Release of the Building Consent Authority Development Guide
The Department of Building and Housing has recently released the Building Consent Authority Development Guide, a guidance document developed to help organisations prepare for accreditation as a building consent authority (BCA).
The Building Act 2004 requires territorial authorities (TAs), regional authorities (RAs) and private bodies to be registered as building consent authorities (BCAs) in order to undertake regulatory building control functions after 30 November 2007. In order to be registered as BCAs, organisations will need to meet prescribed standards and criteria for BCA accreditation.
The Department produced the Guide in response to requests from the building control sector for guidance material on preparation for the accreditation scheme. It has been developed in collaboration with territorial authorities, industry and other stakeholders to ensure the Guide provides practical, easy-to-use, and comprehensive advice. This Guide provides a possible model for documenting the statutory functions required of BCAs in their building consent and inspection operations. It should not be confused with the building consent authority accreditation standards and criteria discussion document about to be consulted on by the Department.
The application of an accreditation and registration regime to New Zealand’s building control industry is new. It is intended to strengthen New Zealand’s building control system and help to ensure buildings are well designed and constructed, safe, healthy, accessible and meet New Zealanders’ expectations.
Accreditation of the building control sector aims to strengthen decision-making at the critical building consent and inspection stages of the building process. Successful implementation will bring about greater consistency in regulatory building control across New Zealand. It will help lead to performance improvements, raised standards in the sector, and more consumer confidence in the system.
The Guide sets out good practice in the delivery of the technical building control systems and processes for consenting and inspections. This information is provided in both narrative form and through process maps. Supplementary material is also provided to assist territorial authorities in identifying the links between territorial authority statutory functions and building consent authority functions. The Building Consent Authority Development Guide is intended to be used as a tool with which BCAs may challenge their existing systems, policies and procedures. It will help BCAs make informed decisions as to how best to develop and implement systems, policies and procedures appropriate to their particular circumstances.
Organisations are not required to use the information in the Guide when preparing for accreditation or when developing documented BCA policies, systems and processes for building control functions: it is guidance material only and is but one possible option. The Department considers that there is further guidance and
assistance that could be added to the Guide in the future (depending on the final structure of the BCA accreditation scheme). We will update you on any upcoming work to develop future modules.
Please contact Andrew Minturn, Adviser, BCA Accreditation and Registration if you have any questions or issues that you would like to discuss further. You can also request additional copies of the guide from him. Andrew’s contact details are:
(04) 470 1024
Fax: (04) 494 0290
The Building Consent Authority
Development Guide is also available
online at www.dbh.govt.nz/bc-guide/index.html