Breaching the code of ethics
What happens if the code of ethics is breached?
If LBPs do not comply with their obligations, a complaint can be made against them which may result in disciplinary action by the Building Practitioners Board.
An LBP will be notified of a complaint in writing and given an opportunity to respond.
Complaints about an LBP breaching the code of ethics can only be made if the breach takes place on or after 25 October 2022.
Building Practitioners Board’s use of the code of ethics
Board members have industry expertise in design, construction and inspection services, law, dispute resolution and mediation skills.
The Building Act 2004 allows for disciplinary action to be taken against LBPs for a limited scope of behaviours. An LBP can be disciplined on matters that related to their behaviour where it meets the threshold of “bringing disrepute to the scheme”. This is a high threshold, and it is difficult to prove that it has been reached.
There is a portion of repeat substandard LBPs who are unfairly impacting the reputation of the scheme and LBPs in general, and because it is difficult to prove their behaviour meets the threshold for “bringing into disrepute”, they are continuing to negatively affect the reputation and effectiveness of the scheme.
The code of ethics will help the Board respond to the small proportion of LBPs that are responsible for the majority of ethical complaints. If an LBP does not comply with their obligations in the code of ethics, then a complaint can be made against them which may result in disciplinary action by the Building Practitioners Board.
This has been well-understood by the industry and the wider public, who supported the introduction of a code of ethics.
Reporting poor or unsafe behaviour as an LBP
If during the course of your work as an LBP, you see someone engaging in unsafe behaviour or work practices on a building site, you have an obligation to raise this with the appropriate person. This may be the person engaging in unsafe behaviour, the supervisor, building site manager, or the person responsible for the building site.
If you do not believe that the behaviour has been resolved, then take other appropriate action. Appropriate action will depend on the circumstances. You might consider, for example, raising it with the individual again, or alerting Worksafe of the issue.
Managing directions from your employer and your obligations under the code of ethics
There may be times where your employer directs you to do something that is at odds with your obligations under the code of ethics. If this occurs, remember that as an LBP you have certain ethical obligations, and if your actions breach these obligations and a complaint is made, then the Building Practitioners Board will look to you as the LBP responsible.
If you are an employed LBP, then your obligation is limited to the matters that you are responsible for carrying out or supervising under your employer’s directions.
If you are self-employed, then your obligation is limited to the matters that you are responsible for carrying out or supervising, to the person who has engaged you (e.g., the person who has commissioned the work).