Competency Matrices

National BCA competency Assessment System Update

What is the national competency assessment system?

The national competency assessment system is a framework to assist BCAs to assess the competency of its technical building control staff using a national set of performance indicators which define what competent is.

How was the system developed?

A Sector Advisory Group was set up to develop evaluation criteria and consider framework documents and make recommendations to the Department. The Advisory Group also ensured steps in the framework were based on critical technical criteria;

  • A small project team was established to evaluate existing systems and develop a draft national system for pilot testing;
  • Pilot testing of the framework was completed by BCAs in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Nelson and Queenstown.
  • Sector Advisory Group Members included:
  • Bob de Leur, Manager Building Policy – Auckland City Council
  • Richard Toner, Chief Building Officer – Wellington City Council, representing BOINZ
  • Jeff Farrell, Manager Development & Compliance – Whakatane District Council
  • Bevan Smith, Director – Professional Building Consultants
  • Irene Clarke, Manager Environment and Regulation – Local Government New Zealand
  • Geoff Hallam, Technical Development and Regulatory Affairs Manager – IANZ
  • Mark Scully, Manager Building Practitioners Licensing Group – DBH
  • Steve Garner , Project Manager - DBH
  • Malcolm MacMillan , Manager Consent Authority Performance – DBH (Chair of Advisory Group)
  • Project Team members included:
  • Steve Garner , Project Manager - DBH
  • Peter Sparrow , Senior Advisor Performance Monitoring & Review - DBH
  • Paul Hobbs , Advisor Performance Monitoring & Review – DBH
  • Beryl Oldham, People Capability Manager – North Shore City Council
  • Rose McLaughlan, Managing Director – NZ Building Inspection & Training Ltd
  • Keith Smith, Building Consultant – Alpha Building Consultants Ltd
  • Rosemary Hazelwood, Director – Building Networks Ltd

How does the framework differ from existing systems?

The new national system moves away from building types or categories to competency levels.

  • This eliminates a growing list of building types and instead focuses on competencies required to undertake the work.
  • The national system establishes performance indicators and guidance for assessors for each core competency required by Regulation 10 of the Accreditation regulations.
  • The process shifts some of the responsibility for gathering evidence of competency to the individual being assessed making assessment more collaborative.

What are the new national competency levels?

There are now six competency levels divided into 3 residential levels and 3 commercial levels;

  • The levels based on complexity of the elements that make up the building and the competencies required to undertake the work rather than the building itself.
  • The levels in some areas are not sequential (eg Commercial 3 does not necessarily mean a person can do Commercial 1 or residential 1 because they may have little understanding of light timber frame construction).
  • Examples of the type of building work associated with each competency level are detailed on the following pages.

National BCA Competency Assessment System Levels

Residential 1

Residential Outbuildings / Ancillary buildings - as defined by the Building Regulations 1992. Detached Dwellings (SH) designed to a common standard (eg, NZS 3604, NZS 4229) that are single storey and have an E2/AS1 Risk matrix score less than or equal to 6.

Residential 2

Detached Dwellings (SH) designed to a common standard (eg, NZS 3604, NZS 4229) that are less than or equal to two stories and have an E2/AS1 risk matrix score less than or equal to 12.

Residential 3

Detached Dwellings (SH) or other dwellings (SR) that are less than or equal to three stories but limited to vertical plane fire separation and direct egress to the outside. E2/AS1 risk score of 13-20 .

Commercial 1

Commercial / industrial/ and communal non-residential buildings and their associated outbuildings and ancillary buildings equal to or less than two stories and an occupancy load of equal to or less than 100 people Or SR or SA residential buildings up to 2 stories and with horizontal fire separation.

Commercial 2

Commercial / industrial/ communal residential/ and communal non-residential buildings equal to or less than four stories and an occupancy load of equal to or less than 500 people or SC or SD Single storey

Commercial 3

All uses of buildings that are over four stories high, or contain over 500 occupants or SC or SD greater than single storey.

How do I transition to the new national system?

The new national system does not require BCAs to redo all of their competency assessments.

The system has been designed to allow BCAs to map their existing building categories against the new national levels. This can be achieved by considering the existing building types in the existing building categorisation system against the new competency level descriptions in the new system.

For most BCAs it should then be possible to “move” staff with existing competencies across to the new system after considering how well their competencies match the new national standards and noting any areas of supervision of training or any restrictions such as “building only” or “plumbing and drainage only”. Templates to record your “mapping” of categories and the outcome of the transition have been developed as part of the system guidance material.

Assessment tools have also been developed to assist with the assessment of new person with little or no BCA experience and a person moving up a level or levels within the new system.

When will the new National System be available?

The system has been completed and guidance material is available on line at:

Because the new system differs from existing systems and to ensure national consistency assessors need to be trained in using the new system. Assessors have and continue to be trained in the theory of assessment, the new national levels and the use of the system tools. Assessors can also be trained in transitioning their existing system across to the new system.

What about Accreditation?

The system has been designed to meet the requirements of the current accreditation regulations. IANZ have also been involved as part of the project advisory group to help ensure its compliance with accreditation requirements.

Who can I ask more questions to about this system?

Enquiries can be directed to Peter Sparrow, Senior Advisor Performance Monitoring & Review at the Department of Building & Housing on or Paul Hobbs, Advisor Performance Monitoring & Review on

This level also includes specifically designed residential cladding systems, components, detailing and junctions and where a Risk Matrix score of greater than 20 has been calculated (buildings height must not exceed 3 stories).