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4. Registrar's Report

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4.1 A written report was received from the Registrar dated 20 January 2009. 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
s. 286 of the Act).

The minimum standards are set out in Schedule 1 of the Rules, and take the form of “competencies” all of which must all be satisfied. (Refer 2.6)

These competencies may be demonstrated by meeting some or all of the performance indicators that are also set out in Schedule 1 (Design 2 competencies) of the Rules. In carrying out an assessment, the Assessor must use methods prescribed by the Registrar (see Rule 11(1)).

The competencies address a broad range of skills and knowledge 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.

The frame of reference for the competencies is provided by the “Descriptor” for the licensing class. For Design 2, the Descriptor sates –

“This license class covers practitioners designing Category 1 and 2 buildings.”

The explanatory note under the Descriptor explains that –

“Category 2 buildings are buildings of moderate complexity for commercial or residential use.”

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

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”.

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 an Assessor, unless there are strong reasons for not doing so.

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

(a) Competency 1: The knowledge of the current amendments to NZS 3604 and the revisions to the NZ Building Code were very limited. The Appellant did not hold current copies in his office or have access to this information online. The basis undertaking of client engagement was not able to be demonstrated. (The Appellant disputed some of the Assessor’s comments and demonstrated by production of documents which he had brought with him to the hearing that the Assessor was incorrect on some matters).

(b) Competency 5: The Appellant was not able to explain the importance and process of contract documentation, observation and the processes of such work. Although he had undertaken some of this work, his documentation was not presented and it appeared that he only had a brief understanding of the full process and only undertook parts of the work when issues arose.

The Assessor noted that after discussion with the peer reviewer it was agreed that Competency 1 had still not been satisfied, therefore was not able to support an offer of a Design 1 licensing class.

The Registrar did not consider that there was any justifiable reason for him not to agree with the Assessor’s recommendation.

4.5 In response to questions from Board members, the Registrar’s representative stated:

(a) In his submissions to the hearing, the Appellant had focused on the assessment process rather than demonstrating to the Board that he met the requirements for Competencies 1 and 5.

(b) As the Board has stated in previous appeal decisions, the fact that a building consent authority has issued a building consent based on the Appellant’s design does not demonstrate that the requirements of Competency 1 have been attained and this is more important for a Design 2 License.

(c) The Registrar’s representative assured the Board that the Assessor had appropriate qualifications and experience to assess a Design 2 License application.

4.6 The Appellant made responses to the Registrar’s representative in respect of some of his comments.

Last updated 11 May 2015