Complaints Procedures

Any member of the public may lay a complaint against an architect or a person who was an architect at the time.

Laying a complaint is a way of holding an architect to account. However, it cannot lead to compensation, that being for the courts etc.

Getting help
If you want to discuss what's happened and whether a complaint is warranted, or how the complaints process works, please ring the NZRAB at 04 471 1336.

How to lay a complaint
If you are going to lay a complaint, please use our complaint form to lay out what the complaint is about. We have two versions, depending on when the problem occurred.  A complaint must be made by a person which means a natural person, not by an incorprated body.

  • If the problem occurred on or after 1 January 2018, please use this complaint form which has attached the current Code of Ethics
  • If the problem occurred prior to 1 January 2018, please use this complaint form which has attached the earlier Code of Ethics that applied then.

Complaints need to include related written evidence – terms of appointments, fee invoices, emails, plans or photographs, or whatever else is relevant. The complaint and evidential material should be assembled in an orderly way as a pdf or series of pdfs and emailed to the NZRAB at info@nzrab.org.nz.

The process
The NZRAB's complaints procedures work as follows:

  1.  A complaint is laid – it must be in writing.
  2.  The complaint is referred to the architect who is invited to respond.
  3.  The complaint and the response are referred to an Investigating Committee.
  4.  The Investigating Committee either dismisses the complaint or refers it to a formal Disciplinary Hearing.
  5.  The Disciplinary Hearing is like a court with a charge presented and sworn evidence – the complainant is a witness.
  6.  If the Disciplinary Hearing finds that the architect is at fault, typically a penalty is imposed.

The main grounds for a complaint are:

  1. the architect has breached the New Zealand Architects’ Code of Ethic; and/or
  2. the architect has been negligent or incompetent

This process is not speedy and typically takes more than 12 months to complete.

Competence Concern
The NZRAB also has a separate procedure by which anyone can raise a concern about an architect's competence in general, which we then follow up in a different way.