The licensed building practitioners (LBP) scheme was launched in November 2007 following an amendment to the Building Act 2004. Its purpose is to encourage competent building practitioners to build homes right the first time. The scheme also gives consumers the necessary information to make informed decisions about the competence of building practitioners they may engage.
The parties administering the LBP scheme
The Building Practitioners Board (the Board)
The Board oversees the LPB scheme. It comprises eight members who are appointed by the Governor-General and who have a mix of skills and industry experience. It is independent of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, but the Ministry supports its role and functions.
The Board’s functions are divided into four main areas:
- hears appeals against licensing decisions made by the Registrar
- investigates and hears complaints about the conduct of licensed building practitioners (LBPs)
- approves rules applying to LBPs (the LBP Rules)
- reports annually to the Minister for Building and Construction on its activities.
The Registrar and the Ministry
The Registrar is appointed by the chief executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and performs the following functions:
- administers the LBP scheme on behalf of the Government
- decides when an applicant meets the requirements to be licensed
- keeps a publicly available register of LBPs
- decides if an LBP meets the requirements for continued licensing
- supports the Board in investigating complaints
- decides the Skills Maintenance requirements of each licence class – (Skills Maintenance describes what each LBP must do to keep current with their skills and regulatory knowledge.)
The Ministry provides policy support in preparing the LBP Rules on behalf of the Ministry’s chief executive. The LBP Rules are then approved by both the Board and the Minister for Building and Construction.
The purposes of licensing building practitioners
The purposes of occupational licensing for building practitioners, as set out in the Building Act 2004, are:
- to assess and record building practitioners as having certain skills and knowledge relevant to building work; and
- to license building practitioners so that they can carry out or supervise restricted building work.
Elements of the LBP scheme
The LBP scheme has 7 different licence classes
- Design (Design 1, 2 and 3 areas of practice)
- Site (Site 1, 2 and 3 areas of practice)
- External plastering
- Bricklaying and blocklaying
Each licence class has minimum standards
Each licence class sets out minimum standards that require a certain level of knowledge, experience, or skill. The standards appear in the LBP Rules as minimum competencies and form the basis for assessing a building practitioner for licensing.
Registered LBPs can be found on a public register
The public register holds the details of LBPs who are registered under the LBP scheme. Anyone wanting to confirm the validity of a licence or to locate an LBP may use the register. For further identification the Registrar also issues each LBP with a photo ID licence card.
The LBP logo
The LBP logo identifies LBPs as skilled and competent in their licence class. It contributes to public awareness of registered LBPs and the LBP scheme. The logo may only be used under certain conditions and with the permission of the Registrar.
LBPs must carry out or supervise Restricted Building Work
The category of restricted building work (RBW) came into effect on 1 March 2012. RBW involves critical areas of residential home design and construction that can only be carried out or supervised by LBPs (*and certain registered professionals). It does not include building work for which a building consent is not required.
RBW is everything that involves or affects:
- the primary structure of a building. This work contributes to the resistance of loads that are vertical (such as walls and columns) and horizontal (such as foundation, floors and roofs)
- the outside of the building, which has an influence on weathertightness. This includes anything that prevents the entry of outside moisture and helps control moisture inside the building fabric. For example: damp-proofing your floor area, on and underneath floors; roof and wall cladding systems (windows, ventilators, openings and penetrations etc.); waterproofing anything that is exposed to airborne moisture or can allow moisture to enter the building, such as a balcony.
- the design of fire safety systems. This involves elements intended to protect people and property from fire. For example: fire alarms in adjacent apartments where both are at risk if one of them catches fire; automatic doors and windows; escape routes etc.
LBPs must work within their personal competency
LBPs should only undertake work that they are confident doing. An LBP licensed in Carpentry may be permitted to work on any category building (the degree of difficulty measured in category 1, 2 or 3) but might only have the confidence or experience in category 1 and that is where they should confine their work. It is up to the LBP to make sure he or she has sufficient skills and knowledge.
LBPs are accountable to the Building Practitioners Board
- LBP Complaints: The Board may receive, investigate and hear a complaint about an LBP when it comes within one or more of the stated grounds for discipline. The Board does not deal with contractual issues or payment disputes. Complaints may be about doing work negligently or incompetently; doing or supervising RBW when not appropriately licensed; or not providing the necessary records of building work for RBW.
- Licensing Appeals: The Board may also hear an appeal from an LBP who disagrees with a licensing decision made by the Registrar.
* Please Note: Certain registered trade professionals are treated as licensed. Some elements of RBW can be carried out by qualified and registered trade professionals, who are under the jurisdiction of their own boards. This applies to New Zealand registered engineers, architects, plumbers and gasfitters.