When you need an LBP

If you’re thinking of getting building or renovation work done on your house or apartment, you need to check if it’s ‘restricted building work’ (RBW). If it is, you’ll need a licensed building practitioner – or LBP – to do it.

Restricted building work involves the building’s structure, weathertightness, and design of fire safety systems.

Because this work is so important, it’s only allowed to be done by licensed building practitioners (LBPs). LBPs are assessed before getting licensed, and have to maintain their skills to keep their licence.

Restricted building work, and the requirement to use LBPs to do it, was brought in on 1 March 2012 (through changes to the Building Act 2004).

What are LBPs?

In November 2007 the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) (formerly Department of Building and Housing) established the licensed building practitioner scheme under the Building Act 2004.

This scheme sets out a regulated process where skilled and/or qualified building practitioners must demonstrate their ability to meet industry consulted competencies in order to obtain the status of being LBPs.

The scheme has 7 licence classes:

  • Design
  • Site (these are on-site supervisors or project managers)
  • Carpentry
  • Roofing
  • External Plastering
  • Brick and Blocklaying
  • Foundation

Registered architects, plumbers and chartered professional engineers are also treated as being licensed to do or supervise certain elements of RBW.

Why restricted building work (RBW) is important

Restricted building work (RBW) is work that is critical to the integrity of a building. It must be done properly to ensure the building is structurally sound and weathertight.

Restricted building work can only be done or supervised by tradespeople who have proven they are properly skilled – licensed building practitioners (LBPs).

It is an offence for an unlicensed person to carry out or supervise RBW. It is also an offence to knowingly engage an unlicensed person to carry out or supervise restricted building work.

Restricted building work – Offences and penalties

How to identify restricted building work (RBW)

RBW is everything that involves or affects the:

  • primary structure – This work contributes to the resistance of vertical (such as walls and columns) and horizontal loads (such as foundation, floors and roofs).
  • 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:

  1. damp-proofing your floor area, on and underneath floors
  2. roof and wall cladding systems (windows, ventilators, openings and penetrations etc.)
  3. waterproofing anything that is exposed to airborne moisture or can allow moisture to enter the building, such as a balcony.
  • design of fire safety systems – This work involves elements intended to protect people and property from fire.

For example:

  1. an adjacent household unit in an apartment building is at risk if one catches fire
  2. automatic doors and windows
  3. escape routes.

When you don’t need an LBP

If the work doesn’t affect the home’s primary structure, weathertightness or design of fire safety systems, then it’s not restricted building work and doesn’t require you to engage an LBP.

New Zealand’s building legislation recognises that a number of things we do which are considered ‘building work’ are low risk. Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 makes provisions for this through a series of exemptions.

The guide Building work that does not require building consent describes each of the Schedule 1 exemptions including what the law says, guidance and useful examples.

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