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Licensing and LBPs are compulsory from 1 March 2012

- A summary of the facts 


Compulsory licensing is only for Restricted Building Work:


Restricted building work must be done by LBPs and is work that is critical to the integrity of a building to ensure the building:

•    can withstand vertical and horizontal loads
•    is weathertight

Restricted Building Work (RBW) only relates to residential construction, alterations and design of houses and small-to-medium sized apartment buildings focusing on structural integrity and/or external envelope cladding and roofing trades.

The type of work includes the design and construction of foundation and sub-floor framing, floors, walls, roof, columns and beams, bracing, damp-proofing, roof and wall-cladding, and waterproofing, as well as the design of fire safety systems for small to medium-sized apartments.

The DBH is currently developing information detailing how RBW will affect each licence class and will release this through their licensing update circulation when available.

No building consent or use of LBPs is required for certain work:


The following is excluded from restricted building work:


                                                           •    exempt work (Schedule 1) see below
•    outbuildings or ancillary buildings, including farm buildings 
•    tents and marquees
•    sheds, garages, free standing decks and conservatories
•    commercial and industrial property

  A Guide to Building Work That Does Not Require Building Consent, Second Edition 2010 is an excellent comprehensive publication that details th exempt work identified in Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004

This covers an extensive range of exempt items including repairs, maintenance and replacement, windows and doors in existing buildings, retaining walls, decks and so on.

Most of your questions asking "what about this" are covered.


Classes of work and persons affected by licensing:


There are 6 classes of restricted building work that must be carried out or supervised by an LBP:

•    Design - Design LBP, Registered Architect, Chartered Professional Engineer
•    Carpentry - Carpentry LBP
•    Roofing - Carpentry LBP, Roofing LBP, Registered Plumber & Gasfitter
•    Bricklaying and Blocklaying - Carpentry LBP, Bricklaying and Blocklaying LBP
•    External Plastering - Carpentry LBP, External Plastering  LBP
•    Foundations - Carpentry LBP, Foundations LBP

One additional class that has been set up under the same conditions in the licensing process is Site LBP - the role of overall supervisor, however it is not deemed to be a compulsory LBP component in the new process at this stage.

There is also a wider impact of licensing on all parties who are involved in developing, selling, buying, designing and constructing or repairing houses or small medium apartments.
Any Agreement for Sale and Purchase of property must include a warranty that a compliance certificate has been obtained for any building work carried out under a building consent. Vendors who have not received restricted building work memoranda from the LBPs involved may find their application for a Code Compliance Certificate rejected by Council as incomplete.
Liability as an LBP:

From the outset there has been significant concern about the liability of LBPs and their participation in restricted building work which potentially increases their exposure and risk of being identified in future legal action.  However, S. 88 of the Building Act expressly provides that the memoranda or certificate does not, of itself, create any liability in relation to work or give rise to any additional liability to owners that does not already exist. This means an LBP is just as liable now for a claim that could arise for work done as hewas prior to this new licensing regime. The difference is that the parties are more easily identifiable because they will be recorded in the council's property files.


Owner/builder [DIYers] exemptions for restricted work:


While the government promised an owner/builder [DIYers] a limited exemption for restricted building works, to date [December 2011] that part of the latest building Amendment Bill No.3 has not been passed . Therefore in the meantime owners will not be permitted to carry out restricted building work unless they are supervised by an LBP.
Extra documentation and tracking of LBPs required

All future building related contacts must include provisions for restricted building work to only be performed or supervised by licensed contractors and subcontractors. Documentation must ensure somebody is contractually responsible for coordinating and lodging the LPBs engaged throughout the project and therefore liable for contracts not being started, frustrated, or not completed due to problems with LBPs and/or unlicensed practitioners being involved.


Such tracking includes:


•    Council notification of names of LBPs with the building consent application before restricted building work can be started
•    on completion, LBPs providing council and building owner with memorandum linked to Code of Compliance Certificate identifying what restricted building work they personally     carried out or supervised
•    designers certifying the that their design work complies with the building code


Penalties for non-compliance:


The project may have the Building Consent withheld or no Code of Compliance issued over LBP issues and LBPs can face disciplinary penalties including suspension and fines up to $10,000. Breaches of the restricted building work requirements carry fines for LBPs, unlicensed people and even owners.


Implications at change over time:


This means that from 1 March 2012 onwards, anybody wishing to build, repair or alter a house that comes within the definition of restricted work:

•    must use a licensed LBP designer
•    applying for a building consent of
•    use LBPs to carry out or supervise certain operations of work
•    identify those responsible and submit paperwork tracking such evidence

A consent that is applied for before 1 March 2012 is exempt from these new licensing requirements. Note that in this lead up time such a consent does not have to be issued, just lodged and accepted by the council for processing.

Be warned that by simply throwing rushed incomplete documents at the council just before the deadline to avoid having to comply with the new system will not work. Most councils now have a pre-vetting process that requires a joint meeting to review the documentation being submitted to ensure that there is sufficient detail included for the full consent review process to be carried out.

In other words council have to tick all the boxes in their pre-vetting checklist for them to accept the documents for processing - most councils make these checklists available.
The one situation that could be tricky is a project that is currently in the design and planning phase that it is hoped will be processed before 1 March 2012. Should this have to be rolled over into the new consenting and licensing requirements, the different conditions will have extra cost implications in the management of LBPs that need to be taken into account.

The consequences of this project not being initially done by an LBP designer and set up to be completed by licensed trade operators doesn't bear thinking of - and I hope doesn't apply to anybody reading this article!

Feedback from one Local Authority is that they would be very worried if a builder was not already geared up to using LBPs and using an LBP designer to produce their documentation - it shows a total lack of foresight and planning in meeting the changing market conditions and future legal requirements.


And the list goes on...

There are a variety of other items associated with LBPs and restricted building work, how these affect the consumer, details about getting a licence, maintaining a licence, complaints, appeals and more rules. There are also clarifications and more details coming out regularly and those involved will have to keep an eye on this to keep up to date.


Refer to the DBH website for further details.