Code of ethics
From 25 October 2022, the code of ethics for Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) is enforceable by the Building Practitioners Board. The Government introduced the new code of ethics for LBPs in October 2021, with a 1-year transition before it became enforceable.
A woman who is a homeowner is speaking to the camera as she walks along the driveway to her house. In the background, a licensed builder practitioner walks to his van to put some tools in the open boot.
As the woman is walking along her driveway she says: “We’ve recently worked with a licensed building practitioner to build our family home and we’re so happy with how it all went.”
The woman is sitting on the couch in her living room reading a book. She looks up from her book and says: “A code of ethics is now in place for licensed building practitioners.”
On a black background, the four principles of the code of ethics are listed. These are: Work safely, Follow the law, Take responsibility and Behave professionally.
As the four principles appear on the page, the woman says: “This will make sure they work safely, follow the law, take responsibility for their actions and behave in a professional way.”
The woman picks up two coffee cups from the kitchen bench and turns towards the kitchen door. As she picks up the coffee cups and turns, she says: “Our licensed building practitioner was trustworthy and professional.”
The woman and the licensed building practitioner are standing at the beginning of the driveway by the gate, each holding a cup of coffee. The woman says: “To learn more about the code of ethics, visit the licensed building practitioners’ website.”
The licensed building practitioners’ website (www.lbp.govt.nz) is displayed on a black background with the licensed building practitioners’ logo at the top of the page.
Why have a code of ethics
The code of ethics ensures high standards are maintained in the industry, while giving the public more confidence that LBPs are reputable and operate ethically.
The majority of LBPs were already working to the highest professional and ethical standards before the code of ethics was introduced. Formalising this into a code of ethics, aligned the LBP scheme with international best practice. It also provides clear grounds for the Building Practitioners Board to take disciplinary action against LBPs who behave unprofessionally. The Board is able to issue fines or cancel licences where necessary.
Homeowners can have greater confidence that when they choose an LBP to undertake building work, they are doing so in a safe, legal, and professional way, and that LBPs will take responsibility for their work.
There have been no changes to the LBP licensing scheme as a result of the code of ethics coming into force.
Summary of the code of ethics
The code of ethics is made up of 19 standards, sitting under the following 4 key principles:
- Work safely
- Take responsibility for health and safety
- Report unsafe behaviour by others on a building site
- Avoid harming the environment.
- Act within the law
- Comply with the law
- Report breaches of the law.
- Take responsibility for your actions
- Know what building work you are allowed to do
- Explain risks to your client
- Inform and educate your client
- Be accountable for building work carried out by you, or someone under your supervision
- Advise clients of any delays as soon as they become apparent
- Act in your client’s interests
- Generally, you should follow your client’s instructions, unless the instructions are dangerous, are contrary to contracts or consents, or would mean you would not be acting within the law.
- Behave professionally
- Behave professionally
- Act in good faith during dispute resolution
- Price work fairly and reasonably
- Declare and manage actual or potential conflicts of interest appropriately
- Maintain confidentiality of client details unless there is good reason for sharing information
- Acknowledge and respect the cultural norms and values of your clients and colleagues
- Conduct your business in a methodical and responsible manner.
See the resources tab for information and education resources MBIE has developed to help you understand more about the code of ethics.
What the law says
To understand what the law says, see:
Building (Code of Ethics for Licensed Building Practitioners) Order 2021(external link) — New Zealand Legislation
How the code of ethics was developed
In April 2019, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) began work on the code of ethics as part of the Building System Reform Programme. In December 2019, the Minister for Building and Construction agreed to introduce a code of ethics, alongside other work to strengthen the LBP scheme.
Building System Reforms(external link) — Building Performance
In September 2020, MBIE consulted with key stakeholders and all LBPs on the proposals for the code of ethics. The consultation ran for eight weeks and reached out to approximately 26,000 stakeholders. Over the course of the consultation period, MBIE received 79 written submissions and engaged with 277 webinar attendees. MBIE considered this feedback and made changes to ensure the code of ethics met the Building System Reforms’ aims and the needs of the sector.
In mid-2021, MBIE made final adjustments to the code of ethics before it was made by Order in Council on 26 October 2021.