MBIE is working on the first comprehensive review of the Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) scheme since it was introduced in 2007. Work to strengthen the LBP scheme will ensure the rules keep pace with the changes in the sector since it was first introduced and are effective and efficient for practitioners, the regulator, and consumers.
Since the introduction of the LBP scheme in 2007, both the workforce and wider system has become more specialised and demands on builders have increased.
The changes being made to the LBP scheme aim to ensure that it is an effective mark of competent practitioners, and the Building Practitioners Board can hold LBPs accountable if minimum standards are not met.
Reforms will contribute to a more efficient building system, a lift in the quality of building work, and create fairer outcomes if things go wrong.
New code of ethics
On 26 October 2021 a code of ethics was introduced by the Government for Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs). There is a one-year transition period before it becomes enforceable from 25 October 2022.
The Code of Ethics details the standards of ethical behaviour expected of all LBPs in Aotearoa New Zealand. It will ensure high standards are maintained in the industry, while giving the public more confidence that LBPs are reputable and operate ethically. The majority of LBPs already meet these standards, but the Code of Ethics will hold those who do not to account.
The Code of Ethics is made up of nineteen standards, sitting under the following four key principles:
- work safely
- act within the law
- take responsibility for your actions
- behave professionally.
More information about the new LBP Code of Ethics - lbp.govt.nz
Law changes to improve administration of the LBP scheme
Cabinet has agreed to a range of changes to the way the LBP scheme is administered and the way the complaints and discipline function works.
Changes will be made to increase the flexibility of the scheme and reduce the administrative burden for LBPs, including:
- changes to the way licence status is recorded on the register, to differentiate between LBPs whose licence is suspended because they have not completed their paperwork on time and LBPs whose licence is suspended for disciplinary reasons
- introduce a grace period for licences that are not renewed on time, to give LBPs an opportunity to fix a missed renewal
- allow the licence term to be set in the LBP Rules, instead of the Act, and align the licence term with skills maintenance requirements.
A range of changes will be made to more clearly separate the role of investigating a complaint and hearing and deciding on complaints, including:
- complaints to the Board must be made through the Registrar, who will make a decision on whether the complaint should proceed
- complaints that proceed will have an independent investigator appointed, who will have a range of powers and who will provide a report to the Board on the outcome of their investigation
- if the investigator recommends the Board should consider the complaint, the Board must hold a hearing.
A bill to introduce these changes is expected to be introduced into Parliament in early 2023.
More information about the law changes - mbie.govt.nz
Next steps for Licensed Building Practitioners
The next stage of work looks at how other features of the LBP scheme could be improved to lift confidence. In May 2021, MBIE consulted on potential issues with the licence class structure, supervision quality and minimum competence requirements. The feedback we received through this process will inform next steps for the work, and the sector will be kept informed of any proposals for change.
More information about further changes to the LBP scheme - mbie.govt.nz