Monday, December 11, 2023

Wairoa council improves building authority accreditation

A complete reset of the Wairoa District Council Building Consent Authority has resulted in a significant improvement in its recent accreditation, the Council said this week.

A recent assessment by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ), the accreditation body appointed by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to assess building consenting functions, described the Council Building Consent Authority (BCA) as, “now functioning well, with passionate, committed and engaged staff and excellent management support.

“A good level of record keeping was observed with a good standard of reasons for decisions. This was a noted improvement from the previous assessment,” the report stated.

Council’s Building Consent Authority had previously been assessed in April 2022 with 25 general non-compliances identified. IANZ noted that some of the non-compliances from the April visit were a repeat of previous findings, meaning the BCA had not appropriately addressed the root cause of the issues.

Due to the high number and nature of the findings, the lack of engagement and the demonstrated lack of understanding of regulations and the accreditation process by the BCA management at the time, the BCA was assessed as being of high risk and the issue of an Initial Notice that sustained non-compliance may lead to revocation of accreditation was considered.

This prompted a special follow-up assessment in mid-November to assess whether the BCA had made appropriate changes to its policies, procedures, systems and resourcing, and if not, to make a decision regarding possible revocation of the BCA’s accreditation.

The assessment summary stated, “A number of recommendations were made during the assessment, and these were all actively addressed by BCA staff in record time. This demonstrated the BCA staff member’s strong commitment to the accreditation process and to improving their system. The BCA staff and management are to be commended for their hard work and dedication in addressing the many previously identified issues, most of which are now addressed.”

The Wairoa BCA was considered to pose a low risk with the next routine reassessment planned for April 2024.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Manager Compliance and Assurance, Building System Assurance Building and Tenancy Branch, Alan Clark, congratulated Council’s Chief Executive, Kitea Tipuna and the building control people at Wairoa on this dramatic turnaround and improvement in the BCA systems and performance.

“It’s a long way from where we were in April. A good note to end the year on,” he said.

Mr Tipuna commended the current BCA staff for their work in improving and lifting standards to meet the stringent requirements expected by IANZ.

“There were a few outstanding issues identified that require resolving. Work to address these is already underway and I have confidence the team we have will meet the requirements needed.”

“This is a marked improvement and a real testimony to our current loyal and dedicated team. Well done and on the behalf of Council and our community, thank you,” Mr Tipuna said.

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