Accreditation of Building Officials Australasian workshop
The Australian building control industry is facing many of the same issues as New Zealand. Australian state governments are addressing concerns by establishing similar accreditation regimes to New Zealand's building consent authority (BCA) accreditation and registration regime.
On 10 and 11 February 2005, the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (New South Wales State Government) hosted a building control workshop for representatives from each Australian state government's central building regulator, and from New Zealand's Department of Building and Housing. Dr Murray Sim, Manager Building Industry Performance Group and Malcolm MacMillan, Manager Performance Monitoring and Review and Project Manager BCA Accreditation and Registration attended from the Department of Building and Housing.
The main points of discussion at the work-shop included:
- accreditation of building officials
- complaints and investigation processes
- professional indemnity insurance and private building certifiers
- auditing of building control functions
- managing conflicts of interest by private building certifiers.
The workshop provided some useful insights into the building control issues faced by Australia. Discussions about their building official accreditation, investigation and auditing processes provided useful information to the representatives of the Department of Building and Housing that will assist with the design of New Zealand's BCA accreditation and registration regime.
Accreditation for building officials
Following a parliamentary inquiry into the quality of buildings, the New South Wales state government is designing an accreditation regime for councils and private sector building officials. Part of the New South Wales accreditation regime involves the establishment of an independent statutory body called the Building Professionals Board (similar to New Zealand's Licensed Building Practitioners Board). It will also establish an independent accreditation body to run the accreditation regime.
Professional indemnity insurance
Like New Zealand, all states in Australia have worked through issues of consumer protection and professional indemnity insurance for private building certifiers. Some state governments have responded to the limitations on the available insurance cover for certifiers, by limiting scopes of approval for the certifiers.
Other states have found different mechanisms for dealing with consumer protection: the Queensland Building Services Authority requires full disclosure by the building certifier and relies on a user pays statutory warrantee system. This system is run by the state government across the wider building industry, and it covers many building professions.
New Zealand's Building Consent Authority accreditation and registration scheme
The Department of Building and Housing representatives discussed the development of the BCA accreditation and registration regime, and found discussions with their Australian counterparts to be extremely useful.
As New Zealand's accreditation and registration regime develops, further input and feedback will be sought from the lessons learnt in Australia.
For further information on New Zealand's building consent authority (BCA) accreditation and registration regime check out www.building.govt.nz