License Categories & Guidance Documents
The Licensed Building Practitioners scheme seeks to encourage better building design and construction. The scheme promotes, recognises and supports professional skills and behaviour in the building construction industry. The Building Systems Performance branch of MBIE administers the scheme.
Only Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) can carry out or supervise Restricted Building Work. It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that the person(s) engaged to do or supervise restricted building work has the appropriate license.
An LBP can be identified either by producing their photo ID license card or by checking their details against the registers. ALWAYS check that their name is on the LBP register and that their license is current. If it is out of date check with the registrar in case they have paid their registration, but the register hasn’t been updated.
A person will be recorded in the register of LBPs because they have satisfied the Registrar of LBPs that they meet the standards for their license class. See section 286 of the Building Act. There are seven license classes in the LBP scheme:
A building practitioner can apply to be licensed in more than one license class but they must be able to demonstrate that they are competent in each class they apply for. The competencies for the license classes were developed by industry working groups. They represent the skills and knowledge that a competent person with sound experience in the building construction industry should be able to demonstrate.
The LBP scheme is for competent individuals. Companies and commercial entities cannot be licensed, but the people they employ or subcontract can apply to be licensed.
To check if your builder/contractor are currently licensed under the LBP scheme, we recommend you search the Public Register by their name.
What is Restricted Building Work?
Restricted building work includes the design and construction of a house or small-medium sized apartments and covers:
- Primary structure (e.g., foundations and framing) – to ensure the building can withstand vertical and horizontal loads.
- External envelope (e.g., roofing and cladding) – to ensure the building is weathertight.
- Fire safety systems (e.g., sprinklers, fire alarms) – to ensure people are adequately protected from the dangers of smoke and fire.
Only Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) are allowed to carry out or supervise ‘restricted building work’. Therefore, a residential building consent application must include the names of LBP’s carrying out or supervising both design and construction that is restricted building work. Refer to:
- Section 45(1)(e) of the Building Act.
- Section 45(2)-(4) of the Building Act.
- Guidance for homeowners on the MBIE website
- Guidance for the industry: license categories, and guidance documents.
- Owner-Builder Exemptions and Restricted Building Work.
Major amendments to the plans that involve Restricted Building Work
If you want to make major amendments (changes) to an issued building consent after, where the changes will involve restricted building work, those changes will need to be designed by a design Licensed Building Practitioner and the construction must be done or supervised by trade Licensed Building Practitioners. Before starting a project make sure that the design and trade’s people you engage are licensed.
Architects, Designers, Engineers & Certificates of Work
Please refer to the
- MBIE guide for Designers
- MBIE Guidance on the use of Certificates of Work, Producer Statements and Design Features reports for Chartered Professional Engineers.
- Information on Owner-Builder Exemptions.
If submitting a Certificate of Design work (COW) for the design of restricted building work, please ensure that the form is completed in full. The following are often ignored:
- The street address of the building – as per the building consent application
- The name and contact details of the owner(s) – as per the building consent application
- Roof structure – On the Advice of MBIE, it is the responsibility of the lead designer/architect to either design this or supervise the design – even if the design is outsourced to a truss designer. Therefore under the Primary Structure section, they must tick “roof” and either “carried out”, or “supervised”.
- The reference to plans and specifications. This should be the sheet/page number of the plans or specifications and must be filled in.
If a head designer does not sign off on all of the RBW elements listed, then there must be an additional COW to cover these elements. Some examples are:
- Where an engineer is responsible for the design of the foundations/subfloor; then the engineer must supply a Certificate of Work.
- Where a CPENG engineer is responsible for any of the design or review of the design; then a Certificate of Work must be supplied, along with their PS1 or PS2. See also Practice Note 02 (if completing a peer review).
- Where a non CPENG engineer has done the design of any RBW, then they must provide a PS1; but they also must get a CPENG engineer, or a registered architect, or a design LBP to provide a Certificate of Work that covers their supervision (as a non CPENG engineer is not automatically considered a design LBP because they are not CPENG).
Plumbers, Gasfitters and Restricted Building Work
Under the LBP scheme licensed or certified plumbers and gasfitters are deemed to be LBPs and can do the following restricted building work:
- Brick and Block laying
- External Plastering
They are treated as LBPs in these classes but must only carry out Restricted Building Work that they have the competency to do. If they do this work they must meet all the obligations of a licensed building practitioner.
If a plumber or gasfitter is supervising or doing restricted building work then they must at the completion of their work, provide both the owner and the BCA with a copy of the Record of Work. The record of work must be completed in full and accurately describe the restricted building work that the plumber or gasfitter has supervised or carried out.
Notification of LBPs to Council
The owner is required by law to provide the name and details of the design LBP(s) at the time of application for the building consent. If any details are missing, then the BCA can refuse to receive the application. If the trade LBP(s) are known at this time they must also be supplied. If unknown at the time of BC application then they must be supplied in writing to the council before construction begins. See LBP Notification form. NO inspections can be booked until all the trade LBP(s) names and details are supplied and checked.
If the situation on site changes and the person supervising or doing the restricted building work leaves and a new LBP is engaged then
- The BCA must be notified immediately and be provided with the details of the new LBP (use the LBP notification form). Construction cannot resume until the newly appointed LBP has been approved by the BCA.
- The leaving LBP must provide the owner and the BCA with a Record of Work (Form 6A) for the work they have done.
Trade LBPs: Records of Work
Please refer to the MBIE guide for
Offenses under the Building Act 2004
Owner or Agent
Make sure that the person you engage in carrying out or supervise restricted building work is
- A licensed building practitioner, AND
- They are working on their competency class.
The holder of the building consent, or their agent, could be prosecuted and face a Court fine of up to $20,000 if they knowingly engaged an unlicensed person to carry out or supervise RBW.
- If a tradesperson, who is not a licensed building practitioner, undertakes or supervises RBW, this is considered a serious offense by MBIE as critical building work is being done or supervised by someone who has not demonstrated their competency. This is illegal building work. If reported to MBIE, they will investigate and prosecute anyone carrying out illegally carrying out or supervising restricted building work.
- If a LBP without the appropriate license or license class supervises RBW or carries out RBW unsupervised, they could:
- Be prosecuted and face a Court fine of up to $20,000.
- Also, be disciplined by the Building Practitioners Board.
Complaints and Penalties