Steps in the determination process

Last updated: 15 March 2016

MBIE follows a set process when considering and issuing determinations. The key steps are explained below. 


Receive and consider the application

When MBIE receives an application for a determination the first step is to decide whether or not it is a valid and complete application.

To assist us to quickly assess the validity the application needs:

  • The parties to be clearly identified
  • A valid dispute or question which relates to the Building Act 2004
  • Any relevant supporting documentation necessary for us to make a decision (such as approved drawings or copies of correspondence from Council), and an itemised summary, setting out your views
  • An application fee.

We may contact the applicant to clarify the matter being disputed.

The applicant must contact the other parties at the same time as applying to MBIE. This includes providing them with a complete copy of the application and part two of the form to complete and send to MBIE.

We will advise these parties whether or not the application has been accepted and what to expect.

Please note: if you wish may appoint an agent to manage the determination application on your behalf. Agents can include people such as a family member, a builder, an engineer or architect, a technical advisor or a lawyer.

Assess application and gather information

Our next step is to look at all the information provided with the application. While assessing the information provided we may identify issues for which we require more information. Such information is often necessary to ensure that we are able to make a determination.

If all the relevant information is not provided this will result in delays and may also result in us making a decision based on only the information originally provided.

You can ask for an extension if you are unable to provide the information in the timeframe requested.

Draft determination

We are aware that the parties would like a timely resolution to their issue. We are also aware that it is possible that a decision made in one set of circumstances may have a wider impact. It is vital that we put the appropriate time and consideration into our decisions.

Given the complexity of many of the disputes which come before us the technical matters require careful consideration. MBIE will consider all the information, including any expert reports, and create a draft of the determination. It is possible that we may ask the parties for further information or submissions if we consider a matter needs clarification.

Once the determination is drafted it will be sent to all parties for comment.

Hold a technical meeting, if appropriate

The decision to hold a technical meeting or not will be at MBIE's discretion.

Legal representation is not necessary, although you can appoint someone (an agent) to attend and speak on your behalf if you wish. We will not make a decision at a technical meeting.

If a technical meeting is held this will usually be after the release of a draft determination. Sometimes site meetings are also held to clarify technical issues arising from the determination.

Issue final determination

We will issue the final determination after all parties have had the chance to comment on the draft and after any technical meeting if one is held. In making the final determination we will consider the matters raised in response to the draft determination (or at the technical meeting, if there was one).

The final determination will appear on MBIE's website as public information.

If you wish to seek a clarification you must do so within 20 working days from when the final determination is issued.

Appeal the determination, if appropriate

If any party disagrees with the determination they have the ability to take the matter to court.

  • The District Court can decide whether the determination decision was correct – this is called an appeal.
  • The High Court can decide whether the determination-making process was correct and fair – this is called a judicial review.

An appeal can only be requested after MBIE has issued the final determination. If you want to appeal the decision you must do so within 15 working days from when the determination was issued (or clarified, if relevant). You may consider seeking legal advice. The court's decision will be final.

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: