Steps in the determination process
Last updated: 15 March 2016
Once you have made an application for a determination, there are several stages to the decision-making process. These stages are outlined below.
Receive and consider the application
When MBIE receives an application for a determination the first step is for us to make sure the dispute is something we can consider as set out in the Building Act. It is important for applicants to consider the grounds of the application and complete all relevant sections of the application form.
To assist us to quickly assess the validity the application needs:
- clearly identifiable parties (parties in a determination)
- 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
- The 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. If you’re applying with the paper PDF form, you must also send them part two of the form to complete.
We will advise these parties whether the application has been accepted and what to expect.
You may wish to 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 we have all of the relevant information required to see if a determination is eligible, we will give you an answer regarding the status of your application within 10 working days.
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.
Hold a technical meeting, if appropriate
The decision on whether to hold a technical meeting will be at MBIE's discretion.
We sometimes use the help of technical experts and referees to make sure our decisions are fair and appropriate.
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.
Issue final determination
We will issue the final determination or decision after all parties have had the chance to comment and after any technical meeting (if one is held).
The final determination will be published on Building CodeHub search as public information. The decisions are helpful guides for others who are seeking how to interpret the Building Act when resolving disputes.
If you wish to seek a clarification you must do so within 20 working days from when the final determination is issued. Parties also have the right to appeal.
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.