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Codewords Issue 86

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28 September 2018

In this issue:

At the start of September MBIE met with the Building Advisory Panel (BAP) to discuss key projects and issues impacting the building and construction industry. The 11 panel members have a wide range of experience and knowledge and provide MBIE with independent strategic advice. The meeting covered a wide range of topics. This included risk and liability, improving the building consent process, strategies for communicating with and getting feedback from industry, a close look at work MBIE is doing on building products, and the construction skills strategy.

The construction skills strategy aims for the government to collaborate with industry to drive a rapid and sustainable shift that delivers the right people, at the right time, with the right skills, to meet New Zealand’s current and future construction needs. Expect to hear more about the work happening in this space.

Engagement with the sector is at the centre of a number MBIE projects. The Smarter Pathways project is taking a user-centric view of the ways to comply with the New Zealand Building Code. There needs to be a clear way to demonstrate compliance for a range of construction methods and housing types. MBIE has asked designers, builders, councils and construction students to take part in interviews and workshops across the country. The ideas and knowledge shared through these workshops and interviews will help MBIE to plan the next steps for the project.

MBIE is currently reviewing the CodeMark Scheme regulations to respond to known issues with the scheme. CodeMark is a product certification and assurance scheme. MBIE is proposing to make some changes to the CodeMark regulations and expects to seek key stakeholder feedback on the proposals for change in early October. If you are interested, keep a look out for a news article on Building Performance.

Finally, in mid-September the Building Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament. The Canterbury and Kaikōura earthquakes highlighted gaps in current legislation for managing buildings after an emergency. The Bill introduces an end-to-end process for emergency building management into the Building Act and looks at why buildings fail in an emergency. You can read more and make a submission on the Bill by visiting the Parliament website.

Enjoy this issue of Codewords.

Anna Butler

Anna Butler

GM, Building System Performance

Code and technical changes

BC Update 238: Consultation on proposal for new edition of Fire Acceptable Solution C/AS2

MBIE is seeking your feedback on a proposal to publish a new edition of Acceptable Solution (C/AS2) – a merger of the six separate Fire Acceptable Solution documents (C/AS2-7). The consultation runs from Monday 3 September 2018 until Friday 30 November 2018.

The proposed C/AS2 amends a number of omissions and inconsistencies following stakeholder engagement in recent years on the draft edition of the new Acceptable Solution.

In particular, three technical issues have been identified and included in the proposed C/AS2 Acceptable Solution as changes to performance settings:

  • adjusting the setting to prevent buildings within 1m of the boundary being constructed with no fire separations (eg all glass facades located on the property boundary)
  • removing “capable of storage consideration” and replacing it with a metric as per the settings prior to 2012
  • simplifying the content in C/AS2 by referencing D1/AS1 (Acceptable Solution for access routes) rather than repeating the content from D/AS1.

The consultation is a major piece of work focusing on Building Code clause C – Protection from Fire that requires targeted engagement with stakeholders who have previously contributed. Any changes as a result of the consultation will come into effect with the bi-annual Building Code system update scheduled for June 2019.

View the full proposal and information on how to provide feedback on the MBIE Corporate website.

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MBIE technical reviews to focus on pool barriers, EPBs and compliance schedules

MBIE's Building System Assurance team undertakes technical reviews of councils in their role as territorial authorities. The reviews look at whether the right systems, process and resources are in place at each council. This year the scope of these reviews is changing.

Previously MBIE's technical reviews focused on amending compliance schedules that were not captured by the building consent process, and enforcing the building warrant of fitness (BWoF) system via site audits, notices to fix and infringement notices. Non-compliances in relation to compliance schedules still feature as one of the most common findings of building consent authority accreditation assessments. MBIE will continue to review this building control activity as well as the enforcement of the BWoF system, however, it will do so on a reduced scale.

The scope of the 2018/19 technical reviews has been expanded to cover the new legislative requirements for residential pool barriers and earthquake-prone buildings (EPBs) that came into force in 2017 on 1 January and 1 July respectively.

Under section 162D of the Building Act 2004 (the Act), territorial authorities must ensure residential pools are inspected at least every three years to determine if pools have complying barriers.

Section 133AG of the Act requires territorial authorities to identify potentially EPBs within certain timeframes. The deadline for priority buildings within the high seismic risk area is 1 January 2020. This section includes a requirement for territorial authorities to report to MBIE on the progress they have made towards identifying potentially EPBs. Time frames for this reporting requirement vary by seismic risk area:

  • High – annually (reports for 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 were due on 13 August 2018) 
  • Medium – every two years
  • Low – every three years.

Territorial authorities whose districts only include areas of medium and/or low seismic risk areas do not need to report this year. If you require any assistance please contact EPB@mbie.govt.nz.

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MBIE to collaborate with industry through advisory group

MBIE is launching the Building Code Technical Risk Advisory Group (BCTRAG) to engage with a wide range of building sector participants.

As the building and construction regulator, MBIE wants to obtain expert building sector advice to increase our awareness of new emerging risks or changes to existing risk settings in the New Zealand Building Code system. This advice will help MBIE make decisions on what Building Code regulatory changes may be needed.

BCTRAG will focus on identifying technical risks in the Building Code system, and provide:

  • strategic advice to MBIE on risks related to the Building Code technical clauses (the A to H clauses) and the documents that provide a means of complying with the Building Code
  • feedback on building sector technical trends and innovations
  • advice on the wider impacts of Building Code performance settings.

MBIE has worked with Engineering New Zealand and the New Zealand Institute of Architects to set up BCTRAG. The group will have nine permanent members representing technical organisations in the building and construction sector.

The group will also interact with a number of organisations representing more specialist areas in the building sector. These organisations will also be able to provide input and expertise to the group discussions and give feedback on how the BCTRAG is functioning.

The first BCTRAG meeting will be held in November 2018 to set out how the group will function.

Chart of building code technical risk advisory group membersBuilding code technical risk advisory group members
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Immediate pool areas

Understanding what can be included in the immediate pool area can be helpful when deciding where to place your pool barrier. This article looks at what an immediate pool area is and the activities that can generally be included in the area.

An immediate pool area is defined in the Building Act as being:
"...the land in or on which the pool is situated and so much of the surrounding area as is used for activities carried out in relation to or involving the pool".

The definition of immediate pool area does not include a size limit. The immediate pool area must be considered on a case-by-case basis for each property. How the size of the immediate pool area is determined has been considered by the High Court in Waitakere City Council v Hickman and by previous determinations.

It is reasonable to expect the area around a pool that is used for activities in relation to or involving the pool will form part of the immediate pool area. The outer limit of the immediate pool is determined by how the area is used, and only extends as far as the area is used for activities related to or involving the pool.

Activities that can be included in the immediate pool area

Activities that can be included in the immediate pool area must be closely connected, associated or combined with the use of the pool. The further away from the edge of a pool, the less likely it will be that an activity can be regarded as being carried out in relation to or involving the pool.

Space for activities related to the use of the pool, such as for pool furniture, changing sheds, pumps or pool maintenance equipment, can be included within the immediate pool area. It is also common to enclose some land around the pool inside a barrier to allow people to sit or sunbathe.

The immediate pool area can include spaces where activities may sometimes take place independently of the pool – for example a space with a barbecue. Being able to carry out this activity without using the pool does not mean this area is automatically excluded from the immediate pool area.

Previous determinations have considered the following when assessing what can be included in the immediate pool area:

  • buildings, built features, facilities, amenities and the landscape proposed within the immediate pool area
  • the relationship between the immediate pool area and remaining areas of land and activities likely to occur in each, as well as their relative sizes
  • routes used to access the building and routes available to other areas of the property
  • the activities likely to occur in the immediate pool area and whether they have only a remote or indirect association with the use of the pool.

Areas that are commonly excluded from the immediate pool area include driveways, washing lines, main pedestrian access ways, gardens, and large planted areas for landscaping.

Recent determinations that consider immediate pool area include:

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LBP knowledge link

LBP Registrar update (Codewords 86)

Welcome to another issue of LBP Knowledge.

Paul Hobbs, Licensed Practitioner Registrar

Top plate connections can be a tricky detail that deserves attention, so our first LBP article will give you some hints on how to get this right. Better fixing quality should lead to fewer inspection failures, which is always good for all involved.

Our second article provides some really useful guidance for anyone pricing, estimating or quoting work. As you may have seen in the news recently, with trimmed margins in a high-pressure industry, misquoting a job can have serious consequences for your business. Ensuring that you apply some standard quantity surveying techniques, and a dash of good old common sense, should hopefully help you avoid pricing pitfalls. Not every job will require you to engage a quantity surveyor, but it might be useful to keep up-to-date with their professional techniques to make sure you stay on the right side of accuracy and efficiency.

We’ve recently consulted on our fees and we received some great feedback from practitioners. Please continue making your voice heard. We value every submission we receive so make sure you take the opportunity to have your say when you see a consultation open on our website or elsewhere.

Thanks for reading – until next time.

Paul Hobbs
Registrar Building Practitioner Licensing

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Price right

Pricing residential building projects can be difficult, but applying some simple quantity surveying principles will help ensure your costs are accurate and projects run more smoothly.

In the past, pricing for a residential project meant writing a few simple calculations on the back of a paper bag. You added together subcontractor quotes and a merchant estimate and decided that a couple of people on-site for a couple of months would be enough. Add on a percentage for site overheads, multiply the whole lot by 10 percent and the job was done, right?

Take time to get pricing right

These days, to remain competitive and profitable and within contract legislation, pricing is a task you should really spend some time on. In addition, as a licensed building practitioner, you need to ensure that you’re meeting your obligations while being as profitable and competitive as you can.

General quantity surveying  principles can help a lot here. They can be used for any project, even the smallest renovation job. If you consistently apply these principles along with best practice, you will be able to more accurately price jobs and projects will run more efficiently.

Principle 1 – materials measurement

It is very important to make your materials measurement as accurate as possible. If using a merchant estimate, double check it. This might sound obvious, but if you win a job with a merchant estimate and find out it was missing key items or undermeasured, that can cause real issues. You might then need to try to negotiate with the merchant to have the extra goods delivered for free or negotiate a variation with the client so that you can continue with the job.

Avoiding these issues is not the only reason that you want your material measure to be accurate and detailed. The other reason is specifically aligned to principle 2.

Principle 2 – labour measurement

While measuring labour is a standard tool for quantity surveyors, builders don’t always understand how to do it well when they price their own work.

To measure labour for a job, it is best to use a labour constant, which is a figure based on how long it will take to complete a task on a per-measurement basis such as per square metre. It is calculated as a constant figure that can easily be multiplied.

You use a labour constant so that, regardless of the measurement (or size of the task), it is easy to figure out the amount of labour needed to complete it.

Follow this example

If your project requires 100 m² of plasterboard, you want to know how many square metres of plasterboard can be installed per hour:

  1. You know it takes 5 minutes to put up 1 m² of plasterboard for a simple job.
  2. Divide 5 minutes by 60 minutes – this will give you a labour constant of 0.08/m² of plasterboard. 
  3. Multiply the measure (100 m²) by the constant (0.08/m²) to calculate your labour requirement in hours – 100 × 0.08 = 8 hours.

Materials measurement and labour measurement are the first building blocks for pricing a job effectively. If you have your materials measure correct and you apply a labour constant to each line item, your labour amount and costs are likely to be correct too. 

Help available

Luckily, you don’t have to work out a labour constant for every task (unless you want to) because there are resources to assist you. There are a variety of books and online quantity surveying tools available to help you understand what average labour constants should be. You can also get professional help and advice by hiring a quantity surveyor.

Quiz

1. Applying quantity surveying principles can have what benefits?:

a. more accurate pricing for jobs
b. higher-efficiency projects
c. fewer surprises
d. all of the above

2. The materials measurement principle sets out to ensure what?

a. using a correct materials measure is key to getting the labour requirement correct
b. your supplier will provide you with lots of extra materials
c. the homeowner should supply you with everything

3. Which best describes a labour constant?

a. the amount of time it takes to install plasterboard
b. a calculation that only quantity surveyors can do
c. a value that can be applied to a measurement to work out the labour required for the project
d. a measurement of how much material you need to order

Check answers

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Top plate connections

It can be difficult to understand the requirements for joints in top plates, but here are some pointers from NZS 3604:2011 for top plate connections.

Specific requirements for joints in top plates are set out in section 8.7.3 of NZS 3604:2011 Timber-framed buildings.

All joints in top plates must be made over a support, such as a stud or solid blocking between studs. Other criteria for joints depend on whether the wall:

 

  • is braced (either in line or a wall intersecting it is braced) 
  • contains no bracing elements.

Each of these situations is covered below. Many of the methods require a fixing of a certain strength or capacity, measured in kN (kilonewtons).

Walls with bracing – in-line connections

For single-storey buildings, the capacity of joint connections in top plates of walls with one or more bracing elements is based on the highest rated bracing element in the wall. The connections must be in both tension and compression along the plate and require the following capacities:

  • 3 kN capacity connections for walls containing up to 100 bracing units (BUs). 
  • 6 kN capacity connections for walls containing more than 100 BUs.
  • 6 kN capacity connections for walls with a ceiling diaphragm.

Figures 1(a) and (b) give further detail.

Figure 1: Connection top plates in line walls containing bracing.

The 3 kN and 6 kN connections can be made using metal connection plates or nailed joints with fixings (see Table 1). However, if an extra top plate is used and the joints are not aligned with the lower top plate, the 3 kN or 6 kN capacity connections are not normally required as long as there is at least a 3 kN/6 kN nailed joint connection (as appropriate) between top plate pairs.

Table 1: Common fixing details for 3kN and 6kN connections.

FIXING FOR METAL CONNECTION PLATES
Up to 3 kN 3/30 x 3.15 mm nails per side
Up to 6 kN 6/30 x 3.15 mm nails per side
FIXING FOR NAILED JOINTS
Up to 3 kN 3/100 x 3.75 mm nails per side
Up to 6 kN 6/100 x 3.75 mm nails per side

Walls with bracing – right angle connections

Internal walls containing one or more bracing elements must be connected to external walls that are at right angles to them at the top plate level. Connections in tension and compression along the line of the wall bracing element may be direct (Figure 2(a)) or through framing members (such as truss bottom chords, ceiling joists or ceiling battens) that are in line with the braced wall (Figure 2(b)).

Figure 2: Connection top plates of external walls at right angles to other walls containing bracing

Each internal wall must have the following connection capacity. A wall with:

  • up to 125 BUs requires a 6 kN connection to at least one external wall
  • up to 250 BUs requires 6 kN connections to at least two external walls
  • more than 250 BUs requires minimum connection capacities of 2.4 kN per 100 BUs to at least two external walls.

Worked example

Figure 3 demonstrates the various options.

Figure 3: Top plate connections

In-line connections in top plates

For the in-line connections at M2, N2, N3 and O2 in Figure 3, if the total BUs in the bracing lines M, N or O are:

  • less than 100 BUs, use 3 kN capacity connections
  • more than 100 BUs, use 6 kN capacity connections.

If a double top plate is used and joints in the top plates are staggered, neither the 3 kN or 6 kN capacity connections are required according to NZS 3604:2011.

Right angle connections in top plates

For the right angle connections at M1 and O1 in Figure 3, if the wall on bracing line A has:

  • up to 250 BUs, 6 kN connections are required at each end of line A 
  • more than 250 BUs, connections at each end of line A must have a capacity of at least 2.4 kN per 100 BUs.

For connections at N1 and N4, if the wall on bracing line N has:

  • up to 125 BUs, 6 kN connection to an external wall is required
  • up to 250 BUs, 6 kN connections to each end of the wall at both external walls are required
  • more than 250 BUs, a fixing capacity of 2.4 kN per 100 BUs of the wall at both external walls is required.

Right angle walls that are laterally supported

The connection requirements of the wall on bracing line B to the external wall in Figure 3 depends on the amount of bracing in wall B:

  • If there is no bracing in wall B, a 3 kN connection or a halved joint or a butt joint over a stud or blocking may be used at B1.
  • If the bracing does not exceed 125 BUs, use a 6 kN connection at B1.
  • If there are between 125 and 250 BUs, a 6 kN connection is required at B1 and the wall must be connected to external wall O with the bottom chord of a truss or with a ceiling joist between B2 and B3 using a 6 kN connection.
  • If there are more than 250 BUs, the connection at B1 must be 2.4 kN per 100 BUs and the wall must be connected to external wall O with the bottom chord of a truss or with a ceiling joist between B2 and B3 using a connection of 2.4 kN per 100 BUs.

Lateral support for top plates

Top plates must be laterally supported by any one of the following:

  • A sheet ceiling lining with a minimum density of 600 kg/m³.
  • Intersecting blocking (Figure 4(a)), ceiling joists, rafters or trusses.
  • Framing members at maximum 2.5 m spacings.
  • 70 × 45 mm connecting members (Figure 4(b)).

If the ceiling has a density of less than 600 kg/m³ (such as softboard) and the distance between bracing lines is between 5–6 m, a 90 × 45 mm top plate must have an additional 140 × 35 mm top plate.

Figure 4: Connecting members providing lateral support to top plates

Walls with no bracing elements

A joint made in the top plate of a wall that contains no bracing elements, in line or at a wall intersection, can be any one of the following:

  • A halved and nailed joint (Figure 5(a)).
  • A butted and nailed joint over blocking (Figure 5(b)).
  • A joint with an alternative fixing with at least 3 kN capacity in compression or tension (see Table 1).

Figure 5: Connecting top plates in walls with no bracing

 

Quiz

1. Which of the following is not correct? Walls with no bracing elements may have top plate connections made by:

a. a halved and nailed joint
b. a butted and nailed joint over blocking
c. a minimum of 3 kN capacity alternative fixing
d. a minimum of 6 kN capacity alternative fixing

2. Which of the following is correct?

a. joints in top plates may be made anywhere in the top plate.
b. joints in top plates must be made over a support such as a stud or solid blocking

3. True or false? In-line wall connections of 3–6 kN capacity are not required under NZS 3604:2011 if an extra top plate is used.

a. True
b. False

4. In Figure 3, if the wall on bracing line D has less than 250 BUs, connections at M3 and O3 must be

a. 3 kN capacity
b. 6 kN capacity
c. 2.4 kN/100 BU capacity

Check answers

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Building shapes LBP’s life

Kyle Tonks is just 22 years old and has already achieved a lot in his trade.

Kyle Tonks profile picture

Not only does he manage his family's construction company, in February this year he became a Carpentry Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) and in August was named the Lower North Island Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2018 Apprentice of the Year.

Kyle has a Diploma of Quantity Surveying and has been working as a carpenter for four years. He started helping his father with building work early in life and says he had learned a lot before he began his carpentry apprenticeship.

"Growing up with a plumber for a father I was helping out under the floor boards and in tight gaps from an early age, which is possibly the reason I chose building over plumbing," says Kyle.

After finishing his apprenticeship, Kyle decided becoming an LBP was the right next step.

"It was just common sense for me to become an LBP after finishing my apprenticeship, especially for the company to be able to expand and take on the growing demand for building work in Wellington."

Kyle is an advocate for the LBP scheme and what it can do for you and the team you work with. He says becoming an LBP can benefit any tradesperson, but is also good for the business those LBPs work within.

"You are kept up to date on the new rules and developments happening in the industry, which challenges you to keep learning.

"It also shows that you are responsible and gives the public more confidence in you and your work."

A trade is not just a job for Kyle but a lifestyle that he recommends to everyone, whether you’re starting your career or looking for a change.

"There is no better time to be in a trade, and you will learn more than just how to build," says Kyle. "It will shape your life."

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Fraudulent Designer disciplined for altering Producer Statements

The Building Practitioners Board (the Board) recently cancelled licensed building practitioner (LBP) Guangyou Feng's Design licence and ordered him to pay costs due to fraudulent behaviour. The Board has chosen to publish the details of this matter to highlight that there are consequences for cutting corners and falsifying documents.

Guangyou Feng (C2-01768)

In late 2017, the Board initiated an inquiry after it became aware Mr Feng had been sentenced in the District Court for fraud. Sentencing notes showed the criminal offending had taken place over a period of three years and that Mr Feng was found guilty of five charges of forgery.

Guangyou Feng held a Design (area of practice 2) licence. At a Board disciplinary hearing, Mr Feng was found to have:

  • been convicted by the court of an offence punishable by imprisonment for six months or more, which reflects adversely on his fitness to carry out building work
  • acted in a manner that would bring the LBP regime into disrepute.

The fraud related to use of a Design Producer Statement (PS1), that had been signed by an engineer. Mr Feng fraudulently altered the PS1 and used it for other building consent applications. The Board highlighted the seriousness of this behaviour.

The Board found that the criminal offending was linked to Mr Feng's design practice and was directly related to his fitness to carry out or supervise building work. The Board also considered his conduct had brought the LBP regime into disrepute.

The Board noted that people and councils rely on PS1s to provide assurance that designs meet Building Code requirements. PS1s include a statement from an engineer related to professional indemnity insurance cover. By forging these documents, Mr Feng was denying such assurances and potential cover.

What we can learn from this decision

Being honest in your business decisions is important, not only for your reputation and that of your business, but also for maintaining your licence. This is a case of seriously poor behaviour and a lack of respect for producer statements. Even though producer statements are not prescribed in regulations they are important in the industry and tampering with them is unacceptable.

Failing to meet the standards expected of an LBP has consequences. The inquiry by the Board into Mr Feng’s actions was the result of media coverage and shows that the Board can investigate an LBP's conduct even when a formal complaint has not been made.

This decision and other past decisions can be read in full on the LBP website.

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Notable decisions against Carpenters

The Building Practitioners Board (the Board) recently handed down significant sanctions against two Carpentry licensed building practitioners (LBPs) and has chosen to publish the details of the matters due to their seriousness and the strong penalties.

The first complaint was made against Andrew Etchells in Tauranga, and the second against Andrew Musson in Auckland. The complaints have similarities relating to negligence and failure to provide records of work. This is a good opportunity for others to learn from these mistakes and avoid similar circumstances.

Andrew Etchells (C2-01587)

Mr Etchells was found to have:

  • carried out building work in a negligent or incompetent manner
  • failed to comply with a building consent
  • failed to provide a record of work as required by the Building Act.

The Board heard evidence that Mr Etchells was supposed to be supervising unlicensed workers constructing a prefabricated house in Hamilton, but was only visiting them from Tauranga on weekends. The work then involved installing the prefabricated house on to foundations. Mr Etchells acknowledged that he was supposed to supervise the restricted building work.

Mr Etchells confirmed that he did not know who was carrying out work on-site and that another person in the company he was working for prepared the record of work for him to sign. He did not check the details of the document before signing it.

The Board considered that Mr Etchells was not supervising restricted building work to an acceptable standard and was simply providing his licence to a manufacturing process. Work was carried out before a building consent was issued, and a record of work was not provided in a timely manner.

The Board ordered Mr Etchells should pay a fine of $4,000 and costs of $2,500. In addition, the Board ordered that this decision be published.

Andrew Musson (C2-01772)

Mr Musson was found to have:

  • carried out building work in a negligent or incompetent manner
  • failed to provide a record of work as required by the Building Act.

Mr Musson was recently involved in another matter before the Board. This is the second time a complaint decision against him has been published (refer to C2-01749 and Codewords 85).

In this matter, Mr Musson was making alterations to an existing house and allowed some changes to be made that were different to what was on the consented plans. The Board heard that he did raise these issues with the designer, however the work was undertaken without a formal amendment or minor variation.

The Board also heard Mr Musson did not provide enough support to the unlicensed person he was supervising to carry out work. The person was forced to seek advice from a previous colleague, which clearly indicated to the Board that Mr Musson was not providing adequate supervision.

Due to a contractual dispute, Mr Musson did not issue a record of work. The Board has consistently said that a record of work is a statutory obligation and must be provided despite disputes.

The Board ordered Mr Musson is to pay a fine of $3,000 and costs of $2,000. In addition it ordered that this decision be published.

What we can learn from these decisions

Both matters involved supervision with limited contact between the supervising LBP and those on-site. The Board noted some of the failures in these matters may have avoided if there had been better supervision, as the LBP should have identified faults before they became failures.

It is strongly recommended that LBPs read the Supervision Practice Note. It provides detailed guidance on what is needed for good supervision.

Read the Supervision Practice Note.

Records of work and contractual disputes are common themes in complaints. The Board expects LBPs to be aware of their obligation to provide a record of work. There are very limited reasons why a record of work cannot be provided. The legislation has no conditions that allow for failure to provide a record of work, and the Board has made it clear that a contractual dispute is not an acceptable reason.

LBPs should understand their obligations and deal with any disputes in the correct manner after a record of work has been issued.

Read these and other past decisions in full on the LBP website.

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Notable decision about working outside competence

The Building Practitioners Board (the Board) has issued a significant decision relating to Christchurch-based licensed building practitioner (LBP) Grant Maitland for working outside his competence. The Board decided to publicise the matter due to its seriousness and the possible learnings for other LBPs.

Grant Maitland (C2-01807)

Mr Maitland held a Carpentry licence. He was found to have:

  • carried out building work in a negligent or incompetent manner
  • carried out building work outside his competence.

Mr Maitland had carried out renovation work for a homeowner which included plumbing and electrical work. The work did not require a building consent but some work, such as plumbing and electrical work, needed to be done by a licensed person.

The Board found Mr Maitland to be negligent. There were issues with the building work he carried out and he failed to engage appropriately licensed persons to carry out the plumbing and electrical work.

The Board identified several issues with the building work carried out by Mr Maitland that fell below acceptable standards. Two of the issues related to watertightness in a wet area and are serious matters.

Similar to licensing of building practitioners, both the electrical and plumbing trades are regulated and restricted, and work in these areas can only be undertaken by licensed and authorised persons. It is an offence for an unauthorised person to carry out this work.

The Board found Mr Maitland to be responsible for the electrical and plumbing work carried out and that he was not licensed or authorised to carry out this work.

The Board suspended Mr Maitland's licence for six months and ordered him to pay a fine of $2,000. The Board also ordered Mr Maitland to pay some costs towards the inquiry and for this decision to be publicised.

What we can learn from these decisions

Not only did Mr Maitland work outside his competence (as an LBP with a Carpentry licence), but the work he carried out fell below an acceptable standard. It is important to recognise when you are out of your depth, and to seek assistance from others to ensure that the work is done to the required standard.

Most electrical and plumbing work has to be carried out by a licensed and authorised person and practitioners must engage those professionals.

This decision and other past decisions can be read in full on the LBP website.

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Determinations

Producer statements for Stadium Southland

Determination 2018/027 considers the refusal to issue a code compliance certificate in relation to producer statements.

Background

In 2010, part of Stadium Southland collapsed. The building work to reconstruct the stadium was carried out over three staged building consents. The building consent authority (BCA) granted the building consent for Stage 1 in 2011. This building consent covered building work to the stadium foundations and the installation of piles to six zones (see Figure 1).

A drilling company installed the reinforced concrete piles, and construction records were kept for each pile. During the construction, a local engineer, a geotechnical company and the BCA carried out regular inspections. The BCA would not issue a code compliance certificate as they had a variety of concerns regarding several producer statements for the construction and monitoring of the work.

Discussion

The determination considered industry guidelines for producer statements, and how much importance they should be given when deciding to issue a code compliance certificate.

In most cases, a BCA is not required to ask for any additional assurance other than the opinion of a competent practitioner, as long as the BCA is satisfied the practitioner has:

  • the right skills and qualifications
  • experience, knowledge, and expertise in that field
  • expressed views directly related to the building work in question.

In this case the determination considered that the BCA's concern about the credibility of the practitioner was relevant when assessing the producer statement. However, the determination concluded that the BCA should have requested more information about the practitioner rather than refusing to issue the code compliance certificate because of its concern.

The BCA was also concerned about the amount of professional indemnity insurance held by the practitioner and stated on the producer statement. The determination considered that:

  • a producer statement does not transfer risk and liability from a BCA to a designer
  • insurance is not a consumer protection mechanism in this context
  • the existence, or amount, of professional indemnity insurance is a commercial decision. It is not a determining factor for the BCA in deciding whether the work covered in the producer statement will comply or has been carried out in accordance with the building consent.

The decision

The determination found the BCA was incorrect to refuse to issue the code compliance certificate for the reasons it provided. The decision was reversed and the BCA was required to make a new decision taking into account discussion in the determination.

Determination 2018/027 in full.

Previous determinations is a register of all previous determinations.

 

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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: