MBA Building Services Pty Ltd (MBABS) – Closure Notification
Due to regulatory changes, as of 1 July 2021, MBABS will not be offering any new services. However, as far as is reasonably practicable, MBABS will continue to support current building permits until they are completed.
On 1 January 2021, the Victorian Building Authority introduced a new Building Surveyors Code (BSC) and part of that BSC specifically requires building surveyors to avoid conflicts of interest, be they ‘actual, potential or perceived’.
In order to protect MBV and its members from significant governance and compliance failures – and the impacts thereof – and with careful consideration based on independent advice provided by a leading legal firm, it has been decided that MBABS is to cease operations/close.
More information is available in the FAQs below.
For further assistance on this matter, please call the MBV Assist Team on 03 9411 4555.
1. MBABS has been running for 18 years, why close it now?
A new Code of Conduct for building surveyors was introduced by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) in January 2021.
Part of that Code specifically requires building surveyors to avoid conflicts of interest, be they ‘actual, potential or perceived’.
Given MBABS is wholly owned by Master Builders Victoria (MBV) our Council of Management sought independent legal advice about the operating model of MBABS and any potential risk of contravening compliance with the new Code.
Unfortunately, the independent advice – provided by a leading legal firm – found that the obvious relationship with MBV presented a significant risk that MBABS could fall foul of the requirements of the Code in relation to perceived conflicts of interest.
In order to protect MBV and its members from significant governance and compliance failures – and the financial and reputational impacts of those failures – it was recommended that MBABS should cease operating.
The new Code of Conduct for Building Surveyors is available for viewing/download via the Victorian Building Authority's website: https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/surveyors/code-of-conduct
2. Who provided that legal advice?
The advice was provided by a leading independent Australian legal firm.
3. When does it close?
MBABS will effectively cease trading as of 1 July 2021, by not offering any new services from that date. However, where it is reasonably practicable, MBABS will continue to support permits issued before that date.
4.What if I have an existing contract with MBABS?
Where it is reasonably practicable, MBABS will continue to support existing building permits until they are completed.
5. I’ve been a client of MBABS for years, where am I supposed to go to now?
While MBABS will cease to trade, there are many private building surveyors within the sector offering these services.
6.Isn’t this really just about MBV trying to cut costs?
No. This is about ensuring compliance. The costs involved in MBABS transitioning out of the market are significant.
The potential risks of non-compliance if the entity continues to operate are significant and MBV's Council of Management considered that this put members at a risk, which is not acceptable.
7. Can’t you change the model of the way MBABS operates to avoid these ‘supposed’ conflicts of interest?
No. MBABS is the trustee of The MBA Building Services Trust, established under Deed of Declaration of Trust dated 24 July 2003. Master Builders Association of Victoria (MBV) is the sole beneficiary of the Trust and wholly owns and controls MBABS and the Trust (collectively referred to as MBABS).
The two organisations are inextricably and legally linked, hence the concern about potential conflicts of interest between the two.
8. Isn’t this just another example of MBV taking services away from regional areas.
This is not a regional or metro decision. We know this will be disappointing news for some of our members and MBABS clients, but the decision to close MBABS is not made lightly and not about postcodes.
This decision is about what’s in the best interests of all MBV members.
Leaving MBV open to a known legal and financial risk is obviously unacceptable and the MBV Council of Management made the appropriate decision to mitigate that risk.
We understand that MBV members in Regional Victoria want and need better access to some of our services, and we’re committed to introducing an improved E-platform of a suite of on-line services that will include contracts, IR, OHS, etc.
We’ll be launching that in the coming months and we look forward to continuing to engage with and supporting our members in regional Victoria.