quiz-related material online at – and don’t forget your ‘elective skills maintenance points’ can be satisfied in part or wholly by reading other sections of Codewords, so enjoy all the great content.

Finally, the November 2016 earthquakes in the upper South and lower North Islands serve as a stark reminder of how important it is to design and build resilient Code-compliant buildings. Refining and improving our collective understanding of building performance is an ongoing challenge, which is all the more reason to maintain a relevant, current set of skills.

Show more

LBP competencies amended

Developments in construction industry practices mean that licence class competencies need to be updated and clarified from time to time to remain relevant. It’s important to keep licence class competencies up to date to make sure LBP skills and knowledge are relevant and current.

Licence classes - External Plastering, Brick and Blocklaying and Design

Consultation process

In 2014 and again in early 2016, MBIE consulted publicly on the proposed changes to the structure and substance of the LBP licence class competencies and received quality feedback from LBPs and industry groups.

Amendments to the LBP rules

The amendments are generally technical in nature. They update and clarify competencies to reflect current practice and improve competency structure. Some of the main changes are summarised below. The most significant changes affect the external plastering competencies.

External plastering

  • Proposed insertion of a new area of practice for stucco will be removed as it is too specific. The changes are intended to create broader competencies that are inclusive rather than specific to allow for future changes.
  • Performance indicators for the installation of substrates in the external plastering competencies are included. This means the installation of a cladding substrate is now considered restricted building work and must be completed by an LBP carpenter or external plasterer only. It was also recognised that competent solid plasterers commonly apply ‘sand-and-cement plaster’ over a wide range of surfaces, regardless of the substrate. This trend is being reflected in national qualifications offered by training providers.
  • Generic terminology – ‘installation of the substrate’ – in the proprietary plaster cladding system (PPCS) external plastering competencies is included. This will close a loophole in the current competencies where installation of some substrates (eg aerated concrete panel) is not considered restricted building work. This change means an LBP carpenter or an external plasterer must install or supervise the installation of substrate.
  • Since the LBP scheme’s inception the PPCS competencies were limited to installing and plastering over two specific substrates – lightweight fibre cement-based sheet or an exterior insulating finishing system (EIFS). PPCS will now encompass a broader range of substrates that an LBP must install or supervise.
  • A new competency ‘Work Safely’ will be added to external plastering to bring together a range of safety performance indicators into one place. The Health and Safety at Work Act is now cited in place of the Health and Safety in Employment Act.
  • There are also more explicit requirements for following a building consent where one has been issued.
  • These changes were confirmed on 10 November 2016 and will take effect on 23 March 2017.

Bricklaying and blocklaying

  • A proposed change updates the list of technical information an LBP should be competent in understanding and applying. This reflects changes in Acceptable Solutions and Standards.
  • A new competency ‘Work Safely’ will be added to bring together a range of safety performance indicators. The Health and Safety at Work Act is now cited in place of the Health and Safety in Employment Act.
  • Reference to E2/AS3 (the code of practice for weathertight concrete and concrete masonry construction) has been included. Some references to NZS:3604 have been removed, given section 11 has largely been moved into E2/AS1 and out of the Standard.
  • Minor changes have been made to the performance indicator description to better reflect the type of work practitioners undertake. They now read ‘structural masonry or veneer’ and not ‘bricks or blocks’.
  • There are also more explicit requirements for following a building consent where one has been issued.
  • These changes took effect on 10 November 2016.


  • A new competency ‘Manage construction phase design’ will bring together some performance indicators from other competencies to improve the definition and structure of competencies.
  • There are changes to the competencies relating to the client/designer working relationship. These are about establishing agreed terms of engagement, timeframes and associated costs with the design process.
  • Duplication of performance indicators has been removed from the competencies to make them clearer.
  • These changes took effect on 10 November 2016.

What will these changes mean for practitioners?


The changes to the PPCS external plastering competencies may affect some installers of aerated concrete panel products and other related cladding systems. This work will become restricted building work and businesses or practitioners may need to upskill their staff to become LBPs or engage LBPs to carry out or supervise the work.

Transition period for PPCS: The rule changes for external plastering include a transition period of four months – they come into force on 23 March 2017 to allow affected groups to prepare for this change.

Other changes

The other changes are largely technical and should have a limited effect on current or prospective LBPs as most are about better aligning the competencies with current work practices and recent regulatory change.

You can read more about the scheme, including the LBP rules that outline the current competencies, on the LBP website:


1. Where is E2/AS3 now referenced?

a. In section 7 of the Building Act.
b. In the bricklaying and blocklaying competencies.
c. In the 2017 NZ Builders Omnibus.
d. NZS:3604.

2. Which licence class has been broadened to encompass a wider range of cladding substrates?

a. External plastering proprietary plaster cladding system (PPCS).
b. Design.
c. Bricklaying and blocklaying.
d. Roofing.

3. Which of the three licence classes discussed above includes new measures for establishing agreed terms of engagement, timeframes and associated costs with the design process?

a. None.
b. Bricklaying and blocklaying.
c. External plastering.
d. Design.

Check your answers

Show more

Know Your Stuff: Revisiting supervision

The Building Practitioners Board has recently written a significant complaint decision relating to supervision of building work provided by licensed building practitioners (LBPs). While supervision has been covered in earlier issues of Codewords, this decision provides further important information for LBPs.

Article is relevant to all LBP licence classes.

In C2-01143, the complaint against the LBP was about the poor level of supervision they provided to others. The Board upheld the complaint and the LBP was disciplined. While the work involved was not carried out under a building consent, the LBP had undertaken to supervise and control the work of others and the Board decided they could be held accountable for their actions.

As part of the complaint decision, the Board provided a breakdown of some of the major considerations, which LBPs should bear in mind when they are supervising work.

In terms of building work the definition of supervision is:

supervise, in relation to building work, means provide control or direction and oversight of the building work to an extent that is sufficient to ensure that the building work—
(a) is performed competently; and
(b) complies with the building consent under which it is carried out.

The Board’s major considerations are:

Supervision applies to all building work supervised by an LBP

LBPs can be held to account for building work done under their supervision. If there is no requirement for a building consent then it must be performed competently. If there is a building consent then your work must also comply with that.

Type and complexity of the building work to be supervised

Some types of work are inherently riskier and more complex than others. Generally the more complex and risky the work, the more supervision is needed to ensure that work is carried out competently.

For example, you would provide more support to, and supervision of, someone carrying out the construction of a multi-planed roof structure than someone building a standard gable-end roof.

Experience of the person being supervised

The degree of supervision required depends on the ability of the person you are supervising. A first-year apprentice requires more, and closer, supervision than someone who has been working in the trade for many years. You might work on-site every day with the apprentice but visit other experienced and skilled or semi-skilled staff a few times each week or at key points in the building work.

Supervisor’s experience in working with the person being supervised and confidence in their ability

While similar to the previous consideration, this relates more to the supervisor’s confidence in their co-worker’s ability. It may be that you have a fourth-year apprentice who has shown they are very cautious and careful compared to a semi-skilled co-worker who rushes their work and doesn’t take time to read plans properly.

Although the apprentice has been working for less time, you might have more confidence in their ability to work without direct supervision and so may spend less time with them. Similarly, if you have observed someone perform a task competently on more than one occasion then it is more likely they will be able to do this again without direct supervision.

It is always good to take a conservative, risk-based approach until you have developed a good grasp and understanding of the ability of the people you are supervising. It is also important to consider which parts of the job are more complex and will need more supervision.

Number of persons or projects being supervised

As is noted above, supervising others means you are directly responsible for ensuring their work is performed competently and to the building consent if there is one. As a supervisor you need to be able to provide each worker or each project with a sufficient level of supervision to ensure that the work is carried out competently.

However, there are obvious limits on how much work can be adequately supervised and supervisors need to be aware when they become too busy to provide good support to their co-workers.

Geographic spread of the work being supervised

Supervision mostly involves direct site contact with co-workers and observation of the building work taking place. There might be occasions where some supervision can be undertaken remotely (by phone for example), but generally a supervisor should have regular direct contact at the site and with the people they are supervising.

Consider the geographical spread of your work – if you have jobs in Auckland, Wellington and Napier, it’s going to be difficult to provide adequate supervision to all these jobs given the physical separation of these sites.

The compliance of the building work

Ultimately most complaints about LBPs include concerns as to whether the building work has been performed competently and meets the requirements of the building consent, if there is one. If there are multiple or serious non-compliance issues then supervision of that work will come under close scrutiny. The supervising LBP may be disciplined, fined or lose their licence.


Ensure you are providing sufficient support for the people you are supervising for the work that they undertake, and that you can be there when needed. You need to have good business practices in place so that those you are supervising are able to reach you when they need support or clarification. If you are not able to provide the required level of supervision to your workers, you may need to engage an LBP to supervise or upskill some of your staff to become LBPs.

Read the decision about Complaint number C2-01143 on the LBP website.


1. What kind of employee could you visit occasionally to check if there are any outstanding issues and that they know what they are doing?

a. A first-year apprentice.
b. An experienced worker whom you’ve worked with for several years.
c. An experienced worker that you’ve only recently employed but aren’t sure of their ability.

2. How far apart can your jobs be so that you can supervise them both?

a. It depends on the staff on-site – you need to know their abilities to know how much supervision is required.
b. 20 minutes’ drive.
c. As far as Wellington and Auckland.

3. What can happen if you don’t provide good supervision?

a. Nothing.
b. Your worker could be told off by the local council inspector.
c. You could be disciplined by the Board.

4. How do you know what is good supervision?

a. You need to ensure your workers have enough support, taking into account their skills, experience and knowledge of their current task.
b. You don’t need to worry about it, as long as you sign a record of work, it's good enough.
c. No amount of supervision is good enough – you need to be on-site with all of your workers every minute.

Check your answers

Show more

Recent determinations

Determination 2016/056 – Summary

Determination 2016/056 discusses the information provided to establish compliance with clause B1 Structure for a solid timber house and whether the variation between the ‘as-built work’ and the approved building consent is a minor variation or amendment in accordance with the Building (Minor Variations) Regulations 2009.

The determination considered whether the building consent authority (BCA) correctly exercised its power of decision in refusing to issue a Code Compliance Certificate for the ‘as-built’ building work. If the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) concluded that the BCA incorrectly exercised its decision powers, the question then became whether the BCA could issue a code compliance certificate in respect of the ‘as-built’ work. This in turn depended on whether the variation between the as-built work and the consented work could be considered a minor variation or amendment.

The building work and background

The house is essentially a simple rectangular design constructed on timber pile foundations with a solid timber superstructure. The timber walls consist of interlocking tongue and groove boards that span horizontally between supports. The house has a timber ceiling supported on timber beams. Vertical 10mm diameter tie rods, installed within the wall boards, tie the structure to the foundation.

The applicant applied for and received building consent to construct the house described above. ‘Technical documentation’ which formed part of the consent application, including bracing values and a PS1 issued by a chartered professional engineer, belonged to a construction company that used its own proprietary solid timber construction system to create kit sets. The applicant used the technical documentation to support the consent application, despite the fact that he did not use the proprietary componentry and the specifications differed from the other company’s design in respect of the width of the exterior boards used and the tie rods used to fasten the roof to the foundation. When the BCA discovered that the as-built building work did not use the proprietary components and differed from the other company’s design, they refused to issue a Code Compliance Certificate for the as-built building work on the grounds that building work did not comply with the building consent.


The applicant provided a design manual and calculations for the profiled timber board system used to construct the house. The manual and calculations were reviewed by an expert engaged on behalf of MBIE, and were subsequently revised by the applicant. The applicant also provided the results of bracing tests and a PS1 from a consulting engineer. Based on all of the information received, MBIE was satisfied on reasonable grounds that the as-built work complied with clause B1 of the Building Code. MBIE noted, however, that this information was not available to the BCA at the time it assessed the application for a Code Compliance Certificate and without this information the BCA’s decision not to issue code compliance was correct.

Having decided that the as-built building work complied with clause B1, the question then became whether the BCA could issue a Code Compliance Certificate in respect of the as-built work. This in turn depended on whether the variations between the as-built work and the consented work could be considered a minor variation. The variations in question were aspects of the applicant’s construction system that differed from those specified in the constructing company’s technical documentation which formed part of the consent.

A minor variation is a minor modification, addition, or variation to a building consent that does not deviate significantly from the plans and specifications to which the building consent relates. If a variation is minor then an applicant can apply to amend the building consent and the amendment does not need to be in a prescribed form, and does not require the authority to issue an amended consent; the minor variation needs only to be recorded in writing.

MBIE concluded both variations could be viewed as minor as they did not deviate significantly from the plans and specifications to which the building consent related. Accordingly, MBIE concluded that the building consent did not require amendment and the applicant could apply for a minor variation to the building consent in respect of the two variations.

The decision

The determination confirmed the BCA was correct to refuse to issue the Code Compliance Certificate based on the information before it at the time it made its decision.

Determination 2016/056 in full.

Previous determinations is a register of all previous determinations.

Show more

Previous issues

About Codewords: Our Codewords newsletter is published six times a year. It will keep you up to date on the latest regulatory and related information for the building and construction industry.

Codewords issues are available for two years after their publish date. If the issue you are looking for is older, please contact us.

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: