Local Government Magazine

Plan ahead

Plan ahead - Local Government March 2017

Watch out for changes to the Building Consent Authority Accreditation Scheme.

The Building Consent Authority (BCA) Accreditation Scheme is being updated as part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE’s) ongoing work to ensure regulation of the building system contributes effectively to New Zealand’s wellbeing and economic growth. This is because the role that BCAs play is essential in delivering consent processing on behalf of government.
The accreditation scheme, which has been in place for more than eight years, sets out the policies, procedures and systems a BCA must have and implement to perform their role. MBIE has reviewed the scheme, gathering and responding to feedback from BCAs, International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) and other stakeholders, and considering the current compliance of BCAs with accreditation requirements.
It found opportunities for improvements to the scheme that are being implemented this year.
The changes being made as a result of the review include:

  • setting out a clear purpose and set of objectives for the scheme, ensuring all stakeholders are on the same page about its intent;
  • listing the matters about which a BCA must notify MBIE and IANZ, allowing better support for BCAs facing changes that could affect their operation;
  • requiring BCAs to use the MBIE National BCA competency assessment system (NCAS), improving consistency in the assessment process and providing a more flexible workforce;
  • listing the technical qualifications a Building Control Official (BCO) doing a technical job must have (or be studying towards) for this important role; and
  • moving to a fee-for-service regime for accreditation assessments, eliminating unfair cross-subsidisation and driving performance improvement in meeting accreditation requirements.

MBIE has also developed regulatory guidance on the accreditation process, and minimum standards and criteria for meeting accreditation requirements.
Changes to the Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 have now been published on the legislation.govt.nz website and the regulatory guidance published on the building.govt.nz website.
Both come into effect on July 1 this year, giving BCAs time to prepare. The requirement for BCAs to use the NCAS will come into effect later, after MBIE has reviewed and consulted BCAs.
BCAs and councils should start planning now for the coming changes. They should do a self-assessment of their compliance with accreditation requirements using the checklists in the guidance. They should also start enrolling their BCOs who do a technical job in an appropriate technical qualification.
MBIE will be available to support those BCAs that might need assistance during the implementation phase, and expects to hear from them and their management teams. It will work closely with all BCAs and IANZ on the implementation of the changes and to support the scheme’s ongoing success.

This article was first published in the March 2017 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.

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