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Infrastructure Development Code

DS-10 - Appendix C - Geo-Professional Accreditation System


DS-10 - Appendix C.1   General

Only professionals that are Council accredited Geo-Professionals can undertake the responsibilities of a Geo-Professional.

DS-10 - Appendix C.2   Three Tier Geo-Professional Accreditation System

Council maintains a 3-tier register of accredited Geo-Professionals. These tiers are:

  1. Category 1 Geo-Professional:

Chartered Professional Engineer or Professional Engineering Geologist  who is acknowledged by the Accreditation Panel as possessing the appropriate qualifications, skills and relevant experience in Tauranga City to provide advice on all geotechnical issues found within Council’s area. This category may also include professionals of high national or international standing who, despite not having extensive local experience or having being interviewed by the Accreditation Panel, Council considers to have sufficient technical ability to provide advice on specific ground conditions. 

Refer to DS-10 - Apx B.5 Table 1: Geo-Professional Requirements for Geohazard Risk Assessment and Mitigation for more information on the types of work this Category of Geo-Professional can work within. A Category 1 Geo-Professional can work within the Category 2 and Category 3 classifications also.

  1. Category 2 Geo-Professional:
  2. A Chartered Professional Engineer or Professional Engineering Geologist who is acknowledged by the Accreditation Panel as possessing the appropriate qualifications, skills and relevant experience in Tauranga City to provide advice on a limited number of less complex geotechnical issues found in the Council area.

Refer to DS-10 - Apx B.5 Table 1: Geo-Professional Requirements for Geohazard Risk Assessment and Mitigation for more information on the types of work this Category of Geo-Professional can work within. A Category 2 Geo-Professional can work within the Category 3 classification also.

  1. Category 3 Geo-Professional: 
  2. A Chartered Professional Engineer or an a Professional Engineering Geologist  with an appropriate level of supervised work experience in a related field. (Typically those professionally qualified and practising Geo-Professionals or a Professional Engineering Geologist  not listed on Tauranga City Council’s Register.) Admittance to either Category 1 or Category 2 (for either a Chartered Professional Engineer or a Professional Engineering Geologist) status on the register is by way of interview by an independent panel of specialists (Accreditation Panel) convened by Council.
Explanatory Note:
Chartered Professional Engineer and Professional Engineering Geologist are the current descriptions for professionals that have undergone an IPENZ competency assessment in their respective fields and are maintaining their currency. It is anticipated that one or both of these terms along with IPENZ itself will change in the near future in which case the equivalent new terms will be applicable.

DS-10 - Appendix C.3   Accreditation Period

Accreditation on the Register is for a period of 5 years. As the end of the 5 year period approaches, the practitioner will be reviewed based on frequency and quality of reports presented to Council within that 5 year period. A decision to will be made by Council involving one or more of the following:

  1. Automatic extension of the practitioners accreditation based on frequency / quality of work.
  2. Request for a summary from the practitioner covering their involvement within this process throughout the previous 5 years.
  3. Telephone interview / video conference / meeting with the practitioner to discuss their activity within the last 5 years.
  4. Full re-application and interview by the Accreditation Panel.
  5. Removal of the practitioners accreditation where appropriate.

An application fee is payable by the applicant for the accreditation process. This fee will be advised as part of the accreditation document provided by Council. For more details, refer to: Landform and Geotechnical requirements

DS-10 - Appendix C.4   Working Outside of Accreditation Category

A Geo-Professional may undertake work in a category of landform one step above their current classification. To do this the Geo-Professional shall engage a Category 1 Geo-Professional to mentor and peer review their investigation approach, practices, testing and Development Evaluation Report and Development Completion Report.

Explanatory Note:
This provides the Geo-Professional a mechanism to develop professionally with guidance and demonstrates that they are becoming experienced via ongoing mentoring and coaching.

The following outlines this process:

  1. Prior to commencing any site investigation or research the Geo-Professional engages a Category 1 Geo-Professional to act as mentor and peer reviewer. The mentor discusses the approach proposed to be used by the Geo-Professional for the investigation and comes to an agreement with the Geo-Professional on the proposed approach for the subject site. The site investigation is then undertaken in accordance with the agreed approach. Regular communication between the two professionals is undertaken during the investigation and while defining the geological model for the site, to ensure professional coaching occurs about key findings, assumptions and recommendations.
  2. The completed Geotechnical Assessment Report is then peer reviewed by the mentor prior to submission to Council, who shall confirm the findings of the report as being appropriate and able to be relied upon by Council.
  3. The cost for the peer review shall be met by the Consent Holder.
  4. In some circumstances the Geo-Professional may seek approval from Council to engage an appropriately qualified and experienced person who is not on the register of Accredited Geo-Professionals to act as mentor and peer reviewer. Such an application shall be made in writing to Council clearly stating the qualifications and experience of the proposed reviewer. It shall be noted that approval will be given only in exceptional circumstances.

DS-10 - Appendix C.5   Further Responsibilities of Geo-Professionals

Being awarded accredited Geo-Professional status is an acknowledgement that the individual has displayed the necessary knowledge and requirements to operate within the Tauranga environment. During the period of operating as an accredited Geo-Professional, the individual (and their organisation) shall also:

  1. Respect all requirements of the accreditation process.
  2. Keep Council updated regarding:
    1. Their contact details.
    2. Any claims, investigations and resultant decisions, regarding their professional performance and / or conduct.
  3. Work collaboratively with Council to provide a safe, sustainable and resilient built environment as intended by DS-10 Natural Hazards and Earthworks
  4. Communicate with Council in manner that is professional and respectful of the variety of skills and experience of Council staff and also their own peers. 
  5. Provide all test results, calculations and analysis in full that supports the conclusions of a geotechnical assessment.

DS-10 - Appendix C.6   Removal from the Accredited Geo-Professionals List

Council reserves the right to suspend or remove an accredited Geo-Professional from the list. Where this applies, Council will formally investigate and advise its decision considering:

  1. Professional conduct.
  2. Any claims, investigations and resultant decisions, regarding performance.
  3. Advise from a professional industry institute e.g. IPENZ.
  4. Any concerns Council has regarding the Geo-Professionals quality of work.
  5. Inactivity of a Geo-Professional i.e. In order to ensure a high level of competency, Council requires the Geo-Professionals to be active within the Tauranga environment.
  6. Inability of Council to be able to contact the Geo-Professional i.e. updated contact details have not been provided to Council.
Explanatory Note:
It is important that the Geo-Professionals keep their contact details up to date. Council will not spend its time tracking down these details. Accreditation requires both technical and non-technical requirements to be respected.

Definitions in this section

Accredidation panel

Chartered professional engineer

Consent holder


Development completion report

Development evaluation report





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