Building Surveyors' Conference 2021

Our third year Building Surveyors' Conference was held virtual and attended by more than 700 building practitioners.

The conference theme was Reset. Rebuild. 2020 was an unprecedented year due to COVID-19, the consequent lockdowns and restrictions on worksites.  Across the industry, we reset our thinking and adjusted our way of working.  In 2021 we’ll adapt, even more, learn new ways to collaborate and embrace new technologies that will help the industry rebuild and flourish.

Watch the presentations below to hear from industry leaders and learn about emerging trends from subject experts.


The Hon. Richard Wynne is The Minister for Planning and also The Minister for Housing.

Mr Wynne has previously held the positions of Parliamentary Secretary for Justice & Cabinet Secretary, Minister for Housing & Local Government and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. He is the Member for Richmond.

Michelle McLean is Chief Commissioner of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), appointed in September 2020.

She also holds roles as Deputy Chair of the Country Fire Authority (CFA); is a Board Member of Frontier SI and East Gippsland Water. She is a non-executive director of the Emergency Services and holds directorships of several private entities. She is the Deputy Chairman of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) a volunteer and community-based fire and emergency services organisation. She also chairs the CFA Finance, Risk and Audit committee.

From 1995 to 2018 Michelle was an executive/partner of Cornwall Stodart (Lawyers). Throughout this period, Michelle also spent several years on various boards and committees.

Sue Eddy is the Chief Executive Officer of Victoria’s principal building and plumbing regulator, the Victorian Building Authority. She plays an integral role in making sure Victoria’s building and plumbing industry operate safely and effectively.

Sue came to the VBA following a highly successful career within the Victorian public sector. From 2002, she worked with the Department of Human Services, Treasury and Finance; Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure and Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

Sue is passionate about people, creating and leading teams that deliver real results to meet and – hopefully exceed - community expectations. As the leader of the VBA, Sue’s focus is squarely on the appropriate regulation of Victoria’s building industry to ensure the safety of the Victorian community.


  • Master of Business Administration, The University of Melbourne, AUS (2017)
  • National Diploma of Accountancy, Manukau Technical Institute, NZ (1989)

Professional Affiliations

  • Institute of Public Administration, Victoria, Top 50 Public Sector Women (2018)


  • Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), Victorian Board Member
  • Member of the Council, RMIT University

Key Experience Areas

  • Regulation
  • Fiscal Management
  • Governance

As VBA’s State Building Surveyor, Andrew is an industry advocate for building surveyors and building practitioners across Victoria. He brings a wealth of knowledge to this important role, with over 30 years industry experience gained from roles in the private sector as a structural design engineer, a building surveyor, and as an adviser to the South Australian Government.

Andrew is passionate about the industry and its future; he has led the creation and implementation of the building surveyors code of conduct to improve standards and promote safety and trust and he is also driving new career pathways to address the critical shortage of building surveyors.

Engagement with industry is fundamental to his role, Andrew, chairs several state government committees, and participates regularly with industry associations, forums and working groups.

Alison, Chief Operations Officer at the VBA, is a regulator who takes a wide view of the whole system in which she operates. Alison was an investigator and prosecutor in NSW, she restructured and led the review of the NSW Election Commission’s campaign finance and regulatory arm, and was the Assistant Commissioner at the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.

Alison believes regulation is as much about partnership and focusing on what is the best way to get the right outcomes as it is about investigations and enforcement. Alison believes that improvement comes from a deeper understanding of the value you add to the system in which you operated and the ability to positively adapt to changes in that system – supported by systems, processes and information.

David Black is the Executive Director for Building Systems Technology at the Victorian Building Authority. In this role, he focuses on digitisation of the VBA and functions to support the building industry.

David has extensive experience in digitising organisations and using data and systems to drive innovation. He has qualifications in engineering, information technology, business administration and governance. David has performed CIO roles in regulation and healthcare organisations and has digital experience in the construction, mining, justice and utilities industries.

Amanda Wellesley is the Special Projects Lead at the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), supporting the State Building Surveyor to fulfill the strategic vision and ensure legislative reform, industry initiatives, research and bespoke programs aimed at enhancing industry competencies, culture and performance are delivered.

Since commencing with the VBA in May 2016, Amanda has held senior roles in the VBA including the Statewide Cladding Audit and Inspection Services.

Prior to this, Amanda has worked in a variety of roles in the industry in her capacity as a Registered Building Surveyor (Limited). Amanda established her career in the private sector gaining inspection and certification experience working for Private Building Surveyors in both Victoria and Queensland before achieving registration as a Building Surveyor in 2010.

Amanda has successfully run her own building surveying consultancy and has experience administering building standards in a Local Government setting as well as managing technical field-based monitoring and enforcement programs for the VBA.

Matt has over 20 years’ experience in the construction industry. He is a qualified builder, building surveyor and has spent much of his career with the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) researching and developing building regulation in areas ranging from fire and disability access to energy efficiency.

After leaving the ABCB in 2018 he has come back to oversee the delivery of the ABCB’s response to the Shergold and Weir - Building Confidence Report (BCR), on behalf of Building Ministers.

He quotes ‘the BCR presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to delve deep into the building regulatory systems that underpins the construction of buildings, through a nationally coordinated review and response. If done right, there are significant benefits on offer to governments, industry and the community’.

Corey has extensive experience in the insurance and finance sectors. He joined the Insurance Council in June 2020 from ASX-listed Ensurance Underwriting, where he worked on building insurance programs and introducing new business. He has also held management roles at QBE Insurance and OAMPS brokers.

Corey works on a range of ICA-led industry projects including the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Australia and insurance affordability initiatives.

He holds a Certificate IV in Financial Services (General Insurance) from the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance and is studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce.

John Kent is the Director of Stakeholder Engagement for Cladding Safety Victoria.


Dame Judith Hackitt is a chemical engineer and is currently Chair of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation formerly known as EEF. She is also Chair of Enginuity the UK skills body for Engineering and Manufacturing, formerly known as Semta and senior non-executive director of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult an organisation which exists to support and encourage innovation in Advanced Manufacturing. She is also a Board member of HS2 Ltd.

Dame Judith worked in the chemicals manufacturing industry for 23 years and then worked in an advocacy role for the sector at national and international level. Dame Judith became Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in October 2007, until March 2016.

She was made a Dame in the 2015-16 New Year Honours for services to health and safety and engineering, in particular for being a role model for young women. She had previously been awarded a CBE in 2006 for services to the chemical industries. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2010 and currently serves as a trustee of the Academy. She is also a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and served as President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (2013-14).

Following the tragic fire which occurred at Grenfell Tower in London in June 2017, Dame Judith conducted an independent review into Building Regulations and Fire Safety related to high rise buildings for the Government. She began her review in July 2017 and plans to implement her recommendations in full were announced in the Queen’s speech in October 2019. She now works as an adviser to Government, chairing the Industry Safety Steering Group holding industry to account to deliver the culture change needed and the Transition Board which is overseeing the setting up of the new Building Safety Regulator. She speaks and writes regularly on the need for industry to step up to its responsibilities for safety and quality.

Anna Cronin is Victoria's Commissioner for Better Regulation and Red Tape Commissioner. As Commissioner, she is responsible for Victoria’s regulation scrutiny system and also provides advice to the Government on opportunities for regulatory reform. Anna’s team is part of the Treasury and Finance portfolio, and she reports directly to the Minister for Regulatory Reform, the Hon Danny Pearson MP.

Better Regulation Victoria supports the Commissioner and her work across all government departments and agencies supporting improvements in regulations, regulator operations and regulatory practice.

Anna has considerable experience in regulatory issues across many policy areas, including in environment regulations, agricultural and mining regulations and approvals frameworks and, more recently in planning and building.

In 2019, the Minister for Planning, the Hon Richard Wynne MP, appointed her to chair the expert panel advising the Government on the Building System review. Other panel members are Dame Judith Hackitt, Melanie Fasham, Dr Gerry Ayers, Professor Ian Bailey and Lauren Solomon. The Panel’s terms of reference set out the reform task and the stages of the planned reform process. A discussion paper on the first stage of reforms will be released in early 2021.

Peter Shergold, the Chancellor of Western Sydney University, is a former senior public servant who served as Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet under John Howard. He serves as chair of several private, public and not-for-profit organisations.
In 2017, he and Bronwyn Weir were appointed by the Building Ministers’ Forum to examine compliance and enforcement problems within the construction industry. Their report, Building Confidence, was delivered in 2018 and has been seen as ‘a damming assessment of public confidence in the building and construction sector’.


This session was facilitated by Bronwyn Weir with panel members, Anna Cronin, Andrew Cialini, George Zillante and Trevor Pisciotta.

This session was facilitated by Bronwyn Weir with panel members, Enzo Palermo, Mark Yantses, Matt Harvey and Sarah Ford.

Enzo Palermo

With over 15 years’ experience in both public and private sector, Enzo is a respected built-environment professional, passionate about empowering stakeholders with knowledge to develop and maintain safe assets. Lending his expertise to both state and local initiatives, such as the Victorian Cladding Taskforce and Occupancy Report Program, where he was responsible for the identification, inspection and consulting on key safety and compliance parameters, Enzo is leading the next generation of building surveyors to instil and uphold best practice.

Never shying away from complex conversations, Enzo aims to break down long standing barriers and correct misconceptions between building and construction stakeholders to drive a more connected industry, with the common goal of creating better buildings for the community.

Mark Yantse

Mark has a degree in Building Surveying from Swinburne University and has completed a Graduate Certificate in Performance Based Building and Fire Codes from Victoria University. He has worked in numerous councils throughout his career form rural to capital city. As well as taken on secondments within the Country Fire Authority, Building Commission and currently at the Victoria Building Authority. Mark worked alongside the Metropolitan Fire Brigade as part of his role at Melbourne City Council.

He is currently working as the Municipal Building Surveyor for Mildura Rural City Council and has been in this position for 15 years. Mark’s responsibility includes issuing building permits to all classes of buildings, as well as carrying out statutory functions under the Building Act.

Matt Harvey

Matthew has been in the building industry for over 18 years, beginning as a carpenter he then commenced study with the aim of becoming a Municipal Building Surveyor. Over the last 14 years, Matthew has worked as a Building Inspector and Surveyor in both the private industry and local government and since 2018 has been the Municipal Building Surveyor at Frankston City Council. As of February, this year he commenced as Municipal Building Surveyor at the City of Greater Dandenong.

Matthew is passionate about raising the profile of Building Surveyors and Inspectors within local government as well as mentoring and developing pathways for upcoming Building Surveyors. Matthew is the one of the newest members of the Victorian Municipal Building Surveying Group and has recently become a dad for the first time!

Sarah Ford

Sarah has lived in Benalla her whole life, she has a 3-year older daughter with another daughter on the way and loves cats.

Sarah commenced her career with the Benalla Rural Council in March 2004 as an administration assistant to the MBS and has worked her way up to the current position of Building Coordinator. Shortly after starting with Council, Sarah commenced her journey towards becoming registered as a BS-U. Sarah is currently registered as an IN-U and BS-L and working towards registration as a BS-U with the goal of becoming Benalla Council’s MBS. Sarah has been working in the building department for the past 16 years and has gained a broad range of experience in the Council environment including building permits and enforcement. Over the years Sarah has worked with eight different MBS’s.

Outside of work Sarah is a volunteer with the Victorian State Emergency Service and an active Rotarian.

Breakout sessions

Craig started his career as a broadcaster with ABC Radio in 1994. Since then he has covered Rugby League, Rugby Union and cricket at international level as a commentator.

Craig is probably best known as a member of the "Grandstand" Rugby League commentary and has worked on the past 17 Grand Finals, State of Origin series and a number of Test Matches. Craig was born and raised in the Hunter Valley town of Singleton and spent 16 years working as an underground coalminer in the Newcastle area before embarking on a radio career fulltime in 1999. In 1991 Craig represented the Newcastle and NSW Country cricket teams, and played against the touring Sri Lankan team.

In the year 2000, on the eve of the Sydney Olympic Games where he had been assigned to work as a broadcaster, Craig experienced a psychotic episode and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. He spent 12 days in hospital and, since his recovery, has become one of Australia's most high profile speakers on Mental Health and Lifestyle. In 2004 his highly acclaimed memoir "Broken Open" was released, which gives a very personal account of living with Bipolar Disorder. His second book "A Better Life" was released in 2012. Craig is now a much sought after motivational speaker around Australia who tells what it's like to battle a serious illness. In sharing his story and experiences he offers hope to others.

Michael is the Director of Strategic Risk Management at Riskcom, a risk management consultancy specialising in business risk, health and safety, organisational change and culture, and hazardous materials solutions.

As a consultant. Michael has worked with a  wide range of organisations delivering a range of risk services including NDIA, Regional Growth NSW Development Corporation, Department of Environment, Land Water, Department of Human Services, Emergency Management Victoria, Local Government in Victoria, major freight and logistics organisation and many more international organisations.

Kerry Thompson is the CEO of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV). She is the first female to be appointed in this role since the MAV was formed in 1879. Kerry brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise from more than 20 years in executive leadership roles in the local and state government sectors.

Prior to joining the MAV, Kerry was acting Chief Executive of VicRoads. Kerry was the CEO at Wyndham City Council for five years and CEO at Maribyrnong City Council for seven years. Prior to this, she was also the Director of City Services and Assets at the City of Melbourne for four years.

Professor George Zillante is a retired Head (2019) of the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Adelaide.

Professor Zillante brings a multidisciplinary background in architecture, urban and regional planning, building surveying, business administration and construction to his research and teaching. He has a strong track record in teaching, research and government advisory roles. His extensive experience in both research and leadership qualifies him to provide these qualities to many research teams and he has been successful in winning many research grants.

Professor Zillante achieved Australia’s first Doctorate in Building Surveying in 2007 when he researched the future of the profession. He has spent nearly 40 years assisting the advancement of Building Surveying particularly in the areas of professionalism, education and program accreditation.