Any member of the public is entitled to lay a complaint against an architect or a person who was an architect at the time of the alledged events. You can check whether your person is or was a Registered Architect by using the Register of Architects available on the Board's website.
A complaint against an architect must be in writing and include a timeframe of events and copies of relevant documents (e.g. copy of the brief and contract) and evidence to support the allegation(s). Complainants must state the provision in section 25 (1) of the Registered Architects Act 2005 that they believe the architect has breached.
Of these, the most common are that the architect has breached the Architects' Code of Ethics or that the architect has practised in a negligent or incompetent manner.
At the beginning of 2018, the Architects' Code of Ethics was amended. Thus:
if the allegation relates to events that occured prior to 1 January 2018, then the earlier version of the Code applies, which you can view here
if the allegation applies to events that occured on or after 1 January 2018, then the current Code applies, where you can view here
If the allegation relates to events that occured prior to 1 January 2018, please use this complaint form
If the allegation relates to events that occured on or after 1 January 2018, please us this complaint form
You must include all the evidential documentation that you want considered with the completed complaint form or complaint letter. If other material is provided later, it will only be considered at the discretion of the committee investigating the complaint. The complaint and evidential material should ideally be assembled in an orderly fashion as a pdf or series of pdfs and emailed to the NZRAB.
If what is alleged is something for which an architect could be held to account, an Investigating Committee investigates the complaint. The Investigating Committee will only investigate the allegations made in the written complaint. Further information is often sought from the parties to the complaint. The Investigating Committee then determines whether the complaint should be dismissed or that a formal Disciplinary Hearing is required. A Disciplinary Hearing uses procedures similar to a court with a Board prosecutor and defence counsel for the architect and cross examination of the parties to the complaint. At the hearing the complainant is typically required to be a witness for the prosecutor. If the complaint is upheld, a penalty may be imposed. The architect has a right to appeal against the Board's decision to the courts.
A graphic illustrating how these procedures work is available, along with a fact sheet of related advice. It is not possible to give any reliable timeframe in regard to completion of the investigation process.
Complainants should email complaints and evidential material to firstname.lastname@example.org or if necessary courier the documents to the NZRAB. Do not send information by Drop Box or Zip files attached to emails.
Persons wishing to contact the NZRAB to discuss their concerns should telephone 04 471 1336.
The NZRAB also has a separate procedure by which a client, member of the public or organisation can raise a concern about an architect's competence in general.