Technical Update – November 2020

Building inspector at attic window
In this issue, find out why we’re launching a Career Pathways program for building surveyors, save our 2021 Building Surveyors’ Conference dates, watch our ESMs webinar and review our Q4 2019–20 inspections report.

Victoria’s building and plumbing industries are now operating with renewed momentum, after further easing of restrictions fully aligned Melbourne with regional Victoria on the roadmap to reopening.

Across the metropolitan region, most building sites have returned to full workforce capacity, and specialist contractors are now once again attending sites without site visit limits.

Importantly, building and construction activities can now take place on occupied premises if it is possible to create a physical barrier between workers and occupants.

While this is welcome news for everyone in our industry, we cannot become complacent about health and safety.

All sites across Victoria must have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan in place that applies the principles of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for the Building and Construction Industry and HIA’s ‘Making space on site’ guidelines.

This means we must all continue wearing a face mask, practising physical distancing and limiting work in confined spaces.

Building Surveyors’ Career Pathways program

Victoria’s building surveyors are at a crossroads. Of the almost 700 building surveyors currently registered in Victoria, 47 per cent are more than 50 years old.

At the same time, many building surveyors have changed the way they service the industry – by specialising in certain building classes or being more selective about the appointments they accept.

All of this comes amid a steady rise in the volume of building activity, which has pressured building surveyors to take on an increasing workload while maintaining quality and standards.

Future implementation of the reforms being considered by the Australian Building Codes Board’s Building Confidence report team and the Victorian Regulatory Review Panel are likely to require additional input from all practitioners, including building surveyors. This comes as building surveyors remain in high demand, with many councils reporting difficulties in filling vacant positions.

For building surveying students, there are fewer training pathways and limited opportunities available to learn from experienced mentors out in the field.

At the VBA, we have monitored these trends with growing concern and have resolved to do everything we can to implement a long-term, stable solution.

That’s why, in partnership with the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority and Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria, we are proud to be launching a Career Pathways program for building surveying graduates and final year students.

Commencing early next year, the program offers aspiring building surveyors a defined pathway to becoming registered through a mix of supervised training and career rotations.

It also aims to equip students with the skills and experience necessary to further their careers as registered building surveyors or municipal building surveyors.

Applications for the Career Pathways program are now open, with successful candidates commencing in early 2021.

As a proud leader of the industry, the VBA is keen to work with councils and private enterprise interested in supporting the future of the building surveying profession by offering placement opportunities within their organisation.

To express your interest, or to find out how you can help, please email the Program Coordinator, Donna Dejkovski at

The VBA is also working with Registered Training Organisations to promote the need for more defined pathways to a building surveying career, while ensuring building surveying course content reflects recent changes and developments in the industry.

Save the dates – Building Surveyors’ Conference 2021

With just under four months until our next Building Surveyors’ Conference, planning is now well and truly under way.

Due to the uncertainty of our current environment, next year’s conference will be a virtual event, held over two half days.

While this is a marked change from our previous conferences, the new format offers greater flexibility and convenience – and addresses some of the feedback we have received on scheduling shorter, more targeted events.

Next year’s conference theme is Reset. Rebuild. Recover. – a fitting description of the actions we must take both as an industry and a community over coming months.

The conference will be held from 2.00 to 5.00 pm on Monday, 22 February and from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm on Tuesday, 23 February 2021.

It will feature live and pre-recorded presentations, with speakers to be announced at a later date.

Essential Safety Measures webinar series

Almost 1000 building industry professionals attended our recent educational webinar series on the importance of maintaining effective and compliant Essential Safety Measures (ESMs).

Presented in partnership with the City of Melbourne and Hendry, the webinars covered the role that municipal building surveyors and the fire brigade play in administering and enforcing Victoria’s ESM maintenance compliance regime.

The webinars also provided an overview of the role that private building surveyors can have in assisting building owners or occupiers to achieve compliance with their maintenance and record-keeping responsibilities.

Feedback on the ESM webinars was extremely positive and will help us shape the direction of future events.

For those of you who couldn’t attend, an on-demand recording is available from the VBA website.

We have also released a series of industry podcasts to complement our ESM Roles and Responsibilities framework (PDF, 1555.71 KB). You can listen to the podcasts on our website or find them on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Proactive Inspections Program activity

The VBA’s Proactive Inspections Program (PIP) helps keep Victoria’s construction industry safe through regular checks of building and plumbing work.

Between April and June 2020, PIP conducted more than 3500 inspections across 46 municipalities in Victoria. One quarter of the inspections found compliance risk which, if not addressed, had the potential to:

  • adversely affect the safety or amenity of future building occupants and the public
  • result in loss of structural integrity or financial loss for future occupants.

You can learn more about PIP, and the most common issues our inspectors find, in our 2019–20 Q4 Proactive Inspections Program Report.


Andrew Cialini
State Building Surveyor