What is the process and the possible consequences if a complaint is made to the Building Professionals Board about an accredited certifier?
Who can make a complaint, and what can it be about?
Any person can make a complaint against an accredited certifier. This means that complaints can be received from neighbours, council officers, or other people working on the project.
Complaints that are made must relate to the accredited certifier’s functions and obligations under the law. Examples of acceptable and unacceptable complaints against accredited certifiers can be found on page 3 of the complaint form.
How and when can a complaint be made?
Complaints must be submitted in writing using the complaint form. They must contain details of any allegations and be supported with evidence.
Generally, complaints should be made within 3 years of the particular allegation. If the complaint is made more than 3 years after the allegation, the BPB can choose to dismiss the complaint.
What happens when the BPB receives a complaint?
Once a complaint is received, the BPB can choose to take no action, investigate the complaint, or dismiss the complaint.
If the BPB decides to take no action, the BPB must notify the person who lodged the complaint. The BPB must also let the accredited certifier know that a complaint was received, and what the complaint was about.
Reasons for why no action will be taken must be provided to both the person who lodged the complaint and the accredited certifier.
If the BPB decides to investigate the complaint, within 28 days of receiving a complaint it must notify the accredited certifier and give them at least 7 days to make submissions in writing to the BPB. The BPB can also choose to give a copy of the complaint to the accredited certifier.
The BPB can hold one or more private meetings to consider a complaint. At these meetings, the accredited certifier can be represented by a lawyer, who can make submissions on their behalf.
The BPB can also decide to dismiss a complaint at any stage including during it’s investigations. It has the power to dismiss a complaint for a number of reasons, including if the complaint is trivial or vexatious, or if it has to do with matters that are not related to the accredited certifier’s functions and obligations under the law.
What can happen if an accredited certifier is found guilty?
The BPB has the power to hand down a range of penalties, including cautions, large fines, and lifetime disqualifications. Any disciplinary action must also be publicised.
The BPB applies the Disciplinary Penalty Guidelines when it makes a disciplinary decision. These guidelines reflect the disciplinary approach of the BPB to both minor and major infringements.
Instead of making a decision, the BPB can also apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and ask that they make a disciplinary finding and determine the appropriate penalty.
If you are involved in a complaint or disciplinary proceedings, it is best to seek legal advice to determine what the best options are for you.