A determination is a binding decision made by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It provides a way of solving disputes or questions about the rules that apply to buildings, how buildings are used, building accessibility and health and safety.
Most determinations are needed because the person applying for the determination disagrees with the Council about the decisions that the Council has made about a building or associated provision.
In these cases, the parties to the determination are the building/land owner (even an affected neighbour) and the Council.
All parties to a determination are treated equally.
You can ask for, or be involved as a party to a determination, if you are;
- The building owner or the owner’s agent,
- The Council that issued the building consent
- The owner of other property when the determination is about the protection of that property (e.g. the potential spread of fire from one property to another, surface water run-off or land stability),
- A government Ministry or Crown agency that has a statutory duty under the Building Act, such as Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ),
- Anyone with a direct interest in the problem or question if it has to do with access and facilities for people with disabilities.
The Ministry can initiate a determination where it believes it is necessary to achieve the aims of the Building Act. The Ministry may ask other people or organisations to become involved if necessary.
However, a Determination can be applied for by the Council itself or a neighbour who is affected by building work. A determination can be about building work that is planned, partly done or completed.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment charges a fixed fee for determinations. These are in two categories;
- Single houses, attached houses, flats and apartments up to four units, and garages and sheds,
- All other buildings.
More information and how to apply for a determination can be found on MBIE’s website.
Visit www.building.govt.nz for further information on this service.