If you think a tradesperson is unregistered, has behaved unethically or done a poor job, you can report them to their board or regulatory body.

Things to know

  • You can report a tradesperson whether or not they are registered or licensed.
  • You can complain about a registered or licensed person to their regulatory board for work or behaviour that falls short of the standards they need to abide by.
  • The boards can't award you any compensation or order the tradesperson to repair the negligent work, but they can discipline the tradesperson or take away their licence, protecting other people from also being ripped off.
  • Try to make your complaint as soon as possible and provide as much information as you can — the more time goes by, the harder the complaint will be to investigate.
  • If you need work repaired or finished, you will need to organise another tradesperson to do it. The industry boards can't recoup any costs for you.

You will need to go through the disputes tribunal process if you want the original tradesperson to pay for extra work.

Read more about Dealing with disputes.

Example — Unlicensed builder does shoddy work

Six months after having her living room extended, Ange discovers it's leaking. She finds out the building work has not been done properly and that it hasn't been signed off by the council. She tries to contact the builder but he won't return her calls. She complains to the Building Practitioners Board and it turns out the builder is not licensed. She gets a licensed building practitioner to do the repairs and goes to the Disputes Tribunal to try to recover costs from the first builder.

Make a complaint

Electrical work quality

You can make a complaint to Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB) if you’re worried about the safety of any electrical work.

The EWRB will investigate and can take enforcement action against the electrician by:

  • fining them
  • suspending or removing their registration
  • disqualifying them from doing electrical work.

The EWRB can't award you any compensation for losses or damages.

Making a complaint(external link) — Electrical Workers Registration Board

Building work quality, registration, and licensing

Licensed building practitioners have ethical obligations which are set out in a code of ethics.

The code of ethics is made up of 19 standards, sitting under the following 4 key principles:

  1. Work safely
  2. Act within the law
  3. Take responsibility for your actions
  4. Behave professionally.

Code of ethics(external link)  — Licensed Building Practitioners

If a licensed building practitioner does not comply with their obligations, a complaint can be made against them which may result in disciplinary action by the Building Practitioners Board.

Complaints about someone breaching the code of ethics can only be made if the breach took place after 25 October 2022.

The Building Practitioners Board can't award you any compensation for losses or damages.

Make a complaint(external link)  — Licensed Building Practitioners

You can report an unregistered person doing restricted building work, or pretending to be licensed, to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Report an unlicensed building practitioner(external link)  — Building Performance

Plumber, gasfitter and drainlayer's work quality 

You can make a complaint about work being done negligently or incompetently to the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGBD).

The PGDB investigates complaints against registered plumbers, gasfitters, or drainlayers, or people who may be illegally undertaking plumbing, gasfitting or drainlaying work.

The PGDB can:

  • cancel, restrict or suspend licences
  • censure the person
  • order them to do further training, or
  • fine them up to $10,000.

The Plumber Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (PGBD) can't award you any compensation for losses or damages, or order repairs to fix any negligent work.

Make a complaint about a plumber, gasfitter or drainlayer(external link) — PGBD

Engineer's work quality or authenticity 

You can make a complaint to Engineering New Zealand about a registered engineer or a person unlawfully claiming to be an engineer.

You can complain that an engineer has:

  • breached the engineers’ Code of Ethics
  • been negligent or incompetent
  • misrepresented something or mislead you.

Code of ethical conduct(external link) — Engineering New Zealand

If the complaint relates to a licensed building practitioner under the Building Act, Engineering New Zealand will refer the complaint to the Registrar of Licensed Building Practitioners.

Engineering New Zealand can't award you any compensation for losses or damages, or order repairs to fix any negligent work.

Engineering concerns(external link) — Engineering New Zealand

If you're unhappy with Engineering New Zealand's decision, you can appeal it with the Chartered Professional Engineers Council.

How to appeal a decision(external link) — Chartered Professional Engineers Council

If you think your privacy has been breached

If you think a tradesperson has breached your privacy, you can make a complaint to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Make a complaint(external link) — Office of the Privacy Commissioner

If a tradesperson does restricted building work without a licence

A tradesperson needs to be a licensed building practitioner to do restricted building work, eg the work requires a building consent and affects a home's primary structure or weather tightness. You can report someone to Building Performance for doing this kind of work without a license, or for telling you they had a licence when they didn't.

Report a tradesperson doing restricted building work without a licence(external link) — Building Performance