“They can sit down with me and we will go through the application together. I’ll give them feedback and some tips on the assessment process, and coach them through it.”
As our builder registration mentor, it’s Robert Schaasberg’s job to help students nail their VBA builder registration applications. We caught up with him to chat through how it works.
Name: Robert Schaasberg
Job: Domestic builder registration mentor and facilitator at Builders Academy Australia
How to register with the VBA?
“Historically, the process to get your registration has been full of horror stories and there is a lot of misinformation out there. My role is all about clearing up the facts about what you need to do.
“I help the students with going through the process of getting their builders licence or registration. I go in at about one third of the way through the course for a session that gives the students all the information they need.”
What do you need to become a registered builder?
“There’s a follow-up service after that for when they are ready to complete their application. Once they are ready to go, they can sit down with me and we will go through the application together. I’ll give them feedback and some tips on the assessment process, and coach them through it.
“It’s quite involved: there’s an exam, plus a face-to-face interview. The application checking process is me going through and making sure everything is signed where it needs to be signed, checking that they’ve crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s, and then giving them some feedback if it can be made better or anything like that.”
“Also, in Victoria, the application forms and the process only just changed this year so the documents are a lot more templated by the VBA (Victorian Building Authority) and it’s a matter of understanding how to fill in those documents correctly.”
“I came out of school and had a couple of ‘gap years’, if you want to call it that, and then I went and did a Bachelor of Construction at university. I pretty much started working full time, while I was studying, for a commercial builder. I spent four years in commercial construction across areas like estimating, construction administration, project management and site management.”
“From there I spent two years in the UK doing construction recruitment and then moved to Melbourne where I was doing construction recruitment for another two years. For the last three or four years I was at the HIA (Housing Industry Association) doing this exact thing, helping people go through this exact process.
“At Builders Academy I provide service to all of their courses. I do about three nights a week, for all different courses around Victoria. That takes up probably half my week and the other half is doing my own business.”
“I’ve set up my own consultancy business called Builders Edge. Basically, the reason why I set that up is so that I could really help guys through the process to get their registration and help them after that.
What does a registered builder actually do?
Once they get registered, I help guys get set up on site, set up with basic contracts and procedures. I even help guys sit in front of their first client. Because going from being a trade contractor to being a builder is tricky: it’s hard to know what to do.”
Is being a builder difficult?
Robert says it can be! “You go from running on labour-only rates for a few years, getting paid weekly because you’ve been working, and all of a sudden you are a builder who gets a deposit and then maybe you are getting paid every couple of months in progress payments.
They might be large sums of money but it goes very quickly because you need to fork-out and pay for your bills and materials and that kind of stuff. So it’s a huge change in lifestyle, especially if you have a young family. It can be a scary thing.”
“That’s where my real passion is: seeing the guys move up. You have to show the knowledge when you go through the assessment process but being able to speak it in that situation and then actually going out and being able to talk it is different.
It’s all about helping guys get comfortable with the process, understanding it, and being prepared for it.”
Legend. Thanks Robert!
Get support for your builders registration in Victoria
We’re really proud to be offering this expert service bundled into the certificate IV and diploma courses at no extra cost.
For more info, feel free to give the team a call on 1300 534 363 or click through here and drop us an enquiry: https://buildersacademy.edu.au/builder-registration-mentoring-program/
This article has been revised and updated on 28 April 2022.