Access Canberra is responsible for assessing and investigating complaints about breaches of the:
- Planning and Development Act 2007
- Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004
- associated operational acts including the Building Act 2004
Access Canberra welcomes complaints about the conduct of the individuals, businesses or industries that we regulate.
Given the often complex nature of such complaints, we will keep you informed about the progress of your complaint. All regulatory complaints are assessed in accordance with the Access Canberra accountability commitment.
You can lodge a complaint by:
- using our online correspondence form
- calling us on 13 22 81
- writing to us at:
Access Canberra Customer Services
GPO Box 158
Canberra ACT 2601
Responding to complaints
Access Canberra aims to adopt the right regulatory response for the right situation. This means we will apply a risk-based compliance approach to ensure that our resources are targeted to where the risks of harm, unsafe practices or misconduct are the greatest, thereby strengthening our capacity to act where the community, workers and the environment are most at risk.
Access Canberra will prioritise its actions based on a range of considerations, including:
- conduct that causes harm or risk to life, health or the environment
- conduct that is systemic and is likely to have a detrimental effect on the community and/or the environment
- conduct that demonstrates a blatant disregard for the law
Our approach is further described in our accountability commitment and Building and construction services compliance framework (PDF 376KB).
Assessment of construction, development and Crown lease complaints
Your complaint will initially be assessed by Access Canberra’s Complaints Management Team. If appropriate your complaint may be referred to the Rapid Regulatory Response Team or the Building Investigations Team. You will be notified if your complaint has been referred to one of these teams for further inquiry. You will also be informed at significant milestones and finalisation of the complaint, however specific details and actions of the investigation will not be disclosed to you. This is a legal requirement under the Information Privacy Act 2014 to protect private information of individuals involved and to avoid prejudice of potential litigation.
As part of the assessment process of complaints, Access Canberra’s Rapid Regulatory Response Team aims to undertake a preliminary assessment of a complaint within five working days of receiving the complaint. This includes, where required, undertaking an inspection of the site that is the subject of the complaint. Within this period, Access Canberra inspectors aim to determine whether there is or is likely to be a breach that requires further investigation. This assessment will be communicated to the person making the complaint.
In the event that there is an immediate risk to public safety, an assessment is undertaken within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.
Not all matters progress to an investigation. Where matters do progress to an investigation, not all matters end with enforcement action being taken. There are a number of tools available to Access Canberra in order to achieve compliance.
More information about the tools available can be found in the Building and construction services compliance framework (PDF 376KB).
Complaints about construction
In the situation where you need to make a complaint about a construction practitioner, as it relates to non-compliant work, in the first instance you are encouraged to attempt to resolve the issue directly with them. If you have a written contract with the company or person who did the work, you may wish to exercise your contractual rights. If this approach fails, you may submit a complaint to Access Canberra. However, you can lodge a complaint with Access Canberra at any time.
When making a complaint, you should also provide any additional information that is relevant to your situation. For example, if the complaint relates to the structural integrity of a part of a building, you should provide a report from a qualified structural engineer outlining the specific issues and relevant breaches.
Complaints relating to the following are assessed by Access Canberra:
- an unlicensed person undertaking work that requires a licence
- someone pretending to be licensed
- someone undertaking building work that requires approval without approval
- failing to comply with the Building Code of Australia
- unacceptable standard of building work
- a breach of relevant legislation
Complaints relating to contractual disputes and fit and finish issues may be assessed by Access Canberra. More information about these matters can be found at Fair Trading.
Development and Crown lease complaints
These types of complaints are typically made by people that are negatively impacted by actions of owners and occupiers on adjoining blocks of land. In the first instance, you are encouraged to attempt to resolve the issue directly with the other party. The Conflict Resolution Service provides a free service for most disputes. If this approach fails, you may submit a complaint to Access Canberra. However, you can lodge a complaint with Access Canberra at any time.
Access Canberra will assess complaints about:
- failing to comply with a lease provision
- undertaking unlawful development
- undertaking development that doesn't comply with a development approval
- failing to keep a leasehold clean (only if more than 30% of the undeveloped portions of the block that are clearly visible from the public domain are covered in items. Long grass and overgrown foliage does not constitute an unclean leasehold and is not calculated as part of the 30%)
There are different ways to make a complaint about:
- streets, public places and nature strips (including damage to trees, littering or damage to public land – contact Transport Canberra and City Services
- health issues (including rotting garbage, harbour for vermin or stagnant water) – contact Health Protection Service
- dangerous substances (including exposure to asbestos, removal of asbestos or exposure to other hazardous substances) – contact Worksafe ACT
- fire hazards (including long grass, overgrown vegetation or flammable substances) – contact ACT Fire and Rescue
Find out more about:
Contact us for more information.