greaseproof architecture since 2000

Registration board death knell part 2

Well, Mr Guy did issue his press release, which read a lot like the Fairfax article discussed yesterday. It makes the same points, and avoids any discussion of the architectural profession other than implying that its registration board is one of an ad-hoc band of cowboy building industry entities that befuddle the consumer.

Guy does say though, that there will be industry consultation next month, ahead of the introduction of legislation in the first half of next year. Better too late than never. This is all the result of a report ( PDF ) which was also released yesterday. It’s fresh and green in design, and is called, “A fresh start for building industry regulation: Reforming Victoria’s building system.” It’ll be good for us, like a Granny Smith.

A fresh start

Inside, Matthew Guy introduces the report by talking about the need for building permit reform. He refers to the Victorian Auditor General’s report into building permits. He doesn’t mention that the current system which privatised building surveyors was introduced by the previous Coalition government in the ’90s. Because of recent PR problems at the Building Commission, where people were doing what they weren’t supposed to, Guy has decided that it needs to be closed down and a new building industry-wide authority needs to take its place. That decision just happens to sweep away the ARBV.

As a commenter to the previous post pointed out, deregulation of the profession has been on the creep for decades. Odd that an earlier spurt of deregulation by the Kennett government set up the environment for the current difficulties with the building permit system that have prompted this reform. Wheels and roundabouts.

In New Zealand, after some disastrous problems with shonky building work, the building permit system was renationalised. Guy isn’t opting for that here. Instead the Building Commission becomes the Building Authority and advances deregulation by sweeping the plumbers and architects into the new system, for reasons of competitiveness, transparency, soundness, and safety.

Architectural bodies are quite out of the picture. Next month’s consultations are described thus:

Throughout December 2012, meetings will be held with key industry stakeholders including the Housing Industry Association, Master Builders Association Victoria, Australian Institute of Building Surveyors and the Property Council of Australia.

In addition, existing government advisory forums such as the Building Advisory Council, the Plumbing Industry Advisory Council and the Building Regulations Advisory Committee will be used to provide industry with information about the proposed changes and seek members’ views on transitional and implementation issues.

Then, having spoken a lot about building permits, but without mentioning architects, architecture, or architectural registration, the report introduces the new authority.

The new VBA will integrate the functions of the Building Commission, Plumbing Industry Commission and the Architects Registration Board of Victoria to provide a single point of governance for building and plumbing practitioners and architects.

The reports other points, abridged.

  • The VBA will streamline processes and reduce duplication of effort.
  • The VBA will contribute to reduction in regulatory burden for industry and consumers. This means that resources can be targeted to areas of greatest
    need with an increased focus on risk-based approaches.
  • The VBA will be more proactive in the identification of issues and address them before they become significant issues of non-compliance.

While there are pages and pages referring to the practice of building surveying, there is no reference to the practice of architecture. The ARBV’s functions are some distance from building permits. It appears to have been scooped up in the rush.

There are about 606 building surveyors in Victoria. There are 112 registered architects with surnames beginning with ‘A’ (sorry my patience ran out). There are a lot more architects than there are building surveyors, yet the entire registration and educational accreditation system is about to be upended for no stated reason, on the back of building surveyor reforms. As a young person might say, “WTF?!”

/ ~ /

Updated 1/12/12
Reading this on the ARBV’s website today, I wonder if anyone in the profession was aware of the proposal…

“Victorian Building Authority

The announcement of the Victorian Building Authority and the inclusion of the Architects Registration Board of Victoria in it, has come as a surprise to the Board which has a long history of excellent work dating back to 1923.

We will try to keep people informed during the promised consultation period.

If you wish to have your views noted, please email registrar [at]…

/ ~ /
Updated 3/12/12
Turns out now that even the Institute was not aware of the government’s proposal to kill off the ARBV. LINK

Posted by Peter on 29.11.12 in 



To quote from the recommendations of the 1999 Review of Architects and Building Legislation

“Chapter 7: integration of the architects legislation and the building legislation.
We find that there are potential net benefits to be obtained from integration of
the architect legislation and the building legislation. We take the view that
integration, subject to any appropriate transition period, should procure
administrative costs savings and should allow consistent application of
construction industry policies for all participants. The experience and apparent
effectiveness of the ARBV should assist an amalgamated ARBV and BPB to
achieve higher levels of compliance with the building legislation.”

On the face of it it seemed to suggest that the ARBV works, the Building Practitioners Board doesn’t so lets move architects into the BPB. Didn’t make sense then, still doesn’t.

At the time Matthew Guy was a a protege of Rob Mclellan who was the minister responsible for the report and was on Premier Geoff Kennet’s staff taking a keen interest in planning and building regulation. Mr Guy is certainly persistent.

You never know though, there may be some benefit to the architectural profession and the public of their being inside the building regulation structure rather than outside. Perhaps mandatory endorsement of documents as in USA or Spain. Maybe architects could certify compliance of their designs with planning schemes? Now that would speed things up.

by David White on 12.11.30, 02:37 pm ·#

tony arnell is an architect.

by info on 12.11.30, 09:40 pm ·#

I’m not an architect, I’m an engineer – we don’t even get a mention in Mr Guy’s press release.

by Ross on 12.12.05, 02:28 pm ·#

I don’t see what the problem is. As long as i can keep my title as Architect and practice on an unlimited range of buildings thats fine. Draftees can practice as long as they make the public aware of their limited qualifications and require certification from Architects on more complex buildings.

Just like the Building Surveying profession has two categories. Unlimited for those University educated. And Limited for those who have diplomas from TAFE.

by Anti-Narcissist on 12.12.07, 07:41 pm ·#

If you’re not an Architect you must be called a Designing Drafts person not anything else .

by Anti-Narcissist on 12.12.07, 08:08 pm ·#

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