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Concerns and complaintsNgā raruraru me ngā amuamu

What happens if I’m not happy about a decision made by the building consent authority? And, what’s a building control function? For answers to these questions and more please continue reading below. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, contact our Customer Service Centre on +64 6 835 7579.

The BCA have a duty officer who is available to respond to all building-related enquiries and concerns. 

Customers can also get in touch using the Ask us a Question tab on our website. These questions are logged then allocated to a team member to provide the requested information.

Complaints

What happens if I am unhappy about any decision made by the building consent authority?

A customer has a right to appeal or to complain about any building control function the Building Consent Authority undertakes and have this heard and be properly managed.

Complaints provide feedback about service experience and give us the opportunity to improve our performance

What is a building control function?

A complaint in relation to building control is defined as a complaint about:

  • Meeting statutory time frames.
  • Lodgement or vetting of building consent applications.
  • Processing of building consent applications.
  • Inspection of work under construction.
  • Issuing of a notice to fix.
  • Issuing of code compliance certificates.
  • Issuing compliance schedules.
  • Failure to provide appropriate information or advice.
  • Fees and charges.
  • Failure to meet legislative or Building Code requirements.

How do I make a complaint?

You can make a complaint in person, though it must also be made in writing. Complaints not made in writing or made anonymously will not be followed up. These should be sent to:

Manager Building Consents
Napier City Council
Private Bag 6010
Napier 4142

What information do we need?

  • The date the incident occurred.
  • The nature of the complaint (guidance information, vetting, lodgement, inspection, notice to fix, code compliance certificate or compliance schedule).
  • Copies of any supporting information (if applicable).
  • Relationship (customer, regulator, or stakeholder)
  • Your name and contact details.

How long does it take?

All complainants will be responded to within 48 hours of the receipt of the complaint at which time you may be asked whether you wish to be heard in relation to the complaint or to provide further information.

All complaints will be actioned within 10 working days of receipt of complaint, unless a request for further information is made.

What else can I do?

If you're unhappy or choose to use an alternative route to settle a matter of doubt or dispute, you may apply to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for a determination.

What is a determination?

A determination is a binding decision made by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It provides a way of solving disputes or questions about the rules that apply to buildings, how buildings are used, building accessibility, and health and safety.

Most determinations are needed because the person applying for the determination disagrees with the Council about decisions the Council has made about a building. In this case, the parties to the determination are the building owner and the Council.

All parties to a determination are treated equally.

You can ask for, or be involved as a party to a determination if you are:

  • The building owner or the owner’s agent.
  • The Council that issued the building consent.
  • The owner of other property when the determination is about the protection of that property (for example, the potential spread of fire from one property to another, surface water run-off or land stability).
  • A government Ministry or Crown agency that has a statutory duty under the Building Act, such as the Fire & Emergency NZ or Work Safe.
  • Anyone with a direct interest in the problem or question if it has to do with access and facilities for people with disabilities.

The Ministry can initiate a determination where it believes it is necessary to achieve the aims of the Building Act. The Ministry may ask other people or organisations to become involved if necessary.

A determination will normally be about an earlier decision made by one of the parties (usually the Council). However, a determination can be applied for by the Council itself or a neighbour who is affected by building work.

A determination can be about building work that is planned, partly done or completed.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment can make a determination about:

  • Whether a building or building work complies with the Building Code
  • A Council’s decision on a building consent, a notice to fix, a code compliance certificate, certificate of acceptance, certificate for public use, or a compliance schedule (including time extensions to building consents and code compliance certificate)
  • A Council's decision to make a waiver or to modify the Building Code
  • A Council's decision on building alterations, a change of building use, subdivision of building and dangerous, earthquake-prone and insanitary buildings
  • A Council's decision on dams.

Those involved in a determination, including the person who applies for it are called ‘parties’ to the determination. For example, a building owner may ask for a determination because they disagree with the Council’s decision that also involves a neighbour.

The determination may:

  • Confirm, reverse or modify the earlier decision (for example a determination).
  • May say that the Council was correct in not issuing a Building Consent.
  • Make waivers or modifications to the Building Code (for example a determination may modify the time period for which the building must be durable).
  • Make conditions that the Council may itself grant or impose (for example a determination may require the Council to issue a building consent with certain conditions).

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment charges a fixed fee for determinations. These are in two categories and are available from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

The categories are:

  • Single houses, attached houses, flats and apartments up to four units, and garages and sheds.
  • All other buildings.

A determination generally relies on the information you provide. Clear and complete documentation will help the Ministry assess and process your determination.

The information should be:

  • clearly labelled
  • typed or neatly handwritten
  • accompanied by a summary of the key points with references to the supporting documents.

Information to support an application can include (not all of the following will be available or appropriate in every instance):

  • Correspondence about the dispute.
  • Drawings.
  • Specifications.
  • Design calculations.
  • Reports.
  • Photographs.
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