Home Learn LBP & Regulation The history of the LBP Scheme – part 6

April 2022

The history of the LBP Scheme – part 6

17 Mar 2022, LBP & Regulation, Learn

The sixth and final article in the series looking at the history of the Licensed Building Practitioners Scheme (LBP) with MBIE’s Bruce Duggan

Continuing professional development (CPD) is a vital part of the LBP scheme, but why do we need it?

“The Government’s goal is a more efficient and productive sector that stands behind the quality of its work; a sector with the necessary skills and capability to build it right first time and that takes prides in its work; a sector that delivers good-quality, affordable homes and buildings and contributes to a prosperous economy; a well-informed sector that shares information and quickly identifies and corrects problems; and a sector where everyone involved in building work knows what they are accountable for and what they rely on others for.”

The Licensed Building Practitioners scheme was built around this statement, which is just as relevant today as when it was written, prior to 2004. The part which says “a well-informed sector that shares information and quickly identifies and corrects problems” is the basis for what is arguably the single most contentious aspect of the scheme – CPD, or, as we know it, skills maintenance.

Significant errors

In August 2021, a High Court ruling said that, due to fundamental errors and failures by builders to follow installation instructions, it was not possible for 144 leaky building owners to prove that a flaw in the cement cladding product used on their building was the cause of their weathertightness problem. 

It is important to remember at this point that the Hunn Report referred to the weathertightness issue as a ‘systemic failure’, where a wide range of things aligned to cause the problem – the rules, the design, district planning, building practices, training, the inspection regime, materials, product testing and appraisals, literature availability and accountabilities (or lack thereof) on site… there was no single factor to blame.

Recognising skills maintenance

Nobody wants to do a job incorrectly or badly, but if you haven’t read the manufacturer’s installation instructions to understand how and why that product works, poor performance is going to be the inevitable outcome.

If the designer doesn’t do her or his homework, he or she could specify a component or system that is not right for that situation. Or, if the building practitioner substitutes a similar product in place of the specified one, it’s going to be the same outcome – products and materials that are possibly not fit for purpose could be used.

This is especially relevant today considering the supply chain issues throughout the industry. The building consent authorities are being realistic in this regard, providing additional resources to determine which items or components may be substituted by others. The important thing is to talk to them before you change it.

To find this alternative component, a bit of research is needed – will the substituted product have similar characteristics to the original? Sometimes an expert is needed to provide the BCA with verification that it does, so talking to the designer in the first instance is vital. This is perfect skills maintenance territory – the research, the discussion with the experts and the council, and showing the apprentice or tradespeople how and why this was done and how it works.

In this case, you can cover both ‘on the job learning’ (the research and what you learned) and ‘elective activities’ (the teaching). For the LBP that is being shown, it is also an elective activity.

The main thing about skills maintenance is recognising it – if you haven’t carried out a certain task before, or you last did it a long time ago and need to have another look at how it’s done – it’s probably skills maintenance. It’s that easy! 

Watch out for a future article here for hints and examples of these learning opportunities.

Recording is easier than you think

There is also the issue of recording the skills maintenance once you’ve recognised it. With the technology we have today, it is a simple exercise – just search LBP on your phone, log in using RealMe, and click on Skills Maintenance on the left-hand side of the screen.

This brings up everything you need – you can complete the quiz questions found at the bottom of this article, record the details of the trade breakfast you went to this morning, or, if you have a few minutes, complete the ‘On The Job Learning’ section with what you have just learnt. 

If you’re not able to do this on your phone, use the same procedure on your computer when you get home or, if you’re not that tech-savvy, write it in the back of your diary that day.

Once you get used to doing this regularly, you can keep up with your skills maintenance throughout the year with only a few minutes every couple of weeks, and it’s all there and complete at the end of your two-year skills maintenance cycle – no need to panic when you haven’t started it and
you need to relicense next week – it’s already finished! Again, it’s that easy.

This brings this ‘History of LBP’ series to an end. A number of LBPs were not even born when the journey began back in the 90s, and a lot of others have forgotten why the scheme come into being. The main reason for this series was to reinforce the necessity for us all to continue learning, whether it’s the big stuff or the small, it all comes down to the “well-informed sector that shares information and quickly identifies and corrects problems.”

How many times have you heard the boss say “you’ll learn something new on the building site every day…” – now that’s skills maintenance! 


This article is an excerpt from Codewords Issue 105. 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 on the Under Construction website or recorded on the magazine, then provided at the time of renewal. 

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