Homeowners who are considering building or renovating should soon be able have a lot more confidence in their trades people. From March 2012 most construction or repair work on New Zealand homes will have to be done or supervised by a licensed building practitioner (LBP). LBPs are competent and experienced trades people (including roofers), builders or designers who have been independently assessed as being competent in their line of work.
“We are now in an age of on-going learning. It is no longer acceptable for a roofer, builder or designer to complete their training and then think they can stop learning. These days education is a life-long journey,” explains Tim Rutt, New Zealand sales and marketing manager for Pacific Coilcoaters, manufacturers of ColorCote pre-painted metal roofing and cladding products.
“New products, changes to the building code, increased customer awareness and expectations and changing construction practices are a fact of life. Change is happening faster and more frequently than before and unless designers and building trades people invest time in on-going education, they will soon find themselves out of touch,” he adds.
The Licensed Building Practitioner scheme is run by the Department of Building and Housing. Its goal is designing and building right the first time and recognising and promoting the skills and professional behaviour of designers, builders and trades people.
LBPs are accountable to an independent board and are independently assessed on their competency in their line of work.
Licence classes are:
- Bricklaying and blocklaying
- External plastering
LPBs must prove their competence, knowledge and experience. An independent body undertakes assessment which includes contacting referees to confirm that applicants have up-to-date technical skills.
LPB applicants don’t have to be qualified, but those with recognised qualifications can apply for licensing using a faster, cheaper process.
The Department of Building and Housing says that keeping sharp and up-to-date stays important. LPBs must record how they are maintaining their skills after they have been licensed.
After March 2012 homeowners will need to ensure all critical building work on their home is carried out by a LBP. The Government will detail restricted building work before 2012 but it is likely to include:
- Design and construction of a house to ensure the building can withstand vertical and horizontal loads.
- Design and construction of a house’s external envelope (eg roofing and cladding) to ensure the building is weathertight.
If things do go wrong under the LBP scheme homeowners can complain to the independent building practitioners’ board. The board can investigate, hold hearings and impose penalties.
Homeowners are advised to ask their designers or building contractors if their staff are licensed. LPBs will carry a card that shows what licence they hold.
You will also be able to check on your tradesperson’s qualifications at www.dbh.govt.nz/lbp-register.
“We see the LBP scheme as an important step forward for the whole construction industry. Pacific Coilcoaters is working with architects/designers, the Roofing Manufacturers’ Association, builders and roofing contractors to ensure the level of skills and professionalism in our industry is the best it can be,” added Tim Rutt.
For further information on the Licensed Building Practitioner scheme see www.dbh.govt.nz/lbp or call 0800 606 050