The Minister for Building and Construction, the Hon Jenny Salesa, has
approved in principle a series of substantial changes to the NZRAB’s
complaints and discipline procedures. Work is beginning now on drafting
the required regulations.
Currently, the NZRAB’s complaints procedures involve two stages –
firstly an investigation into the complaint conducted by a three-person
committee and then, if there is a case to answer, a formal disciplinary
hearing where a charge is laid, evidence is presented under oath and
cross examination takes place typically by counsel.
This procedure makes sense where the matter is very serious, and the
architect’s future is at risk. However, almost all the complaints
received so far have involved residential projects where the
relationship between the architect and the client has broken down, but,
though mistakes may have been made, there’s been no deliberate
malpractice by the architect.
In these scenarios, the current procedures are onerous, too expensive
and too time consuming. Also, at the end architects found at fault have
often faced costs that far exceeded the penalty.
To resolve this, the plan is that the panel conducting the initial
investigation will have a new delegated authority to find the architect
at fault if that’s what the evidence indicates. This will allow for a
one-stop-shop resolution, probably without any lawyers involved.
However, if the architect does not accept the result, then the
architect will be entitled to insist on a formal disciplinary hearing as
at present, with all its checks, balances, costs and risks.
We hope this will be up and running in a few months’ time, subject to final ministerial approval.
A side effect of this reform is that we will be bringing together a
small pool of experienced architects to serve on Investigating Panels.
This may be something you would like to do – if so please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 04 471 1336.
Fresh thinking is taking place about the CPD framework. The NZIA
administers the CPD framework on the NZRAB’s behalf and the service
agreement for this comes up for renewal later this year. This presents
an opportunity for a first principles assessment of how this works and
whether improvements can be made.
Earlier this week the Board discussed where it wants to take this. A
working party is being set up to develop proposals that would increase
efficiency and enable the NZRAB to have more influence on the content of
the CPD that architects do.
We’ll keep you posted on how this develops.
The law requires that every five years all architects are reviewed to
make sure they are still safe to practice. The 2019 Competence Reviews
are just about over. Earlier this week the Board approved 179 Architects
as still meeting the required standard. Four architects who were
reviewed chose to go into voluntary suspension and three reviews are yet
to be completed.
Separately, 131 architects who weren’t due for review agreed to be
reviewed anyway. This helps, in that every five years most of the
architects that came to the NZRAB from the Architects Education and
Review Board come up for review at the one time and this strains our
systems. The 131 architects from that group are now in another
registration cohort, which will help spread the load in the future.
At the beginning of 2018 a series of amendments to the Architects’ Code
of Ethics came into effect. Shortly the NZIA will be hosting a webinar
on the revised code, presented by former Board members Warwick Bell and
Euan Mac Kellar, both of whom were on the working party that developed
the revised code. This will be well worth taking part in.
The NZRAB recently moved into new offices at Level 8, ICentre, 50
Manners St, Wellington. This followed the NZRAB being required to
evacuate from its 79 Boulcott St office in April 2018 due to seismic
concerns. We went into temporary accommodation until the current office
was set up. The new office is an improvement, in that we now have a room
specially set aside for conducting registration interviews and the
like. The fit out was designed by CCM Architect Guy Cleverley, who, we
think, did a great job.
New staff member
We’ve taken on a new staffer to help with our registration procedures.
Clare Davidson comes from an education background and is already making a
great contribution. Increasingly, she’s the person who deal with
applicants for initial and continuing registration.
And that’s our news to date. If you have any issues or concerns, please contact us at email@example.com or call 04 471 1336