Market Research of stakeholder perceptions and preferences
What we did and why
In 2021-22 we undertook market research to gather information to help refine our business systems, improve our regulatory intervention programs, and respond to the needs of key stakeholders.
This research was made up of three separate engagement components:
- Building practitioners, plumbing practitioners and consumers to understand their communication channel preferences, to help us improve the way we interact with them.
- Building and plumbing practitioners who have been involved in our Proactive Inspection Program (PIP) or Plumbing Audit Program (PAP), to help us understand their awareness and perceptions of their interactions with these programs and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Stakeholders with whom the VBA has a close working relationship (such as industry bodies and co-regulators), to help us understand their perceptions of the VBA to inform future activities and strategies.
We engaged a market research company Ernst & Young, trading as EY Sweeney, to conduct this market research. EY Sweeney’s work included designing surveys and interviews, conducting the surveys and interviews, analysing data from these surveys and interviews and communicating the results to the VBA.
What we found
Communications preferences research
In November 2021, approximately 31,000 building practitioners, plumbing practitioners and building owners were invited to complete an online survey about their current use of VBA channels to communicate with and receive information from the VBA, to identify their channel preferences, and to explore their appetite to utilise other digital communication channels. There were 764 responses to the online survey (response rate of 2.5 per cent). Ten qualitative interviews were conducted in December 2021 to develop a more detailed understanding of stakeholder experiences and perceptions.
The research identified the VBA website and email were the most commonly used communications channels. Most respondents were interacting with the VBA in the way they wish to – digital channels are preferred for transactional activities, but many would prefer to use email more often. Phone is preferred when asking specific (especially technical) questions. The website was the highest performing channel, and telephone the lowest. Positive sentiment was expressed for the online Practitioner Education Series webinars, online registration assessment interviews and online registration awareness sessions. Moderate appeal existed for four potential communication channels tested, with a smartphone app (48 per cent) and messaging app (42 per cent) recording the highest levels of likely use.
Regulation intervention perceptions research
In November 2021,approximately 7,000 builders, building surveyors and licensed plumbers were invited to complete an online survey exploring their experiences with the VBA's regulation and proactive monitoring activities, with a particular focus on PIP and PAP, to understand current awareness of and engagement with these programs. There were 482 responses to the online survey (response rate of 6.9 per cent). Ten qualitative interviews were conducted in January 2022 to develop a more detailed understanding of stakeholder experiences and perceptions.
The research identified general awareness of PIP and PAP was high. Around two in three builders and building surveyors felt well informed about the PIP, and three in four plumbers felt well informed about the PAP. Most saw value in the programs for industry and consumers through early identification of compliance risks. Those who had prior awareness and understanding of the programs expressed more positive sentiments compared to those who had not.
Major stakeholder perceptions research
In April and May 2022, a series of 30 in-depth interviews were conducted with the VBA's major stakeholders, to understand their perceptions of how the VBA is performing in relation to three of the strategic pillars outlined in Vision 27, Pillar 1: A trusted regulator, Pillar 2: A knowledge organisation, and Pillar 3: An effective connector.
Key insights from the research show broad stakeholder understanding and support for Vision27, with positive sentiment expressed for the three pillars as a sign that the VBA is stepping forward in the right direction. The pillars also align with stakeholder perceptions of the VBA’s core functions. The research also identified opportunities for the VBA to continue to engage closely with these stakeholders in shaping how it delivers on these three pillars over the next five years.
What difference this made
The market research results highlight useful information to help shape our future communication channels; improve our flagship regulatory interventions through the PIP and PAP programs and inform future activities and measurement of outcomes identified in Vision27.
To conduct this market research, the VBA used and disclosed personal information about potential research participants to EY Sweeney.
As part of this research, the VBA disclosed the personal information of a sample of building practitioners, plumbing practitioners, building owners, other stakeholders and VBA customers to Ernst & Young (trading as EY Sweeney) to enable EY Sweeney to conduct market research surveys, interviews and prepare a research report on the VBA’s behalf.
The VBA and EY Sweeney have protocols and technical measures in place to securely transfer information between the VBA and EY Sweeney and to store the personal information of survey participants.
EY Sweeney asked research participants a series of questions by conducting online surveys and interviews.
Participation in the research and any information disclosed by a research participant through a survey or interview will not affect a participant’s application, registration or licence with the VBA. EY Sweeney only reported to the VBA the information that research participants provided in an aggregate form that would not personally identify a participant.
A research participant may raise any questions or concerns about the VBA’s privacy practices by contacting the VBA Privacy Officer by email.
Frequently asked questions
EY Sweeney was engaged by the VBA to conduct market research on the VBA’s behalf, which included conducting surveys with building practitioners, building owners, consumers and other stakeholders.
To enable EY Sweeney to conduct the research, we disclosed the first name and email addresses of randomly selected building practitioners, plumbing practitioners, building owners, consumers and other stakeholders to EY Sweeney, so that EY Sweeney could make contact inviting participation in the surveys.
Yes. We used and disclosed the personal information of selected building practitioners, plumbing practitioners, building owners and stakeholders to EY Sweeney to enable them to conduct the market research for the VBA.
We provided EY Sweeney with the email addresses and first names of randomly selected building practitioners, plumbing practitioners and building owners for the communication channels preferences research. We provided EY Sweeney with the email addresses and first names of building and plumbing practitioners who had been directly or indirectly involved in a proactive inspection or plumbing audit in the 12 months from October 2020. This information was disclosed to EY Sweeney to enable them to send an email to those persons inviting them to participate in the survey.
We also provided EY Sweeney with demographic information about those selected building practitioners, plumbing practitioners and building owners including:
- age group
- licence or registration type and practitioner class
- residential postcode
For the survey of building and plumbing practitioners who have been involved in our Proactive Inspection Program or Plumbing Audit Program, we provided EY Sweeney information about inspections those practitioners had been involved in including:
- nature of the work inspected (i.e. building or plumbing work)
- building class
- value of the work
- postcode where the building or plumbing work occurred
- stage of construction when the building or plumbing work was inspected
- date of inspection
- inspection outcome
We provided EY Sweeney with this demographic and inspection information to enable survey results to be analysed by subgroups. Subgroup analysis enables the VBA to further tailor its processes and services to the needs of different stakeholders. Providing EY Sweeney with the demographic information also meant that EY Sweeney didn’t need to ask demographic questions in the survey, shortening the length of the survey.
For the qualitative research with stakeholders, we provided EY Sweeney with the name and contact details of the leader of the stakeholder organisation (for example, the chief executive officer, president or chairperson).
No. Participation in the research was voluntary. No payments were made for participation.
Research participants will not be contacted by the VBA or EY Sweeney to inform them of the research findings. Summary information about the research insights has been published on this page.
No. Participation in the research and any information disclosed by a research participant through a survey or interview will not affect a participant’s application, registration or licence with the VBA.
The results of this research were reported to the VBA by EY Sweeney only at the aggregated level.
The VBA and EY Sweeney have protocols and technical measures in place to securely transfer information between the VBA and EY Sweeney, and to store the personal information of survey participants.
EY Sweeney is bound by an industry code of conduct to maintain the highest level of confidentiality.
The results of this research were reported to the VBA by EY Sweeney only at the aggregated level.
You may raise any questions or concerns about the VBA’s privacy practices by contacting the VBA Privacy Officer by email.