The Building Practitioner Misconduct Process in Victoria.

9 Jul 2024

Overview: In Victoria, the misconduct process for building practitioners is governed by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). Since the Building Practitioners Board (BPB) ceased operations around 2018-2019, the current system has shifted to a “show cause” process.

Key Steps in the Misconduct Process:

  1. Complaint Lodgement and Initial Assessment:
    • Initiation: Complaints can be made by the public, other practitioners, or the VBA.
    • Assessment: The VBA assesses if the complaint falls within their jurisdiction and if there is sufficient basis for an investigation.
  2. Show Cause Process:
    • Notice Issuance: If the VBA decides to investigate, they issue a “show cause” notice to the practitioner. This notice outlines the allegations, evidence, and potential penalties.
    • Practitioner’s Response: The practitioner has 28 days to respond, providing evidence or arguments against the allegations. Extensions can be granted.
  3. Evaluation and Decision:
    • Review of Submissions: The VBA reviews the practitioner’s response along with the initial evidence.
    • Decision: A final decision is made on the allegations and appropriate penalties, which could range from a reprimand to fines, educational requirements, or suspension/cancellation of registration.
  4. Internal Review:
    • Application: If dissatisfied with the decision, the practitioner can request an internal review within 28 days.
    • Review Process: The VBA’s Internal Review unit re-evaluates the case and may hold informal meetings to hear further submissions from the practitioner.
  5. External Review:
    • VCAT Appeal: If still dissatisfied after the internal review, the practitioner can appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). This process is more formal and involves higher legal costs.

Principles Guiding the Process:

  • The process is guided by principles of natural justice and procedural fairness, ensuring practitioners are fully informed of the allegations and have an opportunity to defend themselves.
  • Decisions are based on a higher standard of proof (“reasonably satisfied”) due to the serious implications for the practitioner’s career and reputation.
  • The primary goal is to protect the community, not to punish the practitioner, although maintaining public confidence in the profession is also a consideration.

Outcomes and Penalties:

Penalties are proportionate to the severity of the misconduct. Serious cases involving grave offenses, gross negligence, or dishonesty may result in suspension or cancellation of registration. Less severe cases might result in fines or mandatory education.

Importance of Legal Representation:

It is critically important to engage lawyers who are well-versed in the Building Act 1993 and have expertise in building practitioner advocacy and professional conduct law. This is a highly specialized area that intersects with regulatory, construction, and professional misconduct law. Using lawyers who have a deep understanding of these domains ensures that practitioners receive competent and effective representation, which is crucial for navigating the complexities of the misconduct process.

Source Articles – LC Lawyers)​​ (LC Lawyers

For authoritative text on the subject, refer to “Disciplinary Hearings and Advocacy,” co-authored by Lovegrove and Korica​.

By Justin Cotton, Director of Lovegrove & Cotton Pty Ltd


This article is not legal advice rather a discussion of the topic in only general terms.