“To supervise or not to supervise?” - IS that the question?




Jodie Yeomans, from the Building Hub, highlights a topic of major importance to building business owners who have builders working for them…

There are many of you out there who are now licensed and intend on supervising other builders who aren’t, so best you pay attention because this is important.

There is no rule as to how many people you can or cannot supervise but supervision is clearly defined in the Building Act 2004 which means it’s defined in law, and this means you need to get it right.


The definition is ...“supervise, in relation to building work, means provide control or direction and oversight of the building work to an extent that is sufficient to ensure that the building work- 

(a)    is performed competently; and
(b)    complies with the building consent under which it is carried out”



So what does this mean in relation to you and how you run your business?


It’s simple: if you are supervising someone or signing off their work you need to see that ALL the work they do is competent and to the       consent or you are putting yourself at risk.

We all know the amount of time you need to spend supervising a builder is directly proportional to their skill level and maturity.

If you have a builder who has been in the game for 20 years, takes great pride in his work and always pays attention to detail, you will     be checking more on progress than quality. Unlike the young guy in his early 20s, who has just finished his National Certificate, thinks   he knows everything, arrives at work hung-over and is texting with one hand and scratching his butt with the other, you’ll have to pretty   much work directly alongside him, not just to see what he does, but to fix it as well. So, if you are supervising others your biggest   concern will be the level of risk you are prepared to take by not seeing EVERYTHING a staff member does.

My advice has always been this ... if it was my business I would have everyone licensed that could be, leaving only apprentices who don’t yet have the competencies.


And I’d do this for four reasons:


1    As LBPs your staff are now accountable to the Board for their competencies. This will make them just a bit more conscientious about their work which could mean the         difference between stuffing up and not.
2    What happens if the LBP who is supervising others is sick?
3    You can market your business as having an entire team assessed as competent by DBH.
4    All your team need to keep upskilled and up-to-date to keep their license which can only be good for your business.


If you are planning on supervising others, think carefully about how you are going to manage this to reduce your risk. If you aren’t prepared to take the risk then make sure those in your team who aren’t yet licensed get their applications in asap.