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4. Registrar’s Report

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4.1 A written report was presented to the Board from Craig Hill, Acting Registrar, dated 19 November 2008. The report covered the following:

4.2 In order to become licensed, the Appellant was required to satisfy the Registrar that he met the applicable minimum standards for licensing (under section 286 of the Act).

4.3 The minimum standards are set out in Schedule 1 to the Rules, and take the form of “competencies” which must all be satisfied as follows:
• Competency 1: Comprehend and apply knowledge of the regulatory environment of the building construction industry.
• Competency 2: Manage the building design process.
• Competency 3: Establish design briefs and scope of work and prepare preliminary design.
• Competency 4: Develop design and produce construction drawings and documentation.
• Competency 5: Provide contract observation and contract administration.

4.4 These competencies may be demonstrated by meeting some or all of the performance indicators that are also set out in Schedule 1 (Design 3 competencies) of the Rules. In carrying out an assessment, the Assessor must use methods prescribed by the Registrar (see Rule 11(1)).

4.5 The competencies address a broad range of skills and knowledge that a design practitioner should be able to demonstrate. These address the skills and knowledge necessary for a designer to be able to satisfactorily demonstrate compliance with the New Zealand Building Code. However, the competencies also address other skills that a competent designer is expected to demonstrate, for example managing the design process or establishing a design brief.

4.6 The frame of reference for the competencies is provided by the “Descriptor” for the licensing class. For Design 3, the Descriptor states –

“This licence class covers practitioners designing Category 1, 2 and 3 buildings”.

The explanatory note under the Descriptor explains that –

“Category 3 buildings are buildings that present a high risk to occupants, or are of high community importance, or have been assigned Category 2 status under the Historic Places Act 1993.”

4.7 The Registrar must take into consideration the Assessor’s recommendation before making a decision (under Rule 12(2)).

In the Registrar’s view, the Assessor:

(a) is a reputable and experienced practitioner,
(b) has been selected as a person appropriate to be an Assessor and has been trained in assessment,
(c) has met the Applicant and reviewed his design work first hand.

4.8 It is important to appreciate the proximity of the Assessor to the Applicant. The Assessor formed a view about the competence of the Appellant through direct contact with him, by reviewing his work, and by talking to his referees. The Registrar does not have all of this information available when making a decision, and must rely on the Assessor to be his “eyes and ears”.

4.9 Reliance on the Assessor does not mean that the Registrar cannot reach a different view about an applicant from the view reached by the Assessor. The Registrar is required to maintain an independent view. However, in the normal course of events the Registrar will accept a recommendation of the Assessor, unless there are strong reasons for not doing so.

4.10 In making the recommendation to decline the application, the following reasons were recorded by the Assessor:

(a) Competency 4 – the Appellant was unable to provide any construction drawings that met the requirements for Design 3 (i.e. that related to Category 3 buildings).
(b) The one house set of drawings presented for assessment was
Category 2.
(c) All other projects presented by the Appellant for assessment were Category 2 buildings that were not originally designed by the Appellant but worked on by him as a weathertightness assessor.

The Assessor noted that the Appellant covered the remaining competencies very well and showed the skills he has when it comes to the type of projects he undertakes.

4.11 The Registrar’s decision to offer the Appellant a different licence class (and in effect declining the original application) was based solely on the Assessor’s recommendation to offer a different licensing class for the reasons set out above.

4.12 The Assessor’s report provided descriptions of four project records that were considered as part of the application:

The Assessor’s descriptions in his report make it clear that the building projects presented for assessment were Category 2 buildings.

The Registrar did not consider that there was any reason or concern that would lead him to overrule the Assessor’s recommendation.

The Registrar had not considered the evidence and information provided with the Appellant’s appeal.

4.13 In his oral submissions in support of the Registrar’s report, and responses to questions from the Board members, Mr Scully stated:

(a) Applicants must demonstrate their competency in the assessment process. For a Design 3 Licence, applicants must demonstrate a competency in the design of “large, complex buildings by their experience”.

(b) That the Appellant has not presented any new evidence to demonstrate the required competencies for Design 3 Licence.

(c) In order to progress from Design 2 to Design 3 Licence, a Licensed Building Practitioner would be expected to gain experience with Design 3 under the supervision of a mentor. While the Licensing Scheme was in a voluntary phase the use of a mentor was not a requirement.

4.14 Mr Scully counselled the Board not to use an appeal to re-design the Licensing Scheme or to conduct a re-assessment of the Appellant’s application.

Last updated 11 May 2015