Key roles and responsibilities

Last updated: 10 April 2017

Three building professionals looking at design plans

This section of the website sets out the key roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in the building consent authority accreditation scheme. It defines key roles within the accreditation body, building consent authorities and accredited organisations.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is the agency responsible for the Building Act 2004 (the Act) and associated regulations. This means that MBIE has responsibility for advising its Chief Executive and the Government on the design and implementation of the building consent authority (BCA) accreditation scheme (the scheme) consistent with the scheme’s purpose and objectives. MBIE also has a role in supporting the Chief Executive to review BCAs’ operations and in investigating BCA performance.

MBIE administers the contract with the accreditation body that undertakes accreditation assessments.

MBIE provides the accreditation body and BCAs with advice on the minimum standards and criteria necessary for an organisation to be accredited. It is MBIE’s responsibility to clarify the required minimum standard and criteria where there is a disagreement between the accreditation body and an applicant, accredited organisation or BCA.

Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

MBIE’s Chief Executive has a range of roles and responsibilities under the Act. They are summarised in section 11 of the Act.

One of the Chief Executive’s responsibilities is to register organisations that have been accredited. This allows them to perform the functions of a BCA as detailed in the Act. The Chief Executive is also responsible for reviewing BCAs’ operations and investigating BCA performance where a complaint has been made or an issue identified. Where the Chief Executive is concerned about BCA performance, action may be taken to address any issues.

The Chief Executive appoints the scheme’s accreditation body and can detail matters of public relevance to the accreditation body’s delivery of accreditation assessments in the New Zealand Gazette, or by way of contract.

The Chief Executive also notifies the minimum frequency of accreditation assessments in the New Zealand Gazette, which must be at least once every three years but may be more frequently.

The Building Act 2004 is available on the Legislation website.

The New Zealand Gazette is the official government newspaper.

Accreditation body

An accreditation body is appointed by MBIE’s Chief Executive and undertakes accreditation assessments. Its role is to assess new applicants, accredited organisations and BCAs against the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authority) Regulations 2006 (the Regulations). The accreditation body is responsible for granting and revoking accreditation.

The accreditation body is required to report the outcomes of accreditation assessments to MBIE. It also reports to an accredited organisation or BCA’s Chief Executive and authorised representative so that good practice can be maintained, or issues addressed. Accreditation reports are required to identify instances of non-compliance with accreditation requirements. The accreditation body must ensure that non-compliance is corrected. Where it is not corrected, the accreditation body must advise MBIE – in a timely manner – of this failure and any consideration being given to the revocation of accreditation.

The accreditation body has staff and may engage technical experts to assist it in undertaking accreditation assessments. It also convenes a Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) to support it to undertake accreditation assessments that are consistent with the purpose and objectives of the scheme, and the minimum standards and criteria for accreditation set out in the Regulations and in MBIE’s regulatory guidance.

Accreditation body assessment team

The accreditation body assessment team have committed themselves formally to complying with the rules of the accreditation body through their employment agreements. Assessment team personnel have the qualifications, experience and competence required to undertake accreditation assessments. They will have had, and continue to undergo, training to ensure that they are familiar with the accreditation process and the accreditation requirements set out in the Regulations and MBIE’s regulatory guidance.

Accreditation body assessment team personnel may be supported by technical experts. They may also need to seek further advice or guidance from MBIE when undertaking an accreditation assessment and determining whether a policy, procedure or system is appropriate for purpose.

The lead assessor

The lead assessor is a key contact for an applicant, accredited organisation or BCA. They are appointed by the accreditation body for every accreditation application or assessment. They lead the accreditation body’s engagement with the authorised representative of an accredited organisation or BCA.

The lead assessor will ensure that the assessment team gathers the necessary evidence to support any finding of non-compliance. The lead assessor will also be the first point of contact where there is a disagreement between an applicant, accredited organisation or BCA and the accreditation body in relation to the accreditation process or requirements.

Technical experts

Technical experts are experts in regulatory building control or the specific area of building control in which they offer their expertise or advice. They may be engaged by the accreditation body to assist in undertaking accreditation assessments.

Technical experts are competent and capable of providing expertise, advice and assistance to the accreditation body in relation to the minimum standards and criteria a BCA must meet to comply with the scheme’s accreditation requirements.

Professional Advisory Committee

The PAC supports the accreditation body to undertake accreditation assessments that are consistent with the purpose and objectives of the scheme, and the minimum standards and criteria for accreditation. It makes accreditation decisions upon the recommendation of the accreditation body.

The PAC includes an MBIE representative and (where possible) at least one BCA representative from:

  • Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington or Christchurch
  • a regional authority responsible for consenting dams
  • a North Island regional BCA
  • a South Island regional BCA
  • a private BCA (if there is such an organisation accredited and registered).

The accreditation body provides a secretary for the PAC but does not have formal membership.

PAC representatives are appointed by invitation from the accreditation body based on the potential representative’s competency, capability and capacity to contribute to supporting the scheme and delivering on the PAC’s terms of reference. The appointment is for a three-year term. Terms may be renewed.

International Accreditation New Zealand has been appointed as the accreditation body.

The Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authority) Regulations 2006 are available on the Legislation website.

Detailed regulatory guidance on the BCA accreditation scheme has further information.

Building consent authorities and accredited organisations

Building consent authorities

Section 193 of the Act provides that a person whose name is entered on the register of building consent authorities may perform the functions of a BCA. The independent performance of building control functions means the performance of those functions under the powers and authorities of the Act. It is otherwise an offence to independently perform the functions of a BCA.

The Act requires at:

  • section 212, a territorial authority to perform the functions of a BCA within its district and in any coastal marine area adjacent to its district that is not part of another district in relation to:
    • any application for a building consent
    • any building consent granted under that application.
  • section 241, a regional authority to be accredited and registered as a BCA at all times in order to deliver its consenting functions in relation to dams.

BCAs are responsible for performing certain building control functions under the Act. These functions are summarised – at a high level – in section 12 of the Act. The accreditation requirements of the scheme apply only to those BCA functions that are detailed in regulation 3 of the Regulations. In summary, they include:

  • processing building consent applications (that are not subject to a waiver or modification)
  • certifying that completed building work is compliant with the building consent
  • issuing compliance schedules (in some circumstances)
  • issuing notices to fix.

The requirements imposed on BCAs within a territorial authority are subject to any decisions the BCA makes to enter into arrangements under the Act for the delivery of their building control function. Both territorial and regional authorities may also formally transfer their BCA functions under the Act.

BCAs may also contract private organisations or persons to assist them to perform their building control functions. The organisations may or may not be accredited organisations.

Territorial authorities deliver a range of consenting functions that are not subject to the accreditation requirements of the scheme nor are they matters assessed by the accreditation body. For example, a territorial authority:

  • grants waivers or modifications to the Building Code
  • administers annual building warrants of fitness and enforces the relevant provisions in the Act
  • warrants authorised officers undertaking BCA functions.

Although it is good practice for a territorial authority to have policies, procedures and systems for decision-making, this is not a requirement of the scheme or a matter for accreditation assessments. 

Accredited and registered organisations and people

Private organisations and people can be accredited and registered. An accredited organisation or person has been assessed as meeting the minimum standards and criteria of the Regulations. Unless also registered under the Building (Registration of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2007, the organisation or person is not a BCA and cannot independently perform building control functions under the Act.

Accredited organisations and people

Private organisations and people can be accredited. An accredited organisation or person must be working as an agent of an accredited and registered BCA to lawfully perform building control functions. They may work independently (and off-site from the BCA) or may work within the BCA. Regardless, they must have powers and authorities granted in the BCA’s organisational structure and delegation framework.

Where a private organisation or person chooses to seek accreditation, they must comply with all of the regulatory requirements for accreditation set out in the Regulations as if they were a BCA. The benefits of doing so are to enable an easier contractual relationship with any BCA for which they may work.

Accredited organisations or people, and private organisations or people working as agents of a BCA are essentially an extension of the BCA. The BCA remains liable for all work performed by the organisation or person and, the organisation or person’s work may be included in the BCA’s accreditation assessment.

Chief Executive of an accredited organisation or BCA

The Chief Executive of an accredited organisation or BCA has overall responsibility for the delivery of its building control functions. The Chief Executive is also responsible for ensuring compliance with accreditation requirements and is ultimately accountable for any non-compliance.

The Chief Executive will be provided with all of the BCA’s accreditation assessments and specifically notified of any serious non-compliance with accreditation requirements. There is an expectation that non-compliance will be corrected within agreed timeframes. Where this is not possible, the Chief Executive is required to make any request for an extension to that timeframe to the accreditation body.

Authorised representative of an accredited organisation or BCA

MBIE and the accreditation body require the Chief Executive of an accredited organisation or BCA to nominate an authorised representative to engage with them on a day-to-day basis about the scheme, accreditation requirements and accreditation assessments. The authorised representative must be a person with sufficient authority within the organisation or BCA, or its wider organisation, to ensure compliance with accreditation requirements and otherwise be responsible for:

  • engaging with the accreditation body to schedule any required accreditation assessments
  • signing out all materials the accreditation body requires to support an assessment
  • attending any on-site pre- and post-assessment meetings with the accreditation body
  • notifying the accreditation body of actions planned to address non-compliance
  • complying with the scheme’s notification requirements
  • engaging with MBIE on matters related to the effective functioning of the scheme
  • sharing information about the scheme distributed by MBIE.

The nature of an authorised representative’s role means that they may also be able to identify opportunities and raise issues or concerns about the scheme, the accreditation process, or the minimum standards and criteria for accreditation with MBIE.

Responsible manager of an accredited organisation or BCA

The responsible manager of an accredited organisation or BCA is the person that has direct responsibility and oversight of its day-to-day operations, and the actions and decisions of staff. The responsible manager may or may not also be the BCA’s authorised representative for the purposes of the scheme. They may or may not have powers to perform building control functions or administrative authorities linked to the organisation or the BCA’s management structure.

Quality manager in an accredited organisation or BCA

To comply with regulation 17(3) an accredited organisation or BCA must have a named person who is responsible for quality management. Depending on the organisation or BCA, and the number and nature of consents it processes, the quality manager may be a person in:

  • an independent role, who has a singular focus on delivering the quality assurance system
  • a management or technical role, which also has responsibility for quality procedures and systems.

Employees of an accredited organisation or BCA

An employee of an accredited organisation or BCA is a person employed under the terms and conditions of a collective or employment agreement. They are in an employment relationship with the organisation or BCA, or its parent organisation.

All the relevant accreditation requirements will apply to an employee of an accredited organisation or BCA who is performing a building control function. These include the requirements for the organisation or BCA to effectively and consistently implement a system for:

  • ensuring it allocates work to competent employees
  • establishing the competency of any employee
  • recording the employees' roles, responsibilities, powers and authorities (and any limitations).

Doing a technical job

An employee of an accredited organisation or BCA may be employed to do a technical job. To perform a building control function by doing a technical job, an employee must hold or be working towards an appropriate technical qualification as per the requirements of regulation 18 (unless they are exempt). And, a BCA must effectively and consistently implement a system for training these employees (as per the requirements of regulation 11).

The requirements of regulation 11 and 18 only apply to those employees doing a technical job. They do not apply to all employees of an accredited organisation or BCA performing a building control function.

The Regulations do not define a technical job. MBIE considers that performing building control functions related to building consent processing, inspecting and certifying, issuing compliance schedules and notices to fix to be technical jobs. These technical jobs cover sections 48–51, 91, 94, 95, 102, 112, 164 and 166 of the Act.

Receiving an application, verifying all lodgement requirements that have been met, assessing and allocating applications, scheduling inspections, and sending out consents or code compliance certificates are not technical jobs covered by regulation 11 and regulation 18. Performing the functions in sections 31, 46(3), 104 and 238–240 of the Act is not doing a technical job.

For the purposes of an accreditation assessment, managers or other employees or contractors of a BCA given administrative authority to officially sign-out building consents, code compliance certificates, compliance schedules or notices to fix on the BCA’s behalf, where the decisions related to that matter have (effectively) been made by someone else, are not doing a technical job.

Entering into arrangements and transferring consenting functions has further information.

Building Consent Authorities Register

Independently perform building control functions and administrative authorities definitions can be found in the glossary.

The Building (Registration of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2007 can be found on the Legislation website

Contracted organisations and people

A private organisation or person may be contracted by a BCA to work as its agent and perform building control functions on its behalf. The organisation or person may work independently (and off-site from the BCA) or may work within the BCA. To perform building control functions they must have powers and authorities granted to it in the BCA’s organisational structure and delegation framework. 

Contractors work under an agreement that is not an employment agreement. For this reason, regulations 10 and 11 of the Regulations do not apply to contractors. This is because an accredited organisation or BCA is required to effectively and consistently implement a system for choosing and using contractors performing building control functions under regulation 12.

Contractors providing technical or specialist advice

A BCA may rely on support from a technical or specialist organisation or person in its performance of a building control function. Contractors may be engaged to provide technical or specialist advice. This may include, for example, geotechnical engineering or fire engineering advice.

The accreditation requirements do not apply to contractors who provide technical or specialist expertise. This includes expertise that contributes to the processing of and decisions on applications, the development of compliance schedules and notices to fix where their advice is on a single matter, and given under specific direction or by special request.

Contractors may also carry out certain activities or functions such as writing policies and procedures, or performing competency or quality assessments. These contractors are not performing building control functions or providing technical or specialist advice related to the performance of a building control function – these contractors are outside the scope of the Regulations.

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: