The Land Survey Board of Trinidad and Tobago (LSBTT) has the statutory authority to investigate complaints of violations of the Land Surveyors Act 33 of 1996 (Act) and the Land Surveyors Regulations. The Land surveyors Code of Ethics forms Schedule 3 of the Land Surveyors Regulations.
The Land Surveyors Disciplinary Committee (LSDC) adjudicates on all complaints and upon completion, refers its recommendations to the LSBTT, which makes a final decision on the complaint. Decisions of the Board are then conveyed to the complainant and surveyor.
Before a complaint can be adjudicated by the LSDC the Board normally appoints the Registrar/Secretary to pre-examine the complaint and make recommendations on if the complaint is frivolous or if proven may not constitute conduct unbecoming a surveyor. Based on the evidence supplied with a complaint and the Registrar/Secretary’s pre-examination recommendation, the Board may direct either that a general charge be laid of unprofessional conduct or conduct unbecoming of a Surveyor, together with the particulars of the alleged breach(s) or determine that the complaint is frivolous and even if proven would not constitute Conduct Unbecoming of a Surveyor.
Claims for compensation arising from the actions of a registered surveyor via the Land Surveyors Disciplinary Committee cannot be considered by the Committee.
What constitutes a Complaint?
A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction about the action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by a person registered under the Land Surveyors Act 33 of 1996. A complaint may be filed against any persons(s) registered under the Act and to holders of Certificates of Authorisation (corporations, partnerships or associations of persons). The LSBTT may, of its own motion or upon the complaint of any person, cause the conduct of any Land Surveyor or Trinidad and Tobago Land Surveyor or Graduate Land Surveyor registered under the Act to be investigated by the LSDC. The range of charges to be laid involve: violations of the Code of Ethics and conduct unbecoming a surveyor which also provides for inclusion of other types of acts to be determined on a case by case basis.
Cause for disciplinary action occurs where a Land Surveyor registered under the Land Surveyor Act —
(a) has obtained his registration by reason of misrepresentation;
(b) has been convicted of an offence under the repealed Ordinance or this Act or any offence involving dishonesty; or
(c) has, in his practice of surveying, conducted himself unprofessionally, or been guilty of conduct unbecoming a land surveyor,
Unprofessional conduct is guided by the Land Surveyors Code of Ethics contained in the Third Schedule of the Land Surveyors Act.
The Code of Ethics provides guidance for the practice of land surveying. Violations of the Code of Ethics can be reported by the public as well as registered members as complaints.
A surveyor’s conduct is deemed unprofessional and unbecoming a surveyor by:
(a) acting as a professional agent of a person not qualified to practise as a surveyor and using or permitting his name to be used in any such agency;
(b) doing any act that is calculated to or makes a person believe that a person who is not a surveyor is entitled by law to practise surveying and charge fees accordingly;
(c) falsely certifying as to the service and practical experience under articles of a Land Surveying Graduate;
(d) failing or neglecting to—
(i) instruct a Land Surveying Graduate;
(ii) supervise the work of a Land Surveying Graduate; or
(iii) ensure that a Land Surveying Graduate obtains practical experience in land surveying in the manner prescribed;
(e) failing to answer promptly correspondence received from the Board or from the Committee;
(f) doing any other act which under this Act is considered to be unbecoming and unprofessional conduct.
Filing a Complaint:
Where a person alleges that he has been aggrieved by an act of professional misconduct or default committed by a person registered under the Act, he may apply to the Board by way of letter to require that person to answer the allegations (Sect. 41(1)).
The LSBTT has a Complaint Policy and persons are required to read and be fully cognisant of the requirements for making complaints. Complaints are accepted in specific format and Complaint Forms are available upon request from the Board’s Secretariat office.
A complaint cannot be filed against a person who is not registered with the Board at the time of the when the survey complaint arose.
Outcomes from a Complaint:
Where a surveyor is deemed to be guilty of a charge the enforcement actions may include, but are not limited to, suspending licenses, revoking licenses, placing licensees on probation, issuing administrative citations, suspension of registration, expulsion of registration, imposing a fine not exceeding $5000, order corrective works at the cost of the surveyor or apportion the costs for same to either of the parties to the complaint and referring the matter to the Courts for prosecution.
Where the complaint is dismissed on the ground that it is frivolous or vexatious, the Committee may order the complainant to pay the surveyor such costs as the Committee thinks just.