Regulation 13 – Ensuring technical leadership

Last updated: 10 April 2017

Building consent authorities must have a system to identify employees and contractors who are competent to provide technical leadership.

The objective of the regulation

Regulation 13 of the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 (the Regulations) requires a building consent authority (BCA) to have a system to identify employees and contractors who are competent to provide technical leadership. This is intended to ensure that technical leadership is provided by those with the necessary skills, and that technical leaders effectively and competently support building control officials (BCOs) who perform building control functions.

Regulation 13 also requires that technical leaders are given the powers and authorities they need to perform their role. This may include the power and authority to perform building control functions, or the authority to sign off technical elements of policies, procedures or system, or technical matters related to consents.

Regulation 13 is available on the Legislation website.

Regulation 13 must be read in conjunction with regulations 5 and 6.

The policies and procedures required by regulation 13 must be written and/or electronic, and appropriate for purpose.

A BCA must ensure that the policies, procedures and system required by regulation 13 are consistently and effectively implemented. BCAs must ensure they record the decisions they make under regulation 13, including the reasons for the decisions, as well as the outcomes.

MBIE’s guidance on meeting the accreditation requirement

Checklist for regulation 13 outlines the minimum criteria for compliance.

The policies, procedures and systems required by regulation 13 must, at minimum cover the requirements detailed below. If the accreditation requirements are met through a BCA’s parent organisation’s management system or delegation framework, the accreditation body will require access to that system for the purposes of an accreditation assessment.

What is technical leadership?

Technical leadership is the provision of technical advice or support related to building regulatory control, the performance of building control functions, and/or building methods or materials. It may include advice related to:

  • whether to grant a consent, pass an inspection or issue a code compliance certificate
  • policies, procedures or systems within a BCA, their technical appropriateness, or technical implementation.

What defines a technical leader?

A technical leader may have responsibility for advising on matters within a BCA. They may be a go-to person for advice or peer review about whether to grant a consent, pass an inspection or issue a code compliance certificate. They may develop or peer review a BCA’s policies, procedures or systems for the delivery of its building control functions.

Technical leaders may be employees or contractors working within a BCA. The technical leader may dedicate all their time to the role, or they may perform other roles or building control functions. They may provide ‘on call’ or ‘ad hoc’ advice. They may work for another BCA, accredited organisation or private organisation. They may be private persons.

In order to achieve the requirements of regulation 13, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) recommends (but does not require) that a BCA link its appointment of technical leaders into its forecast workflow and the capacity and capability map required by regulation 8, its work allocation system required by regulation 9, and the competency assessment system required by regulation 10 of the Regulations. For example:

  • if few complex consents are forecast or there are no planned reviews of policies, procedures and systems, a BCA may choose to enter into an arrangement with another BCA for technical leadership
  • after reviewing its employee and contractor capacity and competencies, a BCA may choose to contract a private organisation to provide technical leadership and peer review of a policy rewrite related to fire safety system requirements.

Establishing competency

A prospective technical leader’s competency for the role must be established. The competency assessment must include:

  • evidence collection
  • assessment of the evidence
  • a record of outcome.

The competency assessment may be made through requesting, reviewing and assessing a combination of the technical expert’s:

  • qualifications
  • length of experience in their relevant discipline
  • work undertaken in the relevant discipline
  • feedback on past performance in the relevant discipline
  • formal competency assessment (if any)
  • professional references from suitable peers
  • professional registration, memberships or affiliations.

Ultimately, the BCA should be satisfied that any technical leader will support its performance of building control functions consistent with all relevant legislation. A BCA may benefit from using a template or checklist to collate the information and evidence needed to satisfy itself of the competency of any technical leaders. This would help ensure any decisions and the reasons for them are recorded along with the required decision.

Of note, regulation 10 requires a BCA to have a system for determining the competency of prospective or current employees performing building control functions. Regulation 12 requires a similar approach to contractors. If a technical leader is performing any or all of the building control functions defined in regulation 3, then regulation 10 or 12 also applies (as relevant to the nature of the technical leader's employment relationship). The technical leader will need to have their competency assessed for any building control functions they perform. This is in addition to the determination of their competency to provide technical leadership (although the assessments can be combined).

Powers and authorities

To comply with regulation 13(b), a BCA must have a system for granting any required powers and authorities, and recording those powers and authorities, to its technical leaders. This can be achieved through including any relevant powers and authorities in:

  • the technical leader’s job description and recording them in the relevant delegation framework
  • a formal notification made to the technical leader by way of letter or email.

MBIE recommends that technical powers and administrative authorities are recorded on the BCA’s organisational structure (even if the leader or expert is not performing a building control function). This will have the additional benefit of providing clarity to all employees or contractors who may need to engage a technical leader. But, this is not an accreditation requirement.

There is nothing in this accreditation requirement that limits the number of technical leaders a BCA may have, or requires them to be continuously and readily available. A technical expert may be located within a BCA and have this element of their role included in their job description, roles and responsibilities. An expert may be ‘on call’ with an agreed timeframe and process for responding to requests for advice.

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: