In light of recent announcements by Australian governments restricting movement and business around the country in an effort to reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to empathise with you during what is a very anxious and challenging time for our Members and all Australians.

This is truly an extraordinary time and forces us to respond in an extraordinary, flexible and innovative way. Our priority is, and will remain, protecting and limiting the impact to our Members as much as possible in their important and vital role supporting the Australian financial services sector.

In the first instance, I wish to reiterate the health and safety protocols in place for valuers who continue to carry out onsite physical valuations. Please ensure you adhere to all latest health advice being regularly issued and take all reasonable steps to protect yourselves based on that advice. It is very clear that you must modify your work practices to ensure the safety of all involved.

To support the sector, I have written to the Federal Treasurer and State Treasurers, the ABA, ASBFEO and other key industry stakeholders highlighting the essential support our Members provide to the financial services sector, attempting to pre-empt any further restrictions to business that may be introduced, and have been in contact with the Australian Government’s Business Liaison Unit established to respond to COVID-19.

We have used this opportunity to leverage the experience of our international colleagues, in particular understanding the impact COVID-19 restrictions have had on property professionals in the United States in a move to ensure business continuity in Australia.

To enable valuers to continue to provide professional services and work to ensure the continued applicability of our APIV Limited Professional Standards Scheme protecting consumers and our regulatory environment during this pandemic, the API has created a new Valuation Protocol – Significant Valuation Uncertainty, to be finalised tomorrow and which sets out recommended limitation/warning wording, is IVS compliant, and should be included in all reports.

We are working with the RVI and Commercial Groups around a non-physical inspection framework and, following further certainty as to a workable framework, will engage with the Australian PI Insurers.

The following draft documents have been developed and a meeting is scheduled for tomorrow to discuss:

  1. New Valuation Protocol – State of Crisis/Emergency – provides guidelines for utilising a range of technologies as an interim alternative to enhance external and internal valuation inspections in place of a full physical inspection. These guidelines have been drafted to extend to all property types and valuations, including statutory valuations;
  2. New Restricted Assessment Interim Supporting Memorandum to extend to all property types and all purposes;
  3. New Interim PropertyPro Supporting Memorandum to enable PropertyPro mortgage valuations without a full (physical) inspection.

Visit our website to access information on our COVID-19 response, as well our new-look API Learning Hub, which contains helpful advice and professional development modules that may support at this time.

Whilst there is still plenty to be done, these initial steps will help protect our sector as much as practicably possible at this time.

Lastly, whilst the situation ahead of us is going to challenge us all, and the unprecedented shutting of national and local borders sparks renewed anxiety within the community, we encourage you all to stay connected. In times of adversity, it is our family, our friends and our community that will build the resilience to overcome this challenge.

We will be reaching out to our Members via phone over the coming weeks to check in and offer our support, so that we too can help you stay connected.

Amelia Hodge – CEO, Australian Property Institute