Applying for a determination

Last updated: 27 September 2017

This page covers how to make an application for a determination and what this costs. You can also find out why your application may not be accepted and what happens if you want to withdraw it.

A determination can:

  • make a decision on whether building work complies with the Building Code/Building Act, and/or
  • confirm, reverse or modify an earlier decision made by the council (for example, regarding a building consent).

Check if a Determination is the best option

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Making an application

In order to process your determination in a timely manner, it’s best to give us as much information as possible when you submit your application. Your application needs to explain your situation as it relates to the Building Act or Building Code, to the best of your ability.   

This could include:

  • Clear identification of the matters for determination (section 177 of the Building Act 2004)
  • Identification of all relevant parties (section 176 of the Building Act 2004)
  • Correspondence with your local council or building consent authority
  • Building consent information
  • Reports from experts
  • Any other relevant documentation.

By providing as much relevant context during your application from the beginning, the Determinations team will be able to process your determination in a more timely manner.

You can submit your application by one of two ways:

  1. through our online application form.
  2. through our PDF paper application form. 

Apply for a determination using our online application

See the determinations online application quick reference guide for assistance [PDF 760KB]

If you choose to use our paper application form, please keep in mind it’s in two parts:

  • Part 1: Application for determination
  • Part 2: Party to an application for determination.

The following steps are all inclusive in our online application form, with the exception of sending each of the other parties a copy of the determination. Please note that you are legally required to send all parties a copy of your application for determination.

If you use the PDF application you will need to send MBIE:

If you use either the PDF application or the online application you will need to send each of the other parties a copy of:

  • your completed Part 1 (if you use the online form, your completed application)
  • your supporting documents
  • Part 2 with section M filled in (they will need to complete the rest of this form and return it to MBIE). 

The last part (regarding section M) is not required if you use the online portal.

If you are using our PDF paper application form, please scan this and submit an electronic copy. If you have large attachments to submit, contact us and we will advise on how best to send these to us.

Freephone: 0800 24 22 43 or email


The information and supporting documents provided are important for MBIE to make a determination. The application form has suggestions about what to include and how to present it.

Cost of a determination

MBIE charges the applicant a fixed fee for a determination

  • for single houses, attached houses, flats and apartments four units or less, and garages and sheds – $287.50 (including GST)
  • for all other buildings – $575.00 (including GST).

In most cases, parties to a determination do not need to engage legal or technical advice to support their position.

A determination is not an avenue for seeking damages and costs are not normally reimbursed. However, a party might be awarded costs if another party has caused unreasonable costs or delays during the determination process. At the conclusion of the determination, a party can request MBIE to make a direction to allocate costs.

Reasons your application may not be accepted

The Building Act sets out what a determination can consider.

Your application may not be accepted if:

  • you are not a party in respect to the matter being applied for
  • the problem or question is not a matter covered by the Building Act
  • we have already made a determination, or we are about to make one, on exactly the same matter
  • the application is ‘not genuine or is vexatious or frivolous’.

Withdrawing your application

You can withdraw your application at any time before a final determination is issued. If you decide to do so MBIE will notify the other parties.

If your application was at an early stage you may be refunded part or all of the application fee. However, this is at MBIE’s discretion and will depend on how much work we have already carried out.

Contact us

If you need more help, contact us on Freephone: 0800 24 22 43 or email

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: