The number of tradespeople applying to become licensed has increased markedly since the Department of Building and Housing’s consumer information TV campaign, Build It Right, began in mid-January.
Within days of the first advert running, the number of people requesting application packs more than tripled, with the licensing team sending out more packs in just a few days than what they would normally send in a month.
Up until then, the number of tradespeople becoming licensed has been on a steady incline and, as at the end of January this year, more than 11,000 tradespeople hold 14,500 licenses.
Carpentry is by far the most popular licence held, with close to 10,000 issued. The remaining 4500 licenses are made up of the six other classes: site, external plastering, brick and block, design, roofing and foundations.
Site licences have well exceeded the target, and though this licence class cannot sign off Restricted Building Work, it is a desirable licence to have, with those holding it sought after by the big contractors, such as the Project Management Offices leading the rebuild of Christchurch.
However, there is a noticeable shortage of specialists in external plastering, foundations and bricklaying, with only a quarter-to-a-half of the expected applicants applying so far.
The Department is therefore urging tradespeople working in those specialities to apply to become an LBP, and asking lead contractors to encourage specialist subcontractors to become licensed.
If subcontractors aren’t licensed, then they will be unable to provide a Record of Building Work for any Restricted Building Work they do. The lead contactor will then need to sign the memorandum instead, effectively taking responsibility for the work.
Information on what Restricted Building Work means for each of the license classes (excluding site) is now available from the Department of Building and Housing by contacting the call centre on 0800 60 60 50 or visiting www.dbh.govt.nz/builditright.
The Licensed Building Practitioner Registrar is required to contact all Licensed Building Practitioners each year to ensure they wish to remain licensed under the scheme, and that the information the Department has is correct.
It is easy to renew your licence online by going to www.dbh.govt.nz/lbp-login. Just follow the step-by-step process to register details. Once you have completed online registration, you can renew your licence, update your skills maintenance diary and change personal details at any time.
For any questions about how to use online services, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether tradespeople have just taken the step of getting an LBP licence or have been licensed for a while, they need to be on the look out for opportunities to improve their skills and knowledge.
LBPs must earn skills maintenance points and submit a record to the Registrar at least every two years. LBPs need between 24 and 36 points over two years, depending on the licence class.
One hour of skills maintenance equals one point
LBPs can choose skills maintenance activities that best suit their needs and the requirements of their licence class.
Activities need to inform LBPs about things such as changes to the Building Code, building materials, design technologies and good design and building practices. Most LBPs will probably find they do many of these activities anyway.
Some examples of skills maintenance are seminars, workshops, conferences, trade events, reading publications, newsletters, journals and magazines such as Building Today, site training and inductions.
Activities approved by the Registrar
To help with acquiring points, some activities, such as some courses and workshops, are pre-approved by the Registrar.
Approved activities are not capped — meaning there’s no limit to the points that can be claimed, as long as the activities are relevant to the licence class.
The Department of Building and Housing recommends attending courses and workshops that have been approved by the Registrar, and to retain evidence of attendance.
Keep a record of your points
LBPs can update their skill maintenance online via www.dbh.govt.nz/lbp-login, or can keep a diary or electronic spreadsheet to record points. It is good practice to update it as points are accumulated.
The Registrar can ask to see evidence of skills maintenance, so it’s important to keep records, a diary, receipts and other evidence showing what’s been done.
If LBPs use personal records or a diary to record skill maintenance points, they will also need to update their record of skills maintenance form.
It is a good idea to keep this form as up to date as possible, as not only do LBPs gain an extra point for doing so, it will save time later on when the skills maintenance diary is due.