Last updated: 23 March 2023
Building consent authorities must have a system to ensure they have sufficient employees and contractors to perform their building control functions.
The objective of the regulation
Regulation 8 of the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 (the Regulations) is intended to ensure that all building consent authorities (BCAs) have a system to ensure they have sufficient employees and contractors to perform their building control functions (as defined in regulation 3). It requires BCAs to undertake workflow and workforce planning.
Workforce planning is a process of identifying the workforce capacity and capability an organisation needs to meet its objectives, now and into the future. It aims to ensure that the right people - those with the skills and capabilities necessary for the work – are available in the right numbers, in the right employment types, in the right place and at the right time to deliver business outcomes.
Regulation 8 is available on the Legislation website.
MBIE’s guidance on meeting the accreditation requirement
Checklist for regulation 8 outlines the minimum criteria for compliance.
The policies, procedures and systems required by regulation 8 must, at minimum, cover the requirements detailed below. If the requirements are met through a BCA’s parent organisation’s workforce plan, the accreditation body will require access to that plan for the purposes of an accreditation assessment.
In order to achieve the requirements of regulation 8, a BCA must have a system for annual planning of workflow and its capacity and capability needs, or otherwise ensure that its capacity and capability needs are identified and addressed through its parent organisation’s workforce plan.
A BCA does not need to meet these requirements for any building control functions performed by another BCA using the other BCA’s policies, procedures and systems under an arrangement or transfer. It does need to include any building control functions it is performing on behalf of another BCA.
In forecasting its workflow, a BCA must identify and record:
- the volume of building control work it has processed, inspected and approved over the past two years, identifying any obvious peaks and/or fluctuations, and any seasonal or other patterns
- the volume of building control work, if any, it has agreed to undertake on behalf of another BCA (for which it must also have capacity and capability)
- known pressures impacting the performance of its building control functions such as limited access to technical leadership or specialist technical resources (at any particular time, or for any particular reason)
- any known internal or external factors that might influence the volume of building control work, such as new internal systems, the impact of environmental events and/or interest rates, and the month in which the factor/s may have an influence.
A BCA is not expected to anticipate and include the impact of events that may be unforeseen or unpredictable (such as natural disasters). It should, however, consider relevant building and construction matters within its district or regional plans, or that might otherwise be considered significant to the region.
Each building control function the BCA expects to perform in the coming 12 months must be classified under a system suitable for allocating its building control function work to employees who are competent to do the work, eg using the National BCA competency assessment levels.
National BCA competency assessment levels
|Residential outbuildings and ancillary buildings as defined by the Building Regulations 1992. This includes single household detached dwellings designed to a common standard that are single storey and have an E2/AS1 risk matrix score less than or equal to 6.
|Detached dwellings designed to a common standard that are less than or equal to two storeys and have an E2/AS1 risk matrix score less than or equal to 12.
|Detached dwellings or other dwellings that are less than or equal to three storeys but limited to vertical plane fire separation and direct egress to the outside and have an E2/AS1 risk matrix score of 13–20. This level also includes specifically designed residential cladding systems, components, detailing and junctions where a risk matrix score of greater than 20 has been calculated.
|Commercial, industrial and communal non-residential buildings and their associated outbuildings and ancillary buildings equal to or less than two storeys and an occupancy load of equal to or less than 100 people. Sleeping Residential or Sleeping Accommodation buildings up to two stories and with horizontal fire separation.
|Commercial, industrial, communal residential and communal non-residential buildings equal to or less than four storeys and an occupancy load of equal to or less than 500 people. Sleeping care or sleeping detention facilities that are single storey.
|All uses of buildings that are over four storeys high, or contain over 500 occupants, or sleeping care or sleeping detention facilities greater than single storey.
|Building control functions that are not consent, inspection or code compliance decision making including applications for project information memoranda (PIM), the issuing of compliance schedules and the making of notices to fix (NTF).
Identifying capacity and capability needs
A BCA must use its forecast workflow to identify and record the:
- total number of full-time equivalent staff it anticipates it needs (capacity)
- number of full-time equivalent staff needed at each level of competency (capability)
- technical leadership or specialist experts it reasonably expects to need.
A BCA must overlay its current employees and contractors (who may be full-time, part-time or on call) against its capacity and capability map to identify gaps. In identifying gaps, a BCA may take into account (and record its consideration of) matters such as:
- staff turnover (including potential resignations and retirements) – an average can be used
- training plans and any possible increase in the competencies and skills of existing staff
- recruitment planning and the arrival of new staff, including their anticipated:
- competency and skills
- training requirements
- supervision needs
- usual annual leave rates and times
- the cessation of any contracts for staff, technical leaders or specialist experts.
A BCA’s capacity and capability map does not need to be a complex document. It may consist of a basic table with a monthly breakdown of forecast workflow, anticipated resources and identified gaps.
Filling capacity and capability gaps
A BCA must actively work to fill capability and capacity gaps. This can be done in a number of ways, including through:
- training employees
- sharing employees or contractors with another BCA
- entering into an arrangement with another BCA
- formal transfer of building control functions to another BCA
- procuring contract resources consistently with regulation 12 that may include contractors who:
- act as employees
- are available ‘on demand’ including to provide technical leadership or specialist expertise.
The source of the definition of workforce planning, and a range of useful resources can be found on the Australian Public Service Commission website.
Read about the National BCA competency assessment system.
The Building Regulations 1992 are available on the Legislation website.
The E2/AS1 risk matrix has further information.
Alternative Solutions has further information on compliance with the Building Code.
The role of the statutory 'clock' in an accreditation assessment
BCAs must perform some of their building control functions within the timeframes required by the Building Act 2004 (the Act). They may, however, stop the ‘clock’ and stop counting working days where an application for a building consent or code compliance certificate has been received but a request for information (RFI) has been made. Counting does not have to restart until the applicant has responded, in full, to any RFI with information that is sufficient to support a decision being made.
The accreditation body may consider a BCA’s compliance in meeting the timeframes required by the statutory ‘clock’ as part of its consideration as to whether the policies, processes and system required by regulation 8 are appropriate for purpose and being consistently and effectively implemented.
Where timeframes are not being met, the accreditation body must take into account whether a BCA is:
- investigating and recording the reasons for any failure to meet statutory timeframes
- working to address the failure to ensure that it will not continue.
Where the accreditation body is satisfied that a BCA is working to meet the required timeframes and is otherwise complying with this accreditation requirement the BCA will be considered to comply with regulation 8. This includes where a BCA can demonstrate that it has attempted to:
- train, contract or recruit appropriately qualified and competent employees to fill gaps in capability and capacity but has been unable to do so. To assure the accreditation body of its attempts to recruit, a BCA should keep records of recruitment activities it has undertaken over a 12-month period.
- enter into an arrangement with one or more other BCAs for the delivery of one or more of its building control functions. To assure the accreditation body of its attempts to enter into arrangements a BCA should keep a simple record of the BCAs it has approached and the outcome of any discussions or negotiations.
The records of recruitment activities must demonstrate that the BCA has sought to recruit for roles with terms and conditions not less than those of the New Zealand market, including payment at the New Zealand market rate. The extent and nature of advertising and use of other appropriate means of recruitment should include:
- advertising the vacancy in a national newspaper and/or website
- contracting a recruitment company appropriate to the industry.
MBIE does not require or expect a BCA to enter into an arrangement with another BCA for the performance of one or more building control functions where a satisfactory agreement cannot be concluded, in particular for the apportioning of liability (under section 214(b) of the Act). Another BCA is under no obligation to enter into an arrangement.
The Building Act 2004 is available on the Legislation website.