Complaints and investigations
The VBA assesses complaints from consumers and other government agencies relating to building work and building practitioners. We will assess the complaint if it involves:
- a breach or offence of building legislation by a registered building practitioner
- the conduct of a registered practitioner
- illegal building work and unregistered persons carrying out building work.
Generally, a complaint needs to relate to building work that took place within 10 years before the complaint being lodged. There is a statute of limitations restricting when a prosecution can occur. If an offence applies to an unregistered person, this limitation may prevent action by the VBA.
The complainant (person making the complaint) is required to provide sufficient information and evidence to support their complaint.
If the complaint is more appropriate for another government agency, the complainant will be referred to that agency in the first instance. If the issue is also within the VBA's jurisdiction, such as a complaint about practitioner conduct, it may be referred back to the VBA for further consideration after the process has been finalised with the other agency.
The complaints process may involve the following stages:
- The relevant issues are identified and all available evidence is gathered and reviewed by a VBA Senior Technical Advisor.
- If the VBA identifies non-compliant building work that needs to be made compliant, we are likely to engage with the relevant building surveyor and/or Council to ensure the enforcement action takes place.
If breaches or offences of building legislation are identified, we will consider the following factors:
- the seriousness of the offences/breaches of the legislation
- whether there is a recurring offence or pattern of behaviour identified across numerous sites
- the disciplinary history of the practitioner
- the potential risk to life and/or property (safety concerns)
- if unregistered practitioners are carrying out building work.
The following outcomes are possible:
- an educational letter
- a warning letter
- referral for investigation (high-risk matters).
All complaints lodged with the VBA are collated for intelligence purposes. This allows us to further assess and take action if there are issues within the industry of a systemic nature, or if there are patterns of incompetence or negligence by a building practitioner.
The VBA employs investigators and inspectors who are authorised to carry out investigative functions and inspections under the legislative framework.
In conjunction with the VBA’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy (PDF, 332.89 KB), the Investigations Unit will carry out a risk assessment to determine the appropriate regulatory action.
The duration of an investigation depends on the complexity and nature of the allegations.