The next steps to take if you are unable to resolve an issue with an architect.

Who do I go to?

New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB)(external link) for advice, complaints and raising competence concerns about architects' behaviour or performance.

The Disputes Tribunal or the District Court(external link) to make a claim if you are unable to resolve the complaint.

The Commerce Commission(external link) if you wish to report a business for false or misleading statements or conduct. 

The Privacy Commissioner(external link) if you believe an architect has interfered with your privacy.

What kind of problems do they handle?

NZRAB deals with complaints about registered architects and anyone who unlawfully claims to be an architect but is not registered as one.

Complaints about architects can include:

  • dishonest or misleading behaviour
  • negligence or incompetence
  • incapacity
  • breaching NZRAB’s professional Code of Ethics.

The NZRAB professional Code of Ethics sets minimum standards of professional conduct and ethics that registered architects must meet.

NZRAB may decide not to handle a complaint because it relates to a licensed building practitioner under the Building Act. They must refer the complaint to the Registrar of Licensed Building Practitioners(external link).

The Disputes Tribunal deals with claims up to $15,000 (or $20,000 if both parties agree). The District Court deals with claims over $15,000.

What do I need to do?

  1. Contact the registered architect first to make a complaint. Check to see if they’re registered on the NZRAB register for architects(external link).
  2. Contact NZRAB if you’re unhappy with the outcome of your initial complaint to the architect. Follow the NZRAB complaints process(external link) to make your complaint. 


What else do I need to consider?

Making a complaint is free to you.

There is no general right of appeal against decisions made by NZRAB.

You cannot seek compensation through NZRAB for any loss resulting from an architect’s, engineer’s or surveyor’s actions or omissions.

The Disputes Tribunal considers claims up to $15,000 ($20,000 if both parties agree). The District Court considers claims of more than $15,000.


Where can I get more information?

New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB)

Provides information on registering architects, ensuring their competence and making a complaint against an architect.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 04 474 8986

Registrar of Licensed Building Practitioners

Provides information on the licensing process, finding a licensed practitioner and making a complaint. 

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 60 60 50

The Disputes Tribunal

The Ministry of Justice website provides information on the Tribunal and how to apply.

Visit the website(external link)

District Court

Information about your local District Court can be found on the District Courts of New Zealand website.

Visit the website(external link)

Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Provides information on the Privacy Act and how to make complaints about breaches of the Act.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 803 909