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July 2022

LBP Code of Ethics

27 Jun 2022, LBP & Regulation, Learn, Prove Your Know How

In October 2021, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) introduced a Code of Ethics for Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs), with a twelve-month transition period before they become enforceable

The Code of Ethics, which comes into force on 25 October 2022, sets behavioural standards for LBPs to give both the industry and consumers clarity on what is expected from LBPs, and to hold them to account.

Why have a Code of Ethics?

The Code of Ethics will ensure high standards are maintained in the industry, while giving the public more confidence that LBPs are reputable and operate ethically. 

The majority of LBPs already work to the highest professional and ethical standards. Formalising this into a Code of Ethics aligns the LBP scheme with international best practice and provides clear grounds for the Building Practitioners Board (the Board) to take disciplinary action against practitioners who behave unprofessionally. The Board is able to issue fines or revoke licences where necessary. 

Homeowners will be able to have greater confidence that, where they choose an LBP to undertake building work, those people are doing so in a safe, legal, and professional way, and that they will take responsibility for their work. 

What does the Code of Ethics include?

The Code of Ethics is made up of nineteen standards, which sit under the following four key principles:

1. Work safely

  • Take responsibility for health and safety.
  • Report unsafe behaviour by others on a building site.
  • Avoid harming the environment.

2. Act within the law

  • Comply with the law.
  • Report breaches of the law.

3. Take responsibility for your actions

  • Know what building work you are allowed to do.
  • Explain risks to your client.
  • Inform and educate your client.
  • Be accountable for building work carried out by you, or someone under your supervision.
  • Advise clients of any delays as soon as they become apparent.
  • Act in your client’s interests.
  • Generally, you should follow your client’s instructions unless the instructions are dangerous, are contrary to contracts or consents, or would mean you would not be acting within the law.

4. Behave professionally

  • Behave professionally.
  • Act in good faith during dispute resolution.
  • Price work fairly and reasonably.
  • Declare and manage actual or potential conflicts of interest appropriately.
  • Maintain confidentiality of client details, unless there is good reason for sharing information.
  • Acknowledge and respect the cultural norms and values of your clients and colleagues.
  • Conduct your business in a methodical and responsible manner. 

How was the Code of Ethics developed?

In April 2019, MBIE began work on the Code of Ethics as part of the Building System Legislative Reform Programme. In December 2019, the Minister for Building and Construction agreed to introduce a Code of Ethics, alongside other work to strengthen the LBP scheme. 

In September 2020, MBIE consulted with key stakeholders and all LBPs on the proposals for the Code of Ethics. The consultation ran for eight weeks and reached out to approximately 26,000 stakeholders. 

Over the course of the consultation period, MBIE received 79 written submissions, and engaged with 277 webinar attendees. MBIE took this feedback onboard and made changes to ensure the Code of Ethics met the Reform Programmes aims and the needs of the sector. 

In mid-2021, MBIE made final adjustments to the Code of Ethics to make sure it would work in practice. The Code of Ethics was made by Order in Council on 26 October 2021.

What happens if the Code of Ethics are breached?

If an LBP does not comply with their obligations, a complaint can be made against them, which may result in disciplinary action by the Building Practitioners Board. 

The Code of Ethics is not enforceable by the Building Practitioners Board until 25 October 2022. This means that complaints about someone breaching the Code of Ethics can only be made if the breach took place on or after 25 October 2022.

Where can I find more information?
To find out more, check out the Code of Ethics page on the Licensed Building Practitioners website: 

lbp.govt.nz/for-lbps/code-of-ethics 

To understand what the law says, see: 

Building (Code of Ethics for Licensed Building Practitioners) Order 2021

 

Written by Conor Topp-Annan, Senior Advisor, and the Building System Performance branch at MBIE. This article is an excerpt from Codewords Issue 107. Reading Codewords articles that are relevant to your licence class is a mandatory requirement for Licensed Building Practitioners. These questions can be answered through the LBP portal, online at underconstruction.placemakers.co.nz or recorded on the magazine, then provided at the time of renewal


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