It is critical that all applications for development certificates are determined by accredited certifiers in an objective and impartial manner.
If a certifier has a conflict of interest, the certifier must not issue a development certificate. The Building Professionals Board may issue a fine of up to $33,000 if a certifier breaches this requirement.
Examples of conflicts of interest
Conflicts of interest are defined in section 66 of the Building Professionals Act 2005. Certifiers must not issue a certificate in relation to any aspect of a development if:
- they have been involved in the design of the development, or
- they have been involved in the carrying out of work on that aspect of the development, or
- they are the applicant for the certificate or related to the applicant, or
- they are associated with the council of the area where the development is to be carried out, or
- they are related to a person who was involved in the design or construction of that aspect of the development, or
- they have a pecuniary interest in any aspect of the development.
Being 'related to' a person means:
- being employed by the applicant for the certificate, or
- having the same employer as the applicant, or
- having certain personal relationships, such as parent, spouse or child.
Being 'associated with' a council means:
- being a councillor or employee of the council, or related to a councillor of employee, or
- having a contractual arrangement with the council that might be seen to give rise to a conflict of interest.
Exemptions to conflict of interest provisions
There are some circumstances where a certifier is not considered to be involved in the design of an aspect of a development, and therefore does not have a conflict of interest. These are outlined in section 67 of the Building Professionals Act 2005 and clause 18 in the Building Professionals Regulation 2007.
Certifiers may use the conflict of interest exemption form to apply for an exemption. The Board considers all applications carefully, and the most common exemption is in relation to a certifier being associated with the council in the same area as the development.
Exemptions for council certifiers
There are also some exemptions that apply to certifiers who are council employees:
- Council certifiers are not taken to have been involved in the design of an aspect of a development where they have been involved in the assessment or determination of a related development application or complying development certificate.
- Council certifiers may issue certificates to the council or to a council employee (that is, people to whom the certifier would otherwise be 'related to'), for a development valued at no more than $5 million.
The conflict of interest information sheet provides more information. These exemptions allow councils to design buildings such as an amenities block, and allow council employees who are building a home to use a council certifier.