Glossary of terms and abbreviations

Last updated: 10 April 2017

Design plans

This is a glossary of the key terms and abbreviations that are relevant to the building consent authority accreditation scheme. In some cases, key terms have been defined specifically for the purpose of an accreditation assessment.

A

Absent 
Absent – for the purpose of an accreditation assessment – means something is missing from the suite of required policies, procedures and systems.

Accreditation assessments
Accreditation assessments are assessments of an accredited organisation or building consent authority’s compliance with the accreditation requirements in the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006. 

The Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 can be found on the Legislation website.

Accreditation body
The accreditation body is appointed by the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to undertake accreditation assessments. The current accreditation body is International Accreditation New Zealand.

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

Accredited organisation
An accredited organisation or person has been assessed as meeting the minimum standards and criteria within the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006.

Accreditation requirements
The Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 set out the accreditation requirements for an organisation. An accredited organisation or building consent authority must comply with the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 to be accredited by the accreditation body.

Act 
See the Building Act 2004.

Adequate means
Adequate means – for the purpose of an accreditation assessment – is having the ability to cover any civil liabilities that may arise in performing consenting functions.

Administrative authority
A building consent authority’s organisational structure and delegation framework may provide its employees or contractors with particular administrative authorities linked to its management structure. For example, managers may be given the administrative authority to officially ‘sign out’ a building consent or a code compliance certificate, or issue a compliance schedule or notice to fix on the building consent authority’s behalf. This may be the case even where the processing and substantive decisions related to the matter have (effectively) been made by someone else.

It is not unusual to separate management or administrative authorities or functions within an organisation from the powers and authorities to perform legislative duties or functions such as those under the Building Act 2004 (although one person may have multiple authorities and powers). 

For the purposes of an accreditation assessment, the performance of an administrative authority, such as signing out a building consent, code compliance certificate, compliance schedule or notice to fix, under a building consent authority’s management structure should not be considered the performance of a building control function. For example, if a building consent authority has a policy of having all official records and documents signed out by a manager (or higher), the manager is not performing a building control function in the following circumstances:

  • a building control official decides a consent application under section 49 of the Building Act 2004 using powers they have been authorised to exercise through the building consent authority’s delegation framework. The consent is to be signed by their manager under the administrative authority of the building consent authority or its parent organisation. 
  • a contractor working externally to a building consent authority may be authorised to exercise the power to issue a compliance schedule under section 102A of the Building Act 2004 on behalf of a building consent authority, acting as their agent. The schedule is signed out by the manager under the administrative authority of the building consent authority or its parent organisation. It is sent out by a customer service officer.

Advisory notes
The accreditation body will issue advisory notes where, in its view, an accredited organisation or building consent authority has the potential to improve its policies, procedures and systems or their implementation.

APL
See assessed prior learning.

Applicant/s
An applicant is an organisation or person who makes an application to become accredited.

Appropriate for purpose
A policy, procedure or system required by the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 is appropriate for purpose where it (as applicable):

  • enables, for consenting decisions, an accredited organisation or building consent authority to be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the provisions of the Building Code would be met if the building work were properly completed in accordance with the plans and specifications that accompanied the application 

    Or
  • enables, for code compliance decisions, an accredited organisation or building consent authority to be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building work complies with the building consent and any required compliance schedules are fit for purpose

    Or
  • sets out a systematic approach for the accredited organisation or building consent authority that enables the delivery of an outcome, performance of a task, or recording and reporting of a matter that meets the minimum standards for accreditation.

Appropriate for purpose means that:

  • an employee of an accredited organisation or building consent authority, or a contractor, can use the applicable policy, procedure or system to come to a decision about whether to grant a building consent, pass an inspection, or issue a code compliance certificate, compliance schedule or notice to fix

    Or
  • the policy, procedure or system required by the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 meets the minimum standards for accreditation clarified in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s regulatory guidance. The minimum standards and criteria may vary depending on the accredited organisation or building consent authority, and the number and nature of the building control work it performs.

Assessed prior learning
Assessed prior learning (APL) or recognised prior learning (RPL) is a mechanism for formally recognising skills and knowledge someone has acquired from informal learning.

B

BCA
See building consent authority.

BCO
See building control official.

Building Act 2004 (the Act)
The Building Act 2004 sets out the foundations for the building consent authority accreditation scheme, and can be found on the Legislation website.

Building Code
The Building Code is contained in regulations under the Building Act 2004. The Building Act 2004 and associated regulations govern the building sector and also set out the rules for the construction, alteration, demolition and maintenance of new and existing buildings in New Zealand.

Building control official
A building control official (BCO) is a person who performs building control functions, such as processing building consents, undertaking inspections of building work, or issuing code compliance certificates. Building control officials who do a technical job must hold an appropriate technical qualification.

Building consent authority
A building consent authority (BCA) can exercise powers under the Building Act 2004 related to the performance of building control functions. An organisation or person must be accredited and registered to be a building consent authority.

Building Warrant of Fitness
A declaration issued annually by a building owner confirming that the requirements of the compliance schedule have been fully complied with for the past 12 months. 

BWOF
See Building Warrant of Fitness.

C

CAR
See Corrective Action Request.

CCC
See Code Compliance Certificate.

Certificate for Public Use
A certificate issued by a territorial authority confirming that public premises are safe to use. This certificate is issued when there is a need to open or use public premises that are still under construction, and that have not yet been completed to a stage that a Code Compliance Certificate can be issued.

Certificate of Acceptance
A certificate issued by a territorial authority confirming that certain works (generally those undertaken without consent) are deemed to meet the Building Code as far as the territorial authority can ascertain.

Certificate of Accreditation
A Certificate of Accreditation is issued by the accreditation body and will be supplied to an accredited organisation upon confirmation that they comply with the accreditation requirements in the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authority) Regulations 2006.

COA
See Certificate of Acceptance.

Code Compliance Certificate
Code Compliance Certificates are issued by a building consent authority confirming that certain building works have been completed and comply with the building consent.

Common standard
Common standards are those Australian/New Zealand Standards that are incorporated into the Building Code by reference.

Complete application
An application is considered a complete application when it contains all the relevant information and complies with section 45 of the Building Act 2004.

The date of receipt of a complete application is the date the application was received; either by mail, at the counter or via e-lodgement. It is not the date that the application was checked or vetted, assessed, entered into the system or allocated for processing.

Compliance schedule 
A legal document issued under the Building Act 2004 for some buildings and building work and provides: 

  • a description of all specified systems for the building and the performance standards for each of them
  • the proposed inspection, maintenance, and reporting procedures for the specified systems. 

A compliance schedule is a document issued by a territorial authority or a building consent authority that identifies life-saving features or systems contained within a building, and states the reporting, maintenance and inspection criteria for these.

Contractor
Contractors work under an agreement that is not an employment agreement. Contractors may be engaged as a private organisation or person.

Corrective Action Request
Corrective Action Requests were issued to an accredited organisation or building consent authority where the accreditation body identified an instance of non-compliance with accreditation requirements during an accreditation assessment.

CPU
See Certificate for Public Use.

CS
See Compliance schedule.

D

Department of Building and Housing
The Department of Building and Housing (DBH) was merged into the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on 1 July 2012.

F

Fit and proper person

An applicant for registration that is a private organisation or person must be a fit and proper person. This means that they must be:

  • of good character and have integrity
  • able to maintain impartiality and independence in the delivery of building control functions
  • able to conduct themselves professionally
  • able to demonstrate an ability to conduct business in a responsible and ethical manner.

The supporting information that must be supplied with an initial application for registration by a private organisation or person is intended to enable the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to make a decision about whether an applicant is a fit and proper person.

Full accreditation assessment
A full accreditation assessment is a comprehensive assessment by the accreditation body of an accredited organisation or building consent authority’s compliance with the accreditation requirements. It is an assessment that involves sampling of activities related to one or more accreditation requirements. The size and depth of sampling is based on the performance of an accredited organisation or building consent authority.

G

Gazette
The New Zealand Gazette is the official government newspaper and authoritative journal of constitutional record (published since 1841).

General non-compliance
General non-compliance is where an applicant, accredited organisation or building consent authority has failed to consistently and effectively implement a policy, procedure or system (or part thereof) required by the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006.

GMCs
Government model contracts: A set of standard conditions of contract for routine government purchases.

H

Heritage New Zealand
Heritage New Zealand is the leading national historic heritage agency.

High-performing
Generally, a high-performing organisation or building consent authority is considered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to be committed to the accreditation scheme and to continuously meeting all accreditation requirements. This means that non-compliance with the accreditation requirements is not found in any accreditation assessment. A range of other factors may also be taken into account when determining high performance.

Hunn Group
On 18 February 2002, the Building Industry Authority appointed a Weathertightness Overview Group (known as the Hunn Group) to inquire into the weathertightness of buildings in New Zealand in general, and in particular into the concerns regarding housing that is leaking and causing decay. The Hunn Group produced the Report of the Overview Group on the Weathertightness of Buildings (the Hunn Report).

Hunn Report
Report of the Overview Group on the Weathertightness of Buildings is available on the Step Up Group website.

I

IANZ
See International Accreditation New Zealand.

Inconsistent or ineffective implementation
Inconsistent or ineffective implementation may be demonstrated where the accreditation body finds multiple instances of non-compliance that show a pattern of failure to follow:

  • policy, procedure or system by a single employee or contractor
  • all or part of a policy, procedure or system by multiple employees or contractors.

The accreditation body must be able to provide evidence to support a finding of inconsistent or ineffective implementation. A pattern of failure may be evidenced through a number of decisions that are inadequate or inaccurate. The number of decisions required to provide evidence of a pattern of failure may vary depending on the number and nature of the building control work the accredited organisation or building consent authority performs. This should be discussed between the lead assessor and authorised representative. Where it can be seen that an employee or contractor had a bad day or made a one-off mistake, it is not evidence of a pattern.

Independent audit system
For the purposes of accreditation ‘independent audit system’ may be understood as being a system that is consistently and effectively implemented by an independent auditor or auditors who may be employees of the building consent authority or its parent organisation, or competent contractors. To be independent, the person or persons undertaking the audit must not perform any building control functions within the building consent authority (but may have administrative authorities, for example as part of the management team). An auditor must not be in a position of auditing their own work.

Independently perform building control functions
Section 193 of the Building Act 2004 provides that a person whose name is entered on the Register of Building Consent Authorities may perform the functions of a building consent authority. It is otherwise an offence to independently perform the functions of a building consent authority.

Initial accreditation assessment
An initial accreditation assessment is the first accreditation assessment of an applicant that wants to become an accredited organisation or a building consent authority. An accredited organisation or a building consent authority that has had accreditation revoked must reapply for accreditation and will also undergo an initial accreditation assessment.

Internal audit
Internal audits are a series of scheduled audits/reviews performed to verify that a quality assurance system has been effectively implemented and maintained, and that it continues to conform to the requirements of the prescribed standards and criteria.

International Accreditation New Zealand  
International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) has been appointed as the accreditation body by the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

L

Licensed building practitioner (LBP)
A building practitioner whose name has been entered onto the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s register of licensed building practitioners, and who is permitted, within his or her licence class, to design, construct or supervise restricted building work.

M

Management
Management for the purposes of regulation 6A of the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) 2006 means the chief executive of the authority, and every manager or director who is responsible for directing or controlling the building control functions of the authority.

MBIE
See Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has further information on its website.

Monitoring assessment
A monitoring assessment is not a comprehensive, full accreditation assessment. It is an assessment that involves sampling of activities related to one or more accreditation requirements. The size and depth of sampling is based on the performance of an accredited organisation or building consent authority.

In a monitoring assessment, sampling for:

  • high-performing organisations or building consent authorities will be light, and may have a narrow focus
  • poorly performing organisations or building consent authorities will be more in-depth and may have multiple foci.

A monitoring assessment will include a targeted document review of one or more policies, procedures and systems, and may be done remotely. A monitoring assessment may also include targeted:

  • reviews of records of one or more implemented policies, procedures and systems 
  • interviews with employees and contractors and other key organisational representatives
  • witnessing of activities.

For organisations or building consent authorities with an independent quality assurance system, a monitoring assessment may focus on the effective and consistent operation of that system.

A monitoring assessment may result in the accreditation body being satisfied of the building consent authority’s ongoing compliance with accreditation requirements. In some cases, a monitoring assessment may develop, through the assessment process, into a full assessment. This may occur where the process identifies non-compliance or the need for an on-site assessment, witnessing of activities or audit of records due to a concern about non-compliance.

N

NCAS
See National Building Consent Authority competency assessment system.

National Building Consent Authority competency assessment system
The National Building Consent Authority competency assessment system is MBIE’s system for assessing the competency of employees and contractors performing building control functions.

New Zealand Fire Service Commission
The New Zealand Fire Service Commission is a large organisation spread geographically throughout NZ, comprising of five different regions with around 450 stations and approximately 8,300 Volunteer Firefighters and 1,699 Career Firefighters spread throughout the country.

New Zealand Gazette
See Gazette.

New Zealand Historic Places Trust
See Heritage New Zealand.

Notice to Comply
Notices to Comply are issued to an accredited organisation or building consent authority where the accreditation body identifies an instance of non-compliance with accreditation requirements during an accreditation assessment.

Notice to Fix
A legal document issued by a territorial authority or a building consent authority instructing a specified person to remedy a contravention of building legislation.

NTF
See Notice to Fix.

NZFS
See New Zealand Fire Service Commission.

NZHPT
See Heritage New Zealand.

O

Office of the Auditor General (OAG)
Office of the Auditor General has further information on its website.

P

PAC
See Professional Advisory Committee.

Parent organisation
A building consent authority may be part of a wider organisation. This organisation is the parent organisation. For a building consent authority that is part of a territorial authority or regional authority, the territorial authority or regional authority is the parent organisation.

PIM
See Project Information Memorandum.

Poor-performing
Generally, a poorly performing accredited organisation or building consent authority may not demonstrate commitment to the accreditation scheme and continuously meeting all accreditation requirements. The accreditation body may regularly find examples of non-compliance in its accreditation assessments. A range of other factors may also be taken into account when determining performance.

Professional Advisory Committee
Convened by the accreditation body to provide advice to support accreditation assessments.

Project Information Memorandum
A document issued by the territorial authority that includes information relevant to proposed building work.

Q

Quality assurance system
A documented system describing the organisational structure, responsibilities, procedures, processes, and resources for implementing quality management principals to achieve management goals and objectives (including statutory) within a business. This includes all activities that contribute to quality – directly or indirectly.

R

RBW
See restricted building work.

Reasonable opportunity to be heard
For the purposes of the building consent authority scheme, a 20-working-day timeframe will generally be considered reasonable to be heard as the accredited organisation or building consent authority:

  • will already be aware of its non-compliance with accreditation requirements 
  • will already have had the opportunity to address the non-compliance
  • should have established reasons for any failure to address the non-compliance.

Reasonable opportunity to make written submissions
For the purposes of the building consent authority scheme, a 20-working-day timeframe will generally be considered reasonable to make written submissions as the accredited organisation or building consent authority:

  • will already be aware of its non-compliance with accreditation requirements 
  • will already have had the opportunity to address the non-compliance
  • should have established reasons for any failure to address the non-compliance.

Recognised prior learning 
Recognised prior learning (RPL) or assessed prior learning (APL) is a mechanism for formally recognising skills and knowledge someone has acquired from informal learning.

Recommendations
The accreditation body will make a recommendation where it identifies the future potential for non-compliance with the policies, procedures and systems required by the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006.

Records
Records include any evidence of the delivery of an outcome or performance of a task. This includes consent processing, inspection and code compliance certificate decision.

The evidence may include:

  • written or electronic files, letters, emails or other correspondence 
  • file notes
  • consent applications and accompanying materials including plans, specifications, submissions 
  • inspection requests and accompanying materials 
  • code compliance certificate applications and accompanying materials which may include photographs, sketches and sound recordings.

Records Management Standard
Records Management Standard for the New Zealand Public Sector (PDF) is available on the Archives website.

Regulations
The Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 can be found on the Legislation website.

Resource Management Act
The Resource Management Act 1991 is available on the Legislation website.

Restricted building work
Work that is critical to the envelope and structural integrity of the building, plus fire design for small and medium-sized apartments.

RMA
See Resource Management Act.

RMS
See Records Management Standard.

RPL
See recognised prior learning.

S

Scheme
The building consent authority accreditation scheme.

Serious non-compliance
Serious non-compliance is where one or more of the minimum policies, procedures and systems required by the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 are absent (and the function that requires it has not been formally transferred) or are not appropriate for purpose. Serious non-compliance may also include where an applicant, accredited organisation or building consent authority has failed completely to implement one or more of the required policies, procedures or systems.

T

Technical job
The Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 do not define a technical job. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment 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 Building Act 2004.

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.

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 building consent authority, their technical appropriateness, or technical implementation.

A technical leader may have responsibility for advising on matters within a building consent authority. 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 building consent authority’s policies, procedures or systems for the delivery of its building control functions.

Technical leaders may be employees or contractors working within a building consent authority. 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 building consent authority, accredited organisation or private organisation. They may be private persons.

Technical or specialist advice
Technical or specialist advice 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.

Technical resource
A technical resource is a resource that supports a building consent authority to perform its building control functions. It includes information, facilities and equipment.

Technical information includes but is not limited to:

  • building legislation, including the Building Code
  • other legislation and regulations relevant to building and construction
  • published standards
  • technical literature such as Codewords articles, BRANZ guidelines
  • manufacturer’s product specification information.

Appropriate facilities for performing building control functions may include:

  • work stations at an office 
  • vehicles for those needing to undertake on-site work.

Technical equipment may include but is not limited to:

  • stationery, such as pens, notebooks, clip board, scissors and paperclips
  • computer facilities and software, such as email and word processing
  • filing systems
  • measuring equipment, such as tape measures and moisture meters
  • access equipment, such as ladders and mirrors
  • tools, such as tape measures, spirit levels, spades, prodders and screwdrivers.

Technical scope of accreditation
A technical scope of accreditation details the types of buildings for which a building consent authority may perform building control functions, and/or the specific building control functions they may perform. The types of buildings will be based on the National Building Consent Authority competency assessment system building levels.

Training programme
The set of related elements that focus on addressing an organisation's training needs. It includes an organisation's training plan, materials, development, conduct, facilities, evaluation, and maintenance of training records.

Treasury
The New Zealand Treasury has further information on its website.

W

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 your business outcomes.

Workforce planning explained can be found on the Australian Public Service Commission website.

Working day
Working day means a day of the week other than:

  • Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, the Sovereign's Birthday, Labour Day, and Waitangi Day, and
  • if Waitangi Day or Anzac Day falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, the following Monday, and
  • the day observed in the appropriate area as the anniversary of the province of which the area forms a part, and
  • a day in the period beginning on 20 December in any year and ending with the close of 10 January in the following year.

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: