What to do when your Building Practitioner’s Licence has been Suspended
Authored by Lovegrove & Cotton Construction and Planning Lawyers
When a Registered Building Practitioner (RBP) receives a notice from the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) that he or she has had their builder’s registration suspended, the RBP will need to act immediately as there is a 28 day appeal time period under the Building Act 1993.
In most circumstances, the RBP has a right to have the suspension reviewed by way of;
• Internal review through the VBA; or
• Appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
If the RBP is an “affected person” under the act, the RBP will have 28 days to file the application for internal review with the VBA and 14 days after the end of the internal review period to file a review with the VCAT. Accordingly, one must act quickly and the RBP’s suspension will not be lifted during the review period. Accordingly, the RBP should be aware that he or she cannot undertake building works pursuant to the suspended registration during this time.
Further, if the notice of suspension was determined by the Chief Commissioner or CEO of the VBA then the only review opportunity of the RBP is to the VCAT the internal review option will not apply.
An RBP who has received a notice of suspension from the VBA would be well advised to engage a construction law expert http://lclawyers.com.au/ experienced with practitioner misconduct advocacy. The requisite appeal instrument will need to be very carefully drafted as there is so much gravitas associated with the import of the instrument. Legal representation is permitted for the RBP whether he or she elects to give written or oral submissions for the review.
By virtue of the fact that the suspension of a building practitioner’s registration can destroy that individual’s reputation and livelihood and potentially generate a litany of contractual repudiations, it is critical that the building practitioner deploy a construction law and practitioner law advocate at the earliest juncture. Note that once a registered building practitioner is suspended then he or she will in all likelihood be unable to complete any residential building contracts that may be on foot particularly in circumstances where the building practitioner is the RBP registered with a company. To say that the consequences of suspension are dire would be a profound understatement.