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Suspended building surveyors

December 03, 2019

HIA is aware that the VBA has been investigating building practitioners for alleged cladding related breaches of the Building Act and associated legislation and requirements.

HIA has engaged with the VBA to remind them of the impact of this action and to seek information to guide members about the appropriate course of action if a building surveyor has had their registration suspended or cancelled. Losing access to a registered building surveyor will have a dramatic impact on builders and clients. This problem is also occurring where building surveyors are having difficulty sourcing professional indemnity insurance.

When a building surveyor is under investigation by the VBA the legislation prescribes a clear process before a suspension can be imposed. This process, unless an immediate suspension is imposed, requires that a show-cause notice is given by the VBA. In this situation, the building surveyor should be considering what information is provided to their clients so that the impact of any future suspension can be managed by their clients in a timely manner. Unfortunately it seems that not all building surveyors at risk of a suspension have considered the impact on their clients.

When registration is suspended for any reasons, a building surveyor cannot offer any services to their clients as a relevant building surveyor. On this basis, builders need to recognise that they need to appoint a new building surveyor as quickly as possible to limit disruption to any projects in progress. Waiting for the outcome of the building surveyor’s challenge to a suspension is unlikely to be accepted by a client as grounds for an extension of time or an excuse for delays to complete their home under the building contract.

An application can be made to the VBA for consent to terminate the suspended building surveyor’s appointment and appoint a new building surveyor. This may increase the cost of the project and may result in some duplication of expenses. However, the alternative is to leave the project in limbo for an unclear time period and probably incur further costs.  While sourcing of a new building surveyor may not be easy it is unlikely to get easier as time passes.

Read the VBA replacement process

HIA understands that the VBA is mindful of the need for applications to change a building surveyor for these reasons to have a quick turnaround. However this may not always be the case. If you find that this is not provided for you, please don’t hesitate to contact HIA Workplace Services on 1300 650 620 to seek further guidance.