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Codewords Issue 81

28 November 2017

In this issue:

Welcome to the final edition of Codewords for 2017 – and my first issue as the new ‘face’ of our newsletter.

Over summer, we are reminding homeowners of the need to use a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) for restricted building work (RBW) and also on the importance of having a contract for residential building work costing $30,000 or more. For more information, including our Build it Right videos, check out:

This edition of Codewords includes articles on rapid land assessment workshops, and builders’ responsibilities. We also recap two recent BC Updates on the new version of unreinforced masonry guidance, and a revised scope for C/VM2.

MBIE’s Building CodeHub is up and running. This search engine makes it easy to find all relevant resources you need to design buildings that comply with the current New Zealand Building Code. It’s a great tool and I recommend you save the link.

Visit Building CodeHub

We’ve seen a lot of changes lately – for our Building System Performance (BSP) branch (as mentioned in the previous edition of Codewords) and also for the country, with a new government and a new Minister for Building and Construction, the Hon Jenny Salesa.

Initial discussions with Minister Salesa have highlighted that how we can use our processes to best support KiwiBuild is key for her. This will be a strong focus for MBIE. KiwiBuild also presents an opportunity to tackle more significant system challenges, such as helping strengthen professionalism and skill levels across a large and diverse workforce (including getting the workers needed to support continued strong building demand), as well as addressing skills constraints at all levels.

Engagement with our new minister and government was also a key topic of discussion at this month’s Building Advisory Panel meeting, the final for the year. The panel provides guidance and advice on how MBIE can support an innovative and high-performing sector.

BSP has big aspirations for our industry, and I know many of you share those – I’m looking forward to a strong, collaborative 2018 for the building and construction industry.

Finally, with the end of the year fast approaching I hope you take some time over the summer months to relax with your family and friends, and enjoy a well-deserved break and a great New Year.

Anna Butler

Anna Butler

GM, Building System Performance

Code and technical changes

Free rapid assessment workshops for geo-professionals

Geotechnical professionals who are interested in applying their skills in a civil defence response are invited to attend a free MBIE workshop in early 2018.

The workshops will be run in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and provide training on how to assess geo-hazards that could pose a life-safety risk to building occupants, as part of a rapid building assessment process. Once trained, participants will be added to MBIE’s register of rapid building assessors who can be called on to help during a state of emergency, or during a lesser event in special circumstances.

This course is for geo-professionals (especially CPEng and PEngGeol) with at least three years’ experience, including the assessment of geo-hazards and/or land instability

The geotechnical field guide, published by MBIE earlier this year, is the key resource and provides further information on the assessment process.

The all-day programme will include training on:

  • the Civil Defence Emergency Management structure
  • the rapid geotechnical assessment process and the role of the geo-professional in an emergency event
  • identifying geotechnical life-safety hazards and standard descriptions
  • decision-making on application of placards
  • completing assessment forms
  • interacting with residents and building owners
  • safety and wellbeing.

Register to attend a workshop. Please note that limited spaces are available.

If you have any queries, please email your questions to buildingtraining@mbie.govt.nz

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BC Update 224: New version of guidance 'Securing parapets and facades on URM buildings'

On 10 October 2017 MBIE published a new version of its guidance on securing parapets and facades on unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings.

The key changes in the new version are:

  • a revision of the figures in Tables 1 and 2, on page 48, showing maximum unbraced parapet heights for support heights of 5.0 m and 10.0 m for one and two-storey buildings respectively
  • the addition of two new tables, on page 49, which show maximum unbraced parapet heights for support heights of 4.0 m and 8.0 m for one and two-storey buildings respectively
  • a correction to the caption for Figure 4 on page 31, which shows scope diagrams for two and three-storey buildings.

Securing parapets and facades on unreinforced masonry buildings

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BC Update 225: Revised scope for C/VM2 Framework for Fire Safety Design

On 24 November 2017 MBIE amended the scope for Building Code Verification Method C/VM2 Framework for Fire Safety Design.

Consultation on the revised scope for C/VM2 took place from May to July 2017 as part of a package of proposed changes to the documents that provide a means of compliance with the Protection from Fire Building Code clauses.

C/VM2 is a way of demonstrating that a building design meets the fire provisions of the Building Code.

No changes to the Building Code requirements have been introduced by the revised scope. By amending the scope, building consent authorities (BCAs) and designers have greater clarity of demonstrated performance requirements when designs for some types of buildings are submitted for building consent approval. This reduces the risk of designs having to be re-worked.

A transition period for implementing this scope change is not considered necessary as the changes clarify its intended and appropriate use.

The previous scope meant C/VM2 applied to all buildings except tunnels and open air stadia. The revised scope means C/VM2 applies to all buildings except those that:  

  • require configuration of the evacuation procedures in order to meet the fire provisions of the Building Code (such as tall buildings where evacuation is delayed or sequenced), or
  • require managed evacuation schemes (such as international airport terminals or buildings containing patient care facilities at hospitals), or
  • the nature of the fire that could occur in the building is not reasonably defined within the given rules and parameters.

The change to C/VM2 scope aligns with the consultation proposal and takes into consideration sector feedback received from the consultation process.

Fire safety design for buildings that are outside of C/VM2 can be performed using the Fire Engineering Brief (FEB) process along with the use of appropriate parts of C/VM2, which can be considered by the BCA as an alternative solution.

If you have a design underway that you are concerned about, please contact your BCA in the first instance to discuss what, if any, additional information you may need to provide.

Further detailed changes to C/VM2, which were consulted on from May to July 2017, are still being considered by MBIE and will involve further consultation on technical changes. This current scope amendment is considered a priority change within MBIE’s wider fire safety programme. 

Read Verification Method C/VM2 [PDF 1.0 MB]

Information on MBIE’s Fire Safety Proposals consultation is available on the MBIE Corporate website

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NZBN – more than just a number for Kiwi businesses

A New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) makes it quicker and easier for you to do business in New Zealand.

Used to its full potential, the NZBN isn’t just a number, it’s a business asset that will, over time, create a transactional environment with greater certainty of identity, more reliable information and less duplication.

The NZBN is a free, unique identifier (a 13-digit number) available to all businesses in New Zealand, whether you’re a big corporate or a self-employed local builder. The NZBN is linked to the key business information you are most often asked to share with other businesses and government agencies – like your trading name, phone number and email address.

By streamlining business processes and making it faster to share information, the NZBN will offer businesses a range of benefits over time, including:

  • smoother financial transactions, as new ways to invoice customers, pay bills and apply for credit will be enabled.
  • more efficient procurement and business transactions, such as onboarding new suppliers and customers, will be faster and simpler. 
  • being able to see supply chains, build trusted networks, improve customer service, and a whole lot more.

Organisations are currently building the NZBN into systems and processes such as finance, procurement, customer relationship management, tenders, reporting and more. If you’re in business, it’s likely your customers or suppliers will soon be asking for your NZBN.

If your company is registered in NZ, you are automatically allocated an NZBN through the Companies Office. Sole traders (contractors), partnerships and trusts can get their NZBN on the NZBN website.

What’s an NZBN? on the New Zealand Business Number website has more information, including how to get your NZBN. You can also watch a video to find out how the NZBN will help transform the way you do business.

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LBP knowledge link

LBP Registrar update (Codewords 81)

Welcome to the final edition of LBP Knowledge for 2017.

Paul HobbsPaul Hobbs

This edition signals the end of another busy year for those working in the sector. One thing’s clear – things don’t appear to be letting up anytime soon! 

First, we’d like to remind you that the requirements for completing skills maintenance have been amended. To make it easier for LBPs there are now three ways to submit skills maintenance activities:

  • using the online LBP portal
  • submitting a PDF from an external online skills maintenance service
  • if you prefer paper, by submitting your skills maintenance declaration with your relicensing form via the post.

The team is confident this new ‘mixed-method’ approach is the right way forward, and we’ll monitor the system as the sector continues to develop.

If you’re an LBP and have any questions about your skills maintenance, head to the LBP website or contact the team by phone on 0800 60 60 50 or email on licensing@lbp.govt.nz

We have published several articles about the new skills model in recent editions of Codewords – you may find it useful to read over these or discuss them with your workmates.   

In this edition we have two regulatory articles – the first is about builder responsibilities and the second is about records of work (RoWs). We’ve been promoting good practice around issuing RoWs for some time now, but the Building Practitioners Board is still receiving a high number of complaints about clients not receiving a RoW. It’s worth noting that in the early days of the Electrical Workers scheme electrical certificates of compliance were not always issued in a timely or compliant manner by electrical workers. However, now that this system is well entrenched, this is much less of an issue.  

After focusing on builder responsibilities in this edition, look out for a similar article for designers next time.

One final note – your next LBP ID card will have a new look helping our brand stay modern and relevant. However, nothing is changing in respect of the LBP logo you print or place on your card or car.

Enjoy the coming summer months and we look forward to another busy and productive year in 2018.    

Paul Hobbs
Registrar Building Practitioner Licensing

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Always play by the rules with records of work (RoW)

When completing and issuing records of work (RoWs), licensed building practitioners (LBPs) have certain obligations.

Roofing, Brick and Block Laying, Carpentry, External Plastering, Foundations

The Building Practitioners Board (the Board) continues to receive a high number of complaints about LBPs not issuing RoWs when they are required. Not providing a RoW is a poor reason to come before the Board so please ensure your records are up to date.

You can read more information on how RoWs should be used in a previous Codewords article: Know your stuff: For the record.

What are the rules?

Each LBP who carries out or supervises restricted building work (RBW) must, on completion of the RBW, provide a RoW to the home owner and territorial authority (the local council). This requirement is set out in section 88 of the Building Act. It is also a disciplinary matter for LBPs if a RoW is not provided when one is required – meaning that you could be disciplined by the Board.

What is a RoW for?

A RoW is designed to be a documented record of who carried out or supervised RBW under a building consent.

It protects you by listing only what you did, removing future uncertainly in situations where multiple contractors have performed or supervised RBW on one site. For this reason the accuracy of the record is important as it will remain with the building records for the life of the building. It serves as an enduring and accurate record of RBW undertaken on-site.

How does this play out in practice?

When you have completed your portion of RBW on-site you should:

  • complete a RoW, either in the LBP portal or by using another valid method, eg the standard Record of Work (RoW) form.
  • ensure the record is sufficiently detailed so it describes each aspect of the RBW you either carried out or supervised (your role could include a combination of supervision and doing work)
  • provide a copy of the RoW to both the home owner and to the local council.

What if I don’t provide a RoW?

You could face disciplinary action by the Board if you do not provide a RoW when one is required. You must not withhold a RoW for non-payment of work under a building contract or simply because you are in dispute with the client.

Failure to provide a RoW is a disciplinary matter for which the Board has zero tolerance.

For a more detailed overview of these requirements, refer to the Board’s decision on the LBP website: Complaint No. C2 01170

The RoW process


Quiz

1) What is the reason for a Record of Work?

a. To make sure the home owner doesn’t do anything they’re not supposed to.
b. To record who carried out the restricted landscaping and electrical work on a particular job.
c. To record who carried out or supervised restricted building work on a job.

2) Why should you add full details to a record of work?

a. The law requires you write at least 150 words to complete it.
b. MBIE says you have to.
c. It can protect you by listing only what you did, excluding other people’s work.

3) How long after you finish your work should you provide a copy to the home owner and the local council?

a. On completion of the RBW.
b. By the time the code compliance certificate is applied for.
c. Less than one year.

Check your answers

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Know your responsibilities as a builder

Under the Building Act 2004 people who take part in building work have certain responsibilities.

Some of these responsibilities are highlighted under sections 14A–14F of the Act to ensure that if you take part in building work, you are responsible for your part of the project.
There are sections for different parties – from owners, designers, builders, through to building consent authorities. This article takes a brief look at builders’ responsibilities.

Who is a builder?

Section 14E applies to builders. It states that a builder includes anyone carrying out building work, regardless of whether or not they are in trade. The following would all be considered builders as they are all doing building work:

  • an owner-builder doing restricted building work (RBW) under an owner-builder exemption they received from the council
  • an external plasterer’s apprentice
  • a fully-fledged licensed building practitioner (LBP) carpenter

Builders’ responsibilities

A builder has two responsibilities under section 14E:

  1. to ensure that the building work complies with the building consent and any consented plans and specifications
  2. to ensure that any building work not covered by a building consent still complies with the Building Code.

This means that if you’re doing building work, you need to make sure that it complies with any consent requirements such as inspections, natural hazards or resource management conditions. You need to follow the consented plans and specifications, and have them amended or varied if you need to deviate from them.

As always, if you’re undertaking exempt building work, it needs to comply with the Building Code. This is made clear in section 17 of the Act, which states that “all building work must comply with the Building Code”.

While the owner (or someone they contract to act as their agent) is responsible for obtaining a building consent before starting building work (covered in section 14B for owners), LBPs can be disciplined for carrying out work where a building consent was required but not obtained.

LBP responsibilities

An LBP has additional responsibilities when they are a builder under the Act. An LBP is also required to ensure:

  1. that any RBW is carried out or supervised as required by the Act
  2. they are licensed to carry out or supervise the RBW they are undertaking.

Section 14E clearly states overarching builder responsibilities in one place. In addition, for LBPs, the grounds for discipline are set out in section 317, and other sections of the Act also state that you need to be licensed to carry out or supervise RBW.

If you, as an LBP, don’t follow the responsibilities set out in section 14E or the other requirements of the Act, you could be disciplined by the Building Practitioners Board or you could even be committing an offence that could lead to prosecution.

You can read more about exempt building work in previous issues of Codewords.

Quiz

1) Who is responsible for obtaining a building consent?

a. Any licensed building practitioner working on a new build.
b. It’s the local council’s job to make sure you get one.
c. The home owner needs to obtain one before starting building work.
d. All building work is exempt building work as long as it complies with the Building Code.

2) Who can carry out restricted building work?

a. Licensed building practitioners and owner-builders who are working under an owner-builder exemption.
b. Anyone who works as a builder.
c. Licensed building practitioners.

3) As a builder, where does it say that I have to build in accordance with the Building Code?

a. The Licensed Building Practitioners Rules 2007.
b. In a few sections of the Building Act 2004, including section 14E.
c. Section 88 of the Building Act 2004.
d. Only in section 17 of the Building Act 2004.

Check answers

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LBP on quality control in construction

Being the quality manager at a large construction company in New Zealand is a big role, but Daniel Manchester loves it.

Daniel ManchesterDaniel Manchester

With 15 years behind him as a residential builder, and seven years working on the Christchurch rebuild, he’s fit for the job. 

Previously Daniel managed his own business as a builder, and working with staff and sub-contractors to meet customer expectations made him keen to improve his work management processes. 

Now that he’s an employee again he’s had time to take on further study while also maintaining his LBP Carpentry and Site licences. The LBP status has brought real value to his work as a quality manager. 

“With a trade background and being an LBP, it gives you an understanding of what realistically could happen on-site. It also keeps you involved in an industry that is continually evolving,” says Daniel. 

Daniel’s day-to-day work is varied, and he likes it that way. He works on high-level change management engaging closely with clients to assess risk, collect feedback from key stakeholders and provide the recommendations and support needed. 

“Operationally, I manage the system that helps our project managers record the work being completed on-site, or I’ll assist a project manager or contractor with a specific construction quality issue,” he adds. 

Daniel says good record-keeping is important for LBPs. 

“Get into the good habit of recording and documenting the work that you’ve completed. Don’t think of it as something that you just have to do, but as a useful tool you can learn from and revisit when you work on similar future projects. 

“It doesn’t have to be a thesis. A few short notes, some pictures and the time taken for the elements you’ve worked on should do the trick.” 

Daniel also recommends communicating with your clients and staff, and recording any decisions made. 

“People’s memories can be influenced by emotions and if they’re worried about certain items they’re likely to only concentrate on those. That’s where some simple notes can come in handy,” he says.

Daniel has been keeping up with the changing construction industry and has developed a keen interest in developing apps. A few years ago he worked on an app to record LBP skills maintenance. More recently he created an app for trade apprentices that allows their tutors and employers to view their completed work, and provide feedback. It also includes a place to enter a tool register, timesheets, records of work and access to industry news. 

It keeps him busy, and Daniel hopes the technology will encourage the next generation of LBPs.

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Board finds two LBPs to be operating well below the required standard

Two licensed building practitioners (LBPs) have been held to account by the Building Practitioners Board (the Board) for a range of serious offences relating to their performance, conduct and behaviour.

Christchurch-based LBP Stefan Mortimer recently had his licence cancelled and was ordered to pay costs of $1500 for what the Board considered to be a cavalier attitude towards Building Code compliance. The Board also found that Mr Mortimer did not accept a legal obligation to obtain a building consent for several habitable structures he constructed on a vacant section he owned.

The buildings Mr Mortimer erected did not meet the Building Code in terms of structural integrity, amenity or sanitation. In their decision the Board referred to a High Court decision and stated, ‘The Board considers the Court was envisaging that those who are in an integral positon as regards to building work, such as a licensed building practitioner, have a duty to ensure a building consent is obtained (if required). It follows that failing to do so can fall below the standards of care expected of a licensed building practitioner.’

The Board further commented as to the seriousness of the offending, stating ‘The LBP has been found to have committed three offences all of which are very serious. Moreover there was a continuing pattern of conduct and a flagrant disregard for the requirements of the Building Act and contempt for the Council and the Court’s processes when they took action. These are aggravating factors. The Board also considers the dangerous and insanitary nature of the building work is an aggravating factor.’

The complaint was laid by Christchurch City Council following a longstanding pattern of poor conduct and behaviour by the LBP in question.

Auckland LBP Satish Chand had his licence cancelled and was ordered to pay costs of $2000 for making a number of building-related errors disproportionate to what would be expected of an LBP holding the same licence class as Mr Chand. The Board found that the errors demonstrated a general lack of understanding and knowledge of the regulatory system, the Building Code and applicable technical standards. 

In the complaint the building consent authority, Auckland Council, noted that the building work that was the subject of the complaint failed multiple building inspections, which were often about the same matters. The building consent allowed for 12 inspections to be undertaken over the course of the consent, however 28 inspections were booked during the LBP’s involvement in the building work. Most of the failed inspections related to the weathertightness of the building’s external envelope.

In relation to the compliance of the work undertaken by Mr Chand, the Board stated, ‘The evidence provided to the Board showed clear instances of building work that had been carried out in a negligent manner and the failings were sufficiently serious enough to warrant a disciplinary outcome. The failure to deal with weathertightness in the correct manner was particularly concerning to the Board. Ensuring weathertightness in buildings was one of the reasons why the licensed building practitioner regime was brought into being.’ 

Learnings

The above cases show the Board will hold LBPs to account where they have failed to meet the expected standard.  We can also take away that a reasonable level of care, attention to detail and respect for the rules are required when carrying out building work.

Key points to take from these decisions:

  1. Consistently undertaking building work in a non-compliant manner is not a responsible, lawful or acceptable position to take.
  2. Knowingly undertaking building work that requires a consent without obtaining that consent is viewed as a serious offence. 
  3. LBPs should not treat the building consent authority as their quality assurer, compliance verifier or overseer.
  4. Regularly failing inspections is not a good look and you might have to explain why the work you undertook or supervised did not pass a building consent authority’s inspection process.

Complaints to the Building Practitioners Board on the LBP website has a guide to making a complaint about a licensed building practitioner, as well as the complaints process the Board follows when it receives a complaint.

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Recent determinations

Determination 2017/062

Determination 2017/062 discusses the requirements about attaching a section 37 certificate under the Building Act.

Background

A section 37 certificate is attached to a building consent and acts as notice to an owner that a resource consent will be required. The section 37 certificate also stops either all or some of the building work from starting until a resource consent has been granted. 

A building consent was issued by the building consent authority (BCA) for a proposed two-storey house, with a section 37 certificate attached to the building consent. The section 37 certificate identified height and ventilation issues infringing the District Plan rules. 

These issues were resolved and the section 37 certificate was removed from the building consent. However, when construction started the owners noticed their house was facing a different direction to the neighbouring houses. They contacted the BCA who identified that the orientation of the house infringed the District Plan rules. The BCA placed a ‘section 37 tag’ on the issued building consent to prevent further building work until a resource consent was obtained. 

Discussion

Resource consent is required when proposed building work does not comply with, or will infringe, the council’s District Plan rules and regulations that are set out under the Resource Management Act (RMA). 

The section 37 certificate that was attached to the building consent did not include the incorrect orientation of the house. The determination noted the removal of the section 37 certificate did not exempt the building work from requiring resource consent for this infringement. 

The BCA placed a ‘section 37 tag’ on the building consent. However, section 37 of the Building Act only allows for certificates to be attached to a building consent application, and cannot be retroactively attached after consent has been issued. Consequently, a second section 37 certificate could not be attached to include the incorrect house orientation. 

The determination noted the BCA was correct to alert the owners that the house orientation infringed the District Plan and that a resource consent was required. However, as the building consent had been issued, a further section 37 certificate could not be attached. Therefore, the BCA should have used the enforcement provisions of the RMA to remedy any infringements.

Determination 2017/062 in full.

Previous determinations is a register of all previous determinations.

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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 from 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: