Complaints

Complaints about the VBA should not be lodged through the VBA360 portal but sent to the following email address, customerservice@vba.vic.gov.au

Complaints from government agencies including councils should not be lodged through the VBA360 portal but emailed to customerservice@vba.vic.gov.au. Please attention to the Manager of Complaints and Scheduling Services.

Matters the VBA cannot assist with

There are a number of matters which are outside the jurisdiction of the VBA. Who you contact will depend on the nature of the complaint and the outcome that you are seeking.

Click on one of the categories below for information on where to direct your complaint.

Compensation Contractual Disputes Rectification of Defective Building Work
Boundaries (Fences, Encroachment) Criminal Matters (Fraud, Violence, Trespass) Environmental Matters (Noise, Pollution, Debris) Insurance Matters Matters currently at VCAT Planning Matters Worksite Safety and Asbestos

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Compensation - How do I seek compensation?

The VBA cannot award financial compensation or direct a building practitioner to provide financial compensation.

If you are seeking financial compensation from a building practitioner, licensed or unlicensed plumber or an adjoining owner, this is outside the jurisdiction of the VBA and you may wish to obtain legal advice and take civil action.

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Rectification of Defective Building Work

If you are seeking free advice and information to help you resolve a domestic building dispute you can contact the Building Information Line on 1300 55 75 59 between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

If you have a building dispute that you are unable to resolve yourself visit the Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) website at www.dbdrv.vic.gov.au to lodge an online application for dispute resolution.

DBDRV will be able to resolve building disputes without the cost and time often associated with courts and tribunals, and will have the power to issue legally binding dispute resolution orders and certificates.

From 26 April 2017, builders and owners will have to apply to resolve their domestic building dispute through DBDRV before applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

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Contractual Disputes

If you are seeking free advice and information to help you resolve a domestic building dispute you can contact the Building Information Line on 1300 55 75 59 between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

If you have a building dispute that you are unable to resolve yourself visit the Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) website at www.dbdrv.vic.gov.au to lodge an online application for dispute resolution.

DBDRV will be able to resolve building disputes without the cost and time often associated with courts and tribunals, and will have the power to issue legally binding dispute resolution orders and certificates.

From 26 April 2017, builders and owners will have to apply to resolve their domestic building dispute through DBDRV before applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

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Disputes currently at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

If you have a dispute with a building practitioner that is currently at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) the VBA will generally not make an assessment until the action at VCAT is finalised. This is because of the following:

  • The outcome of a dispute at VCAT may become relevant in the VBA's assessment of practitioner conduct
  • If the complaint is progressed to an investigation witness statements need to be taken at the conclusion of the dispute at VCAT to capture the totality of the complaint
  • VCAT outcomes often require parties to sign a confidentiality clause, which may preclude a complainant from providing the witness statement that would be necessary for a successful investigation
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Planning Matters

Where you have concerns regarding planning matters or building work that is subject to a planning permit, Council issues Planning Permits and complaints about planning matters should be directed to Council.

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Environmental Matters (Noise, Pollution, Debris)

Where you have concerns regarding environmental matters such as; noise from building work, hazards, traffic issues from building work or dust and rubbish, these may be regulated by Council by-laws and it is advised that you contact Council to discuss the avenues available to you.

You may also wish to seek advice from the Environment Protection Authority Victoria which is the environmental regulator. They can be contacted on 1300 372 842 or www.epa.vic.gov.au.

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Criminal Matters (Fraud, Violence, Trespass)

Where your concerns relate to criminal matters such as Fraud, Violence or Trespass it is advised that you contact the Victorian Police to discuss your avenues further.

While any matters of criminal activity are the jurisdiction of the Police, the VBA would consider any breaches of the law that the Police identify once a final determination has been made.

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Insurance Matters

If you have any queries or concerns regarding insurance matters, you should contact the insurer who has issued the Domestic Building Insurance (DBI) to the registered builder.

For your information, to be registered as a domestic builder, a builder must only provide the VBA with a letter of eligibility from their insurer. This is not evidence that the builder has taken out the requisite insurance. As a homeowner, if you engage a builder to provide you with more than $16,000 of domestic building work, then you will need to satisfy yourself that the builder has taken out a DBI insurance policy to cover that work.

DBI provides some protection to homeowners in the event that their building project cannot be completed or the building work is defective and cannot be rectified because the builder has:

  • died, disappeared or become insolvent; or
  • failed to comply with a Tribunal or Court Order where DBI was issued on or after 1 July 2015.

For further information as to the requirements which any DBI policy taken out by a domestic builder must meet, see DOMESTIC BUILDING INSURANCE MINISTERIAL ORDER (23 May 2003).

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Boundaries (Fences, Encroachment)

Where you are in dispute regarding the construction of a boundary fence or the common boundary fence has been removed and damage caused to your property it is advised that you contact the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria on 1300 372 888 or www.disputes.vic.gov.au to discuss the avenues available to you.

Where you believe that part or parts of the adjoining allotment encroach onto your property, this would be a civil dispute between yourself and your neighbour and it is advised that you seek legal advice as a solicitor would be better placed to advise you on the appropriate course of action required to recover any costs or damages.

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Worksite Safety and Asbestos

Where your concerns relate to matters such as an unsafe construction site, it is advised that you contact WorkSafe Victoria on 1800 136 089 or www.worksafe.vic.gov.au. Worksafe enforces Victoria's occupational health and safety laws, which includes maintaining building and construction workplaces in a safe and healthy condition.

Similarly, where your matter relates to concerns regarding asbestos it is also advised that you contact Worksafe Victoria to discuss them matter further. You might also find useful information at www.asbestos.vic.gov.au which has been made available by WorkSafe Victoria, the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and the Department of Health.

WorkSafe may also refer matters to the VBA at the conclusion of their enquiries, at which time the VBA may consider the outcome of a Worksafe investigation in relation to the conduct of a registered building practitioner.

Matters the VBA can assist with

The VBA investigates breaches and offences of building legislation, primarily the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2006. The conduct of registered or licensed building and plumbing practitioners is a primary focus of the VBA.

The VBA will have regard to the severity of a breach or offence, the complaint circumstances and building practitioner's response, as well as the history of a building practitioner when making a decision. Any decision made is entirely at the discretion of the VBA.

The VBA is unable to give timeframes to complainants as this will depend on the information that needs to be gathered. Sources of information include Council, the RBS, the subject(s) of the complaint and other parties. A full technical assessment generally takes six weeks but may take longer as a site visit may be required.