QA-1 - Appendix A.1 Requirement
The following outlines when a peer review is likely to be required:
- Development Evaluation Report (Resource Consent Phase)
- Where development of land is located within the area classified as Very High Risk by DS-10 Natural Hazards and Earthworks then a peer review of geotechnical assessment/report is required. The Peer Review shall be attached to the Development Evaluation Report and provided to Council at the time of application for Resource Consent.
- Where development of land is located within the areas classified as High Risk to Low Risk by DS-10 Natural Hazards and Earthworks then a peer review may be requested by Council where, in Council's opinion, any of the criteria referenced in c) below are present. The Peer Review will be requested during the processing of the Resource Consent for the development.
- Building Consent Phase
- Where a building consent is applied for, for land located within the areas defined by DS-10 Natural Hazards and Earthworks and no previous geotechnical completion report is available then the requirements of a) i) and ii) above apply.
- Development Completion Report (Final Sign Off Phase)
- Council may require a peer review required for any Development Completion Report where:
- Where, in the opinion of Council, the report does not address the issues associated with the site in a manner that comprehensively defines all relevant issues and solutions or does not align with industry practice or standard.
- The Geo-Professional compiling the report is not accredited for the geotechnical classification of the site.
- The consequence of failure of a completed landform is such that it may cause loss of life or harm to humans or involve significant damage to property.
- The Development Completion Report reports on and certifies the development works. It also reports on completed development works that differ significantly from those proposed in the Development Evaluation Report.
- Council will advise the Geo-Professional or SQE Professional in writing that a peer review is required. Council will outline its reasons why the peer review is required and whom it proposes to use to undertake the review.
- Costs associated with peer review work lies with the Applicant/Consent Holder.
QA-1 - Appendix A.2 Peer Review Procedures
For a peer review the following procedures apply:
- The peer review shall be undertaken by a Category 1 Geo-Professional or an appropriately qualified and experienced person acceptable to Council with relevant Geo-Professional experience in the Tauranga City environment. In the case of an SQE Professional the peer reviewer will be an experienced professional in the area of expertise concerned.
- The peer reviewer shall review the investigations, assumptions, conclusions, analyses, design, recommendations and solutions undertaken and proposed.
- The peer reviewer may recommend/request additional investigations and/or analyses/design be undertaken to address any concerns arising from the review. These shall be addressed by the professional being reviewed in writing to both the reviewer and Council.
- The peer reviewer shall provide a written report to Council confirming the following:
- The legal description, address of the site and clear reference to the report being peer reviewed.
- The opinions stated in the report meets the minimum requirements referenced in DS-10 Natural Hazards and Earthworks.
- The advice/recommendations/conclusions reached within the report are consistent with the geotechnical data obtained, investigations and acceptable industry practice.
- That in the reviewer’s opinion Council is able to rely on the opinions, recommendations and conclusions stated within the report when issuing further Resource Consents, Building Consents, PIM’s, LIM’s or any other matters.
- Any other matter the reviewer considers relevant.
QA-1 - Appendix A.3 External Expert Advice
Council recognises that the assessment of some natural hazards, predominantly geotechnical, will be complex and on occasion may exceed the levels of competency retained in-house by Council. Where Council considers it does not possess the necessary in house expertise to review the Development Evaluation Report or Development Completion Report, Council will engage a SQE Professional or Geo-Professional to review the report on Council’s behalf.
Where this occurs the applicant/Consent Holder will be notified prior to engagement. The cost associated with the SQE Professional or Geo-Professional will be passed onto the applicant/Consent Holder in accordance with Council’s Fees and Charges Schedule.
QA-1 - Appendix A.4 Peer Review Guidelines
QA-1 Apx A.4.1 is for guidance purposes. It is modelled on guidelines compiled by the California Geotechnical Engineers Association (CGEA) and is easily converted for use with regard to peer review of a SQE Professional’s work and opinion.
The standard of practice of the geotechnical field is highly dependent on professional judgement to provide the most effective investigation and design and may vary considerably between individuals and companies. Dealing with variability of projects, terrain, climate, client, and Council constraints requires flexibility and resourcefulness on the part of the Geo-Professional as well as the Geo-Professional reviewer.
QA-1 - Appendix A.4.1 Guidelines
The geotechnical reviewer‘s primary objective, in terms of these guidelines, is to serve the public and preserve public safety. The public includes future property owners, the general public, as well as the applicant/Consent Holder and Council.
The following items serve to summarise the position with regard to peer review of geotechnical reports:
- The purpose of a peer review is to:
- Check for completeness and compliance with minimum code standards.
- Note obvious factual errors, consistency of data with conclusions and standards of geotechnical practice and confirm that the geotechnical model is appropriate.
- Identify areas where the proposed design may lead to significant future problems.
- The reviewer shall recognise that geotechnical engineering is characterised by diverse opinions among the various geotechnical professionals. If the professional opinion of the geotechnical consultant of record is supported by a sufficient level of data and geologic and engineering analyses and professional experience indicates that the recommendations will provide satisfactory performance, the opinion of the consultant of record shall be accepted. At times, no singular valid opinion or interpretation is possible given the diversity of experience and background of the professionals involved.
- The peer reviewer shall:
- Meet the criteria listed in QA-1 Apx A.2 Peer Review Procedures.
- Be practicing in the field that he or she is reviewing (e.g. reports by an accredited Geo-Professional shall be reviewed by a Geo-Professional, reports by an accredited engineering geologist shall be reviewed by an engineering geologist).
- The peer review shall align with the peer reviewer’s field of expertise.
- All parties shall recognise that the peer reviewer is not a part of the design or team compiling the report. The reviewer has no role in redesign or rework required for the project or report (i.e. approve the Geo-Professionals work only after all of the peer reviewer’s design preferences are met).
- The reviewer shall:
- Refrain from superimposing their own personal views unless the peer reviewer’s experience leads him to believe that the recommendations presented will result in significant issues occurring over the life of the proposal being reviewed.
- Assist the Geo-Professional being reviewed not act as a barrier.
- Be consistent in their review. (Theoretically, the same report with the same data, conclusions and recommendations shall generate the same review comments.)
- Maintain open communications with both the Geo-Professional being reviewed and the Council. Telephone calls to the reviewer shall be returned in a reasonable amount of time. Face-to-face meetings shall be held if the review process has not shown progress etc.
- Not review his or her own reports, or the reports of his or her firm.
- Be well versed in the various design standards, statute and Council requirements and be aware of available published geologic and historical information within Tauranga City.
Every effort shall be made to be as thorough as possible on the first review so as to minimise the need for additional questions unrelated to those contained in the first review.
Definitions in this section
Development completion report
Development evaluation report
Geotechnical completion report