22 Mar 2021
B2 or not B2? That is the question – or one of the common questions we get about producer statements.
There have been many issues regarding B2, and whether you should sign for it on a producer statement. Typically, no. If you follow New Zealand Standards, they provide a compliance pathway to B2. We’ve published the B2 Durability Guidance and distributed it to most Building Consenting Authorities (BCAs) throughout the country, and you can download it via the members area of engineeringnz.org, along with an example maintenance schedule and B2 letters. Adam Thornton DistFEngNZ IntPE(NZ) and Raed El Sarraf CMEngNZ IntPE(NZ) have also produced webinars for members that will be available on the Engineering New Zealand YouTube channel with other webinars.
Signing a producer statement
BCAs rely on producer statements to confirm someone with a recognised competence level has reviewed the attached calculations and drawings. Typically, Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) status demonstrates that level of competence. While anyone can sign a producer statement, most BCAs will not accept it unless the author holds CPEng. The New Zealand Building Code supports this in section 1.0.3(e). People often ask about Chartered Member of Engineering New Zealand (CMEngNZ) vs CPEng. Initially, Engineering New Zealand brought
in CMEngNZ because it was understood MBIE was likely to recommend repealing the CPEng Act. However, this now appears unlikely, so we sought feedback on both accreditations as part of the CPEng review. While CMEngNZ is a quality mark, a BCA will typically not accept producer statements from CMEngNZ authors, so these engineers need to get a CPEng to review the work and issue a producer statement. It's good practice for the design of all complex works to be reviewed by a Chartered Professional Engineer.
Can an overseas-based CPEng sign off work in New Zealand, and vice versa? Not usually. CPEng (NZ) status shows you have sufficient knowledge of the applicable New Zealand standards, codes and acts to undertake complex work. It’s also a qualification Kiwi BCAs and regulators can have confidence in. The same applies if you wish to submit work overseas – you usually need to contact the equivalent of Engineering New Zealand in the country where you're planning to work and enquire about certification there. If you're signing off work for an overseas engineer, we recommend you are fully part of the design process. It can be difficult to seek financial redress from an overseas designer or company, so engineers should be wary of relying on design input from offshore. If you’re engaged to peer review a complex project, we recommend you undertake the review from the design stage rather than trying to review a completed body of work.
All or part only
Engineers rarely undertake the design of every part of a building relating to a particular clause of the Building Act. As a result, you should typically tick “Part only”. There's more on this on our website.
Bounds of competence
As a CPEng, you must only undertake work that is within the bounds of your competence. If you are asked to do work that you haven't done for a while, is outside the scope of your usual work, or involves unusual aspects, it’s a good idea to discuss it with another engineer and ideally arrange a peer review. As a guide, ask yourself: "If I saw this as part of a disciplinary committee, would I find it acceptable?" If not, err on the side of caution. If you’re doing work outside your usual practice area, think carefully about how to manage any gaps in your knowledge.
The Engineering General Practitioners Group has members across many different disciplines who are willing to help when needed it. They run a Slack messaging channel via our website where you can freely ask questions.
We’re currently revising the producer statement series and will put out a draft for consultation soon.
Martin Pratchett MEngNZ is Engineering Practice Manager at Engineering New Zealand.