Member Alert PII Changes Impacting WA Building Surveyors

13 June 2023

On 2 June 2023, the Commerce Regulations Amendment (Building Services) Regulations 2023 were gazetted in Western Australia. These regulations focus on the introduction of a scheme for the registration of engineers, however importantly for building surveyors, they include amendments to the Building Services (Registration) Regulations 2011 with respect to professional indemnity insurance. 
Key among the changes is the replacement of the Regulations which set out the prescribed insurance requirements that building surveyors must hold in order to register in WA.
Who does this affect?
Under the new changes, all building surveying contractors are required to prove that they either hold adequate insurance appropriate to manage the risk associated with the work they are likely to carry out, or they are required to be a member of a professional standards scheme operated by a professional body. For further information about proof of insurance required, please see the relevant part of the gazettal notice here
What does this mean for AIBS members?
As an AIBS member, you are not affected by the changes. All practicing AIBS members are members of the AIBS Professional Standards Scheme for Building Surveyors and are therefore deemed to hold sufficient insurance cover to meet the requirement of the new Regulations. AIBS is the first, and so far, the only professional body representing building surveyors that is approved to operate a professional standards scheme.
What does this mean for other building surveying contractors who are not members of AIBS?
Building surveying contractors who are not participating members of a professional standards scheme will need to demonstrate that they have adequate cover. The ‘burden of proof’ appears to be significant and will require extensive input by the contractor and, ultimately, could be deemed insufficient by the regulatory body. Further, Building Surveyors operating outside of a professional standards scheme are unable to limit their liability. 
When do these changes commence?
The commencement date is 1 July 2024. Building surveying contractors who are already registered will be required to demonstrate adequate insurance when they renew their registration, or by 1 July 2026, whichever happens first. 
Any questions?
We will arrange for the gazettal announcement to be posted on NEXUS, the AIBS virtual discussion platform for members. Any members with questions about these changes can post them there to receive an answer from AIBS and assist others to learn more. If you have any queries relating to your individual circumstances that you don’t want to post on NEXUS, we are always happy to hear from you directly. Please contact us at [email protected] with your query. 
Long term impacts of the changes
AIBS congratulates the WA government on introducing these Regulation changes which, in addition to regulating the activities of engineering practitioners, will support the efforts of AIBS members to lift the standards of building surveying throughout Western Australia. AIBS was one of the key stakeholders providing input into these changes and, specifically, with regard to the inclusion of membership of a professional standards scheme as a means of verifying compliance with the insurance requirements. 
By introducing the AIBS Professional Standards Scheme for Building Surveyors, AIBS sought to raise the professional standards of building surveying practice throughout Australia, control the spiralling costs and unworkability of professional indemnity insurance policies and increase protection for consumers of building surveying services. These changes to the Regulations in Western Australia will support AIBS to achieve that. This is a win-win for building surveying, for the Western Australian Government and for consumers.