The AIBS Professional Standards Scheme – where did it begin and where is it heading?

By Brett Mace


The AIBS Professional Standards Scheme for Building Surveyors (the AIBS Scheme) is coming up to two and half years since its commencement which is the halfway point of the initial five-year period. Given that AIBS has been working off and on developing a scheme since 2016, where we published our first of many articles in Australian Building Surveyor magazine outlining the benefits of a scheme, it probably seems longer than that.  Much of the ‘off and on’ in AIBS contemplating a scheme was around considerations as to whether such a scheme would be viable, given there was little to no support from State and Territory regulators when the idea was discussed and proposed.

However, the defining moment in the development of the AIBS Scheme came in December 2019 with the following statement from the nation’s building ministers in their communique from the Building Ministers’ Forum stating: “Ministers called on industry associations to develop Professional Standards Schemes as a matter of priority. A further meeting in February 2020 will be convened with building surveyor and certifier industry associations to discuss their implementation plans for establishing a Professional Standards Scheme and raising standards within the industry. The insurance sector and professionals in the construction industry all have a critical role to play in developing solutions.”

It was this support for a scheme by ministers that gave AIBS the much-needed impetus to proceed to develop the AIBS Scheme - and the rest is history.   Now with this support, the real work for AIBS to bring a professional standards scheme to fruition, was about to begin!  

It is noteworthy that while other organisations representing building surveyors made the same commitment as AIBS to the ministers for the development of a professional standards scheme, in the subsequent four years, only AIBS has delivered on this commitment.

Notwithstanding all the challenges we faced during the previous years, AIBS completed our application which included dealing with the disruption of COVID restrictions through 2020 and 2021 to ultimately receive notification in April 2021 that we had been approved as an Occupational Association and, with that, the approval for the AIBS Professional Standards Scheme for Building Surveyors to operate across all jurisdictions in Australia. This was a very significant breakthrough and acknowledgement of all the intensive and intricate steps AIBS had taken to reach that point.

However, this didn’t come about without a high degree of trepidation on the Board knowing it would bring real challenges in the short term around member retention, a change in the professional culture and of course the management of resources to achieve the high-level goals.  Nonetheless, overwhelmingly the Board members considered that we had to ‘ride-out’ any short-term challenges in the interests of achieving a modern, viable and professional future for building surveying. 

With the new AIBS Scheme, the journey down this new pathway to our ultimate destination of greater professionalism had commenced in earnest.  As is always the case, any bold new project is not going to be without its challenges and the AIBS Scheme has been no different as we have met with some roadblocks along the way.  So, 2 ½ years into our journey down this brand-new road, this article will take a look at some of the roadblocks we have encountered, why they have emerged and what we intend to do to smooth this new pathway to greater professionalism. 

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