Building Disputes
Orchiston Architects Ltd  An architecture firm with specific expertise in building disputes

Curriculum Vitae   (January 2017)
Colin R. Orchiston: 

B.Arch., FNZIA., FAMINZ(Arb/Med), Prof.Urb.Val.(NZIV), MNZPI..

Architect and Construction Disputes Consultant.

In Brief Overview:

1970’s:  Gained registration as an Architect, worked overseas, qualified in Urban Valuation, joined father as a partner in Orchiston & Associates 

1980’s: With a staff of 4 or 5, “flat out” doing housing, townhousing, restaurants/bars, kindergartens, theatres and cinemas, and light commercial new buildings and fitouts.

1990’s:  Qualified in arbitration/mediation.  Part time teaching, building disputes, dispute resolution and risk management becomes a major part of workload.  Contract roles in major architectural projects here and overseas. 

2000’s:  Senior architect and management role in multidisciplinary consultancy.  Involvement in building disputes and risk management continues, plus appointment to leaky buildings mediation team. 

2010’s:  Sole practice in architecture and dispute resolution. Completed 9 years service as a member of the Licensed Building Practitioners' Board.

Education and Memberships

Auckland University '70   73 : B. Arch.;  
Wellington Polytechnic '77,78 : Prof.Urb.Val.
Arbitrators Institute of NZ: Fellowship by exam & practical experience '93.
Massey University Dip Bus Stud COP in Advanced Dispute Resolution '94
Admitted to AMINZ Mediation and Arbitration Panels '95; Adjudication ‘04 
Advanced to Fellow NZ Institute of Architects '97
Honorary Member NZ Institute of Valuers '99;  MNZPI 2002

Architecture:  Orchiston Architects Ltd.

Since 1976 Colin Orchiston has been a principal this practice, formerly known as Orchiston & Associates, and established by his Father in 1947.  The firm has undertaken over 3200 industrial, commercial, educational, institutional and domestic architectural projects, together with insurance valuations, property reports and dispute resolutions.  

Since 1990 the practice has been predominantly involved in residential projects and light commercial work, and in dispute resolution and risk management in construction.  

Architecture: Tse Group

Between 1985 and 2003 Colin held several short-term consultant engagements with Tse Group Ltd (now Calibre Consulting, and Tse Architects) engaged on commercial construction, BIA audits, property reports, and quality management for projects in China, NZ and Vietnam.  

In 2003 an interim short term request to manage the Tse Group Wellington Building Division resulted in a 4 year period as manager of 12 engineering, architectural and design staff, mentoring and handover to a permanent appointment, and then a further 3 years as senior project architect.  Work included a wide range of commercial, industrial, retail and multi-unit housing.  During this period the company transitioned to a multi-national multi-disciplinary consulting firm with over 3500 professional staff in 19 countries engaged in the delivery of buildings and infrastructure.  In 2010 Tse Architects was split out as a stand-alone company, and I returned to private practice.
Building Disputes

Since 1993 between 25% and 75% of Colin’s workload has been as an expert, mediator, arbitrator, adjudicator and/or adviser in the management of construction disputes, as a court appointed referee, and as a Claims Director of the Professional Indemnity scheme which covers about 80% of NZ architectural practices.  

In 2002/2003 he acted as a Mediator appointed under the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act.  Since 2010 he has been contracted to the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service on an ongoing basis to provide QA reviews of assessors’ reports and repair proposals, and for research into leaky homes issues.

Following the 2012 implementation of the Licenced Building Practitioners’ Scheme, he has heard and decided about 200 appeals and 40 complaints under the scheme. 

Teaching & Facilitation

From 1993 to 2006 Colin tutored (part time) in Practice Management, Project Management, Project Finance and Construction for the final 2 years of the 4–year Weltec Interior Design degree course.  

He has been a tutor for the Massey University Dispute Resolution week-long practicums 5 times and for eight years has tutored at advanced seminars in arbitration and mediation run by the Arbitration and Mediation Institute NZ.  

He has conducted facilitations for boards of governance, lectures for final year architecture students on risk management, and trade training courses on contract administration.  In 2001 he undertook training in the teaching of small groups.  

Management & Governance

Since 1993 Colin has been Claims Director and a Board Member of the NZ Architects Co-operative Society.  The Society offers risk management services for architects, and arranges professional indemnity insurance through third parties.

From 1994 to 2013 Colin served as a Board Member of the Professionals Superannuation and Benefits Group.  The Board acted as trustees for a superannuation scheme covering architects surveyors and engineers and was wound up in 2013.

From inception in 2005 and until late 2014, Colin served as a member of the Building Practitioner’s Board.  This is a statutory board tasked with the governance and monitoring of standards for Licensed Building Practitioners.  The Board assisted in the development and implementation of the Licensed Building Practitioners Scheme, and since 2012 has heard and determined appeals and complaints.  In 2012/13 Colin had a close involvement in the development of the Ethics guidelines and the website. 

Colin has presented several papers for various seminars and conferences, including for the Wellington City Council at the inception of the 1991 Building Act; writing the 1993 NZ Institute of Valuers’ Guide to the Building Act and reviewing subsequent updates;  a 1998 paper on the Prediction and Resolution of Disputes for the NZ Branch Project Management Institute Conference;  several  “Conferenze” Building Law conferences and workshops, covering risk management, contract terms, and issues arising out of the Building Practitioners’ scheme. 

Colin is the author of the NZ Institute of Architects Practice Notes on the Arbitration Act, the Construction Contracts Act, and the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act.  He has been involved in each review of the NZIA standard contract terms for over 20 years, and has contributed to many NZIA submissions on proposed legislation.  In 2010 he had a substantial role in producing the NZIA submission for the reviews of both the 2004 Building Act and the Construction Contracts Act 2002.  

His involvement in professional indemnity insurance involves the writing of articles and seminar presentations on risk management for architects.  

From 1993 to 2002 he served as the Editor of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute NZ quarterly Newsletter. 

In 2000/2001 he was on the Working Group consulted by government on the legislation for protection of payments to contractors, and then compiled and appeared for the joint NZIA/ACENZ submissions on the Construction Contracts Bill.  Subsequently similarly involved in reviews of the Construction Contracts Act, the Building Act, and pending legislation.

In 2012/13 he was a member of the (award winning) review committee for NZS 3910 “Conditions of contract for building and civil engineering construction”, and at the same time assisting in the review of the NZIA SCC 2011 contract terms. 

Judge for the 2015 Master Builders House of the year competition.


Colin is married with two adult children and a grandchild, a three-term president of Eastbourne Lions Club, a DIY builder, and a “retired” debater and speaking adjudicator.