2017 Changes to the Building Act 1993

The VBA is responsible for implementing the Victorian Government's building industry reforms scheduled to roll out progressively between 2016 - 2019 through amendments to the Building Act. Reforms are designed to achieve both transparency and efficiency throughout the building industry and increased consumer protection, so that people engaging building practitioners can do so with a high degree of confidence.

Changes effective from 16 August 2017

  • Changes to emergency orders, building notices, building orders and amended definitions as well as new penalties for body corporates (i.e. companies in the business of building).
  • New regulations compelling practitioners to maintain exits as well as safety and emergency services, with a view to increased public safety.
  • Increased penalties for builders for non-compliance when issued with a direction to fix notice.
  • Changes to the requirement for a building owner to ensure essential safety measures
  • Statute of limitation period applying to proceedings for offences.
  • New information sharing arrangements between relevant agencies to increase regulatory capacity.

Changes effective from 1 August 2017

From 1 August 2017, a domestic builder or draftsperson must be registered with the VBA if they perform domestic building work that costs more than $10,000, construction costs including labour and materials (increased from $5,000) unless an exception applies.

Changes effective from 1 July 2017

From1 July 2017, the following changes are introduced:

  • Building Regulations define the scopes of work authorised under each class of registration for building surveyors, building inspectors and domestic builders. Qualifications required for relevant categories and classes of registration are also defined in the Building Regulations. Where the Act requires that a practitioner is registered, it now also requires that the registration category or class authorises the work.
  • Practitioners undertaking domestic building can no longer rely on a registration in another category or class.
  • Builders undertaking domestic building work are not covered by the required insurance if the builder named on the contract is not identical to the builder named on the certificate of insurance.
  • Builders undertaking domestic building work on their own land need a certificate of consent unless they are registered in a category and class that authorises the planned work.
  • Owner-builders commit an offence if they enter into a major domestic building contract with someone who is not registered in a category or class that authorises them to do the work. An exception is created for corporations up to 1 July 2018 when the corporate registration scheme takes effect.
  • A relevant building surveyor must not issue a permit for domestic building work unless the builder named in the permit is registered in a category and class that authorises them to do the proposed work.
  • A statutory manager may be appointed to a private building surveyor business in limited circumstances.

Changes effective from 24 May 2017

On 24 May 2017, two serious offences are introduced to deter would-be law-breakers.

People and businesses that knowingly manage, arrange or carry out building work without a permit could be prosecuted for a serious offence if they knew that a building permit was required.

And if a person or business manages, arranges or carries out building work that they know is not in accordance with the building permit, the Act or the regulations, they could face the same consequences.

On 24 May 2017 the following changes to the Building Act 1993 came into effect:

  • Two new indictable offences under section 16B of the Act are introduced that affect people and body corporates in the business of building. This includes managing or arranging building work, as well as carrying out building work.
    • They must not carry out building work for which a building permit is required, if they know that a building permit is required to carry out that work and that a building permit to carry out that work is not in force;
    • They must not carry out building work if they know the building work is not being carried out in accordance with the Act, building regulations or the building permit issued in relation to that work.
  • Any offence that applies to a builder will apply to each member of a partnership that is a builder, even if the member is not a builder themselves.
  • Conflict of interest provisions introduced for private building surveyors in 2016 have been extended to include municipal building surveyors.
  • A new Schedule 10 to the Act contains transitional provisions giving the VBA the ability to register a company or body corporate already engaged in building work as a registered building practitioner, subject to meeting certain criteria. It is anticipated that these changes will take effect from 1 July 2018.

Find out what the changes are and how they apply to you.

Building practitionersBuilding surveyorsOwner buildersConsumers

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Please submit an enquiry or call us on 1300 815 127 if you have any questions.

Please click here to view the 2016 Changes to the Building Act 1993.