Accreditation is used to give independent assurance about an organisation's ability to perform its functions well.
The BCA accreditation scheme has been set out in legislation:
- Building Act 2004
- Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006
- Building (Consent Authority Accreditation Fees) Regulations 2007.
The Act and Regulations detail the policies, procedures and systems that a BCA must have, and implement consistently, to perform building control functions and the scheme's fees.
BCAs are audited by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ), the appointed building consent authority accreditation body.
Standards and criteria for BCA accreditation
The standards and criteria set out in the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 were developed through extensive consultation with the sector over several years. They aim to improve performance and ensure better practice and consistency in building control work.
The standards are outcome-focused and performance-based. This means how they are achieved can vary depending on the BCA’s circumstances, size and the volume and type of work undertaken. There is no ‘one size fits all’.
For example, a robust record-keeping system might be a multi-million dollar digital scanning IT system in one BCA and a manual filing cabinet system in another. Provided the records are complete, accurate, secure, accessible and easily retrievable, both systems can comply with the accreditation standards.
Focus of standards
The standards focus on four functional areas:
Formal, documented policies, systems, processes and procedures
- Documented policies, systems, processes, and procedures help BCAs manage the way they operate, make compliance assessments and decisions, manage risk and achieve better consistency and identified outcomes.
- The standards will help BCAs monitor, review and continuously improve their performance.
- Sound record-keeping and information-storage practices are essential in the building control environment. These provide an audit trail of how a BCA processes consent applications, undertakes inspections and issues code compliance certificates, the decisions they make and the rationale for those decisions.
- The required policies, systems, processes and procedures cover statutory responsibilities and administrative and organisational activities that do not have a statutory basis, but which affect building control functions and outcomes - for example, the way BCAs assess alternative solutions and allocate work to building control staff.
Skills and resources
- BCAs need the skills and resources to consistently meet statutory building control responsibilities and undertake the volume and nature of work involved.
- Skilled and experienced internal or external (contract) resources help a BCA discharge its statutory obligations effectively.
- Having sufficient skills, knowledge and expertise (competencies) and resources (sufficient staff or contractors) helps ensure buildings comply with relevant legislation and are fit for purpose.
- The accreditation standards ensure appropriate monitoring and review mechanisms to help identify skills, knowledge and expertise requirements. The right skills and experience to undertake allocated work means building controls staff can work within the limits of their technical competence and experience.
- Training and professional development plans are integral to ensuring BCAs have appropriate skills and expertise, and to maintaining the level of knowledge needed to perform competently.
Quality assurance systems
- A sound quality assurance system strengthens decision-making and leads to better quality and greater consistency in compliance and performance of regulatory building control functions.
Understand quality assurance requirements of regulation 17, in relation to Building Consent Authority accreditation.
- Qualifications help develop a viable career path for building officials and provide independent assessment of a person’s competency in a particular area. Qualifications can help a BCA assess its personnel to demonstrate. organisational competence. This long-term standard will improve both capacity and capability in the building control sector.
- Building officials need a nationally recognised qualification in building control or a recognised international equivalent.
- The sector, with support from MBIE, has developed a national qualification in building control.
The accreditation process has various steps:
- optional self-assessment of internal processes and procedures against accreditation standards and criteria
- submission to IANZ of application for accreditation
- desk-based documentation review by IANZ of the applicant’s systems, policies, processes and procedures to check compliance with accreditation standards and criteria. IANZ advises the applicant of the outcome of the assessment and, as appropriate, discusses any corrective actions or recommendations
- consideration by IANZ and the applicant of the need for an on-site pre-assessment meeting to confirm that it is appropriate to proceed with a full on-site assessment
- further corrective actions or recommendations may be made, if such a meeting occurs
- full on-site assessment by IANZ, including a team of technical experts, advising the applicant of any further corrective actions and recommendations, with a formal report confirming those matters
- corrective actions addressed by the applicant to IANZ’s satisfaction; IANZ completes its accreditation peer review and approval process.