Had a complaint
If you are a licensed building practitioner (LBP) and someone complains about your conduct or work you will be notified of the complaint and given an opportunity to respond. Read on for more information about the LBP scheme complaints process or see our what if someone complains about me? booklet.
Investigating the complaint
The Registrar will be asked to report to the Board about the complaint. The Board may appoint a special adviser to help with the inquiry.
The Registrar will send you a copy of the complaint and ask you to respond. You will have the opportunity to provide any relevant information or evidence. Your response will be included in the report to the Board.
Before the report is sent to the Board the Registrar, or a special adviser, may contact you, or the person who complained about you, for more information.
Grounds for discipline
The grounds for discipline of Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) are set out in section 317 of the Building Act 2004. A complaint may be made if an LBP:
- has carried out or supervised building work or building inspection work in a negligent or incompetent manner.
- has carried out or supervised building work or building inspection work that does not comply with a building consent.
- has held himself or herself out as being licensed to carry out or supervise building work or building inspection work of a type that, at that time, he or she was not licensed to carry out or supervise.
- has carried out (other than as an owner-builder) or supervised restricted building work or building inspection work of a type that he or she is not licensed to carry out or supervise.
- has been convicted, whether before or after he or she is licensed, by any court in New Zealand or elsewhere of any offence punishable by imprisonment for a term of 6 months or more, and the commission of the offence reflects adversely on the person's fitness to carry out or supervise building work or building inspection work.
- has, for the purpose of becoming licensed himself or herself, or for the purpose of any other person becoming licensed,
(i) either orally or in writing, made any declaration or representation, knowing it to be false or misleading in a material particular; or
(ii) produced to the Registrar or made use of any document, knowing it to contain a declaration or representation referred to in subparagraph (i) above; or
(iii) produced to the Registrar or made use of any document, knowing that it was not genuine.
- has failed, without good reason, in respect of a building consent that relates to restricted building work that he or she is to carry out (other than as an owner-builder) or supervise, or has carried out (other than as an owner-builder) or supervised, (as the case may be),
(i) to provide a certificate of work about any plans and specifications required to accompany the building consent application; or
(ii) to provide the owner and the territorial authority with a record of work on completion of the restricted building work, in accordance with section 88(1).
- has breached section 314B of the Building Act (which provides that an LBP must not misrepresent his or her competence, and must carry out or supervise building work only within his or her competence).
- has conducted himself or herself in a manner that brings, or is likely to bring, the regime under the Building Act for LBPs into disrepute.
The Board can discipline an LBP by:
- ordering them to do training
- formally reprimanding them
- fining them up to $10,000
- restricting the kind of work they can do
- suspending their licence for up to 12 months
- cancelling their licence.
Any disciplinary action taken against you will be recorded on the public register for LBPs for 3 years. Dismissed complaints are not recorded on the public register.
A complaint will be dismissed when:
- the complaint was not in writing and on ‘licensed building practitioner complaint form’
- the complaint was anonymous
- the LBP was not named
- there were no grounds for discipline
- there was not enough evidence to support the complaint
- the complaint was frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith
- the complaint was minor or trivial
- the investigation of the complaint is not practicable or is unnecessary
- it’s not possible to investigate (eg, because the LBP is deceased or cannot be located)
- the Board has already made a decision about the complaint.
You can choose to attend the hearing unless the Board summonses you. If you don’t comply with a summons you can be fined up to $2,000.
You will be given copies of all the documents that relate to the complaint before the hearing.
You will have the opportunity to contradict any allegations or evidence against you.
If you do not attend the hearing the Board may determine the complaint in your absence.
At the complaint hearing
Complaint hearings are a formal legal process. You, the person who complained about you, and any witnesses must give evidence under oath.
The special adviser will present their report about the complaint to the Board. You will have the opportunity to comment on the advisor’s report.
You will have the opportunity to respond to the complaint and evidence against you.
If the Board agrees, you may question the complainant and the witnesses.
The Board may question you, the complainant, and the witnesses at any time during the hearing.
Hearings ‘on the papers’
The Board may decide a disciplinary matter ‘on the papers’ if the parties agree not to go to the hearing or if they don’t show up. This means the Board will decide the complaint based on the written information before it.
If you don’t go to a hearing you were summonsed to, you can be fined up to $2,000.
The complaint outcome
The Board will consider all the evidence from the hearing in private and advise all the parties of its decision in writing as soon as possible after the hearing.
Implementing the decision
The Registrar implements the Board’s decision.
Fines and costs
If the Board orders you to pay a fine or costs, and you don’t pay, then the Board can suspend or cancel your licence.
Appeals to the District Court
You can appeal to the District Court if you don’t agree with the Board’s decision about a disciplinary penalty.