BCA and TA Compliance Strategy

Last updated: 30 March 2022

The Compliance Strategy sets out MBIE's approach for enabling and ensuring the performance of building consent authorities (BCAs) and territorial authorities (TAs) under the Building Act 2004.

Purpose of the Strategy

MBIE aims to enable and ensure performance with its compliance framework, which comprises three compliance objectives and a suite of activities that aim to efficiently meet these objectives.

The primary objectives of MBIE's compliance framework are:

  1. Compliance Objective 1: Promote compliance
    • Create the conditions for sustained, voluntary compliance by using the 3Es: engage, educate and enable.
  2. Compliance Objective 2: Develop a picture of risk using monitoring and analysis
    • Utilise information to develop profiles of regulated entities and develop an overall picture of risk.
  3. Compliance Objective 3: Identify and respond to noncompliance
    • Respond to noncompliance to best encourage resolution. Escalate responses where noncompliance appears serious.


This Strategy can serve as a guide:

  • In the day-to-day running of compliance activities
  • When reviewing how current activities operate
  • When considering resourcing and capability needs.

Compliance Objective 1: Promoting compliance

All regulators in New Zealand are required to provide accessible, timely information and support to help regulated parties understand and meet their regulatory obligations.

It is important that MBIE takes a comprehensive approach to promoting compliance. To accomplish this, we use three processes - engage, educate and enable.

  Engage Educate Enable
Aim / Definition

Consult with regulated parties, stakeholders and community on matters that may affect them.

Maintain relationships and communication no matter what other processes or actions are underway.

Facilitate understanding of challenges and constraints, provide support and identify opportunities to work with others.

Alert regulated parties to compliance requirements, and remind them of their responsibilities.

Inform communities and stakeholders about what regulations are in place around them, so that they will better understand what is compliant and what is not.

Provide opportunities for regulated parties to be exposed to industry best practice and regulatory requirements.

Link regulated parties with appropriate industry advisors.

Promote examples of best practice.

Relevant Activities

BCA accreditation assessments.

TA assessments – the national monitoring and field assessments programme.

Conferences and industry events.

Case management.

Building Performance Webinars.

Attending BCA Cluster Group meetings.

Answering queries from councils.

Making information about compliance available through the Building Performance website and other channels.

Assisting councils during BCA accreditation and TA assessments.

Producing guidance.

Promoting effective cluster groups and using these as a channel rather than individual councils.

Promoting opportunities for councils with best practice approaches to share knowledge with those that are struggling.

Compliance Objective 2: Developing a Picture of Risk

All regulators need to target their activities so that they make the most of their limited resources. MBIE’s responsibility as the central regulator of the building system is to maintain its understanding of the environment on an ongoing basis to proactively identify systemic risks.

MBIE has a range of information at hand that can be utilised for this purpose. Monitoring and assessment programmes are essential tools for developing a picture of risk and can be redesigned as required to better capture information that meets MBIE's needs.

A rich understanding of council risk is needed to:

  • Manage the most serious risks and make the most of the greatest opportunities;
  • Understand and anticipate the particular needs of councils and respond accordingly; and
  • Develop a picture of performance across the sector, be intelligence-led and respond to emerging trends and areas of concern.

Compliance Objective 3: Identify and Respond to Noncompliance

All regulators need to target their activities so that they make the most of their limited resources. MBIE’s responsibility as the central regulator of the building system is to maintain its understanding of the environment on an ongoing basis to proactively identify systemic risks.

Indicators of Council Performance Responses
High performance
  • Assessments, reviews and monitoring find no issues, or few issues that are quickly addressed
  • Longer timeframes between reviews and assessments
  • Wellington-based monitoring in place of certain field assessments
  • Public communication about programmes.
Average/Poor Performance
  • Multiple instances of noncompliance
  • Noncompliance not rectified over time
  • Poor resourcing for Building Act functions
  • Shorter timeframes between reviews and assessments
  • More field-based work and more Wellington-based monitoring
  • Public communication highlighting issues found.
Very Poor Performance
  • Serious or systemic noncompliance
  • Widespread failure
  • Governance issues
  • Building Act functions significantly under resourced
  • Issues assessment / investigation
  • Revocation of accreditation
  • BCA disciplinary powers
  • Intervention
  • Public communication outlining failures.

Monitoring and Assessment Programmes

The BSA team runs monitoring and assessment programmes to identify noncompliance, and undertakes follow-up work to ensure that it has been addressed.

MBIE publishes reports to encourage councils to make changes, and to lay the groundwork for communicating with the public if noncompliance is not addressed. Where noncompliance is not addressed, MBIE can choose to escalate its response, as outlined below.

The process for identifying noncompliance through monitoring and assessment programmes is:

  1. Assessment
  2. Produce report with clear recommendations
  3. Follow up to check whether recommendations have been implemented
  4. Escalate where issues remain and / or are of significant concern.

Communication as an Essential Compliance Tool

We use clear, deliberate and authoritative communication to ensure that councils perform.

Once noncompliance has been identified, MBIE needs to communicate clearly and carefully to ensure that councils are best placed to respond. Through our communication we need to:

  • Clearly communicate the need for improvement, and its importance
  • Be clear what will occur if improvements are not implemented
  • Communicate in a way that reinforces the importance of building regulation, and takes the opportunity to drive improvements in the system.

Where more serious issues are identified, MBIE needs to consider the public interest, and communicate in a way that enables stakeholders to hold councils to account.

Sometimes councils may be identified as having serious issues. This may be revealed through the routine monitoring and assessment programmes, analysis of data, the determinations process, or via a complaint from a third external party (formally or informally). In particularly serious cases, concerns may be raised through the media.

In these cases, MBIE will deploy a range of responses to ensure the issue is rectified. Where issues are not rectified, MBIE will escalate its response.

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: