An incident was recently reported to ArchiTeam where an architect was the subject of identity fraud.
Unknown to them their registration details were used to apply for a building permit which was subsequently issued and the project construction was commenced. This was only discovered by the architect by accident when they were told by chance about the project by a documentation team member. The architect knew nothing about the project or client.
Inquiries were made by ArchiTeam with the VBA as to how this could happen. Aren’t there any checks required by the building surveyor? Well, they say no. The VBA says that the building surveyor can ‘act in good faith’ in that all information on the application form can be accepted on face value as used with the consent of the practitioner. The VBA says that the building surveyor has no obligation under the act to determine that the practitioner has consented. The good news though is they say that the architect is not liable under the act for the project for fraudulent use of their identity.
By now you may be thinking how would I know if my registration has been used for an application? To find this out you need to have the details of the project because the VBA does not keep a register to determine what permits have been issued in a practitioner’s name. So under the current system you’ll probably never know. We can only assume that if it has happened once it has most likely happened before and it will probably happen again, to any one of us.
Also, the VBA says that the building permit that has been issued is not valid – what a mess –especially for the client.
We also got a comment from our insurance broker in relation to cover under the ArchiTeam group PII policy and no, you are not insured for identity fraud as such, but you are covered if you are found to be liable as an architect
Disclaimer – ‘What could possibly go wrong?’ is not an advice column, it is only general comment from ArchiTeam who are not aware of your circumstances with any issue that you may have. You cannot rely on these general comments, each member must make their own decisions about any action they should take and seek independent advice of their own if they are unsure.