Complaints – How to lodge

Select the nature of your concern

Select the category that best describes the nature of your building concern

Inadequate safety features such as smoke alarms and fire exits
Protection for the adjoining property
Matters such as Overshadowing, Overlooking, Building height and Front fence height
Performance-related issues
Building work carried out without the required registration

Select the category that best describes the nature of your plumbing concern

Concerns such as roof leaks, leaking pipes or drainage issues
Concerns regarding the issuing or lodgement of a Compliance Certificate
Plumbing work carried out without the required license or registration

Select the category of a potential life safety issue

Issues such as fire safety, swimming pool safety and balustrade or balcony issues
Issues such as gas leaks, sewer spills and carbon monoxide

Non-compliant building work relates to work that contravenes the regulatory requirements of the Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations 2006. Examples of non-compliant building work include:

  • Building work that has not been constructed in accordance with the building permit
  • Inadequate safety features such as smoke alarms and fire exits; and
  • Construction materials that are not to the required strength or are a fire hazard.

Where your concerns relate to non-compliant building work, the VBA can assist with the following:

  • Substantiating non-compliance
  • Considering any actions required by the relevant building surveyor or municipal building surveyor in order to bring work into compliance; and
  • Assessing the roles of the relevant building practitioners in relation to non-compliant building work identified.

Ready to lodge your building complaint? Access the online complaints form via VBA360.

An owner who is proposing building work has obligations under the Building Act 1993 (the Act) to protect adjoining properties from potential damage from their building work.

If building work is close to, or adjacent to adjoining property boundaries, then an owner may be required to carry out protection work in respect of that adjoining property. This is to ensure that the adjoining property is not affected or damaged by the proposed building work. It includes, but is not limited to:

  • Underpinning of adjoining property footings, including vertical support, lateral support, protection against variation in earth pressures, ground anchors, and other means of support for the adjoining property
  • Shoring up of the adjoining property
  • Overhead protection for the adjoining property
  • Other work designed to maintain the stability of the adjoining property from damage from building work.

Where your concerns relate to protection work, the VBA can assist with your matter, which may result in the following:

  • An assessment as to whether protection work has been included in the Building Permit and if it is adequate
  • An assessment as to whether the proper process has been followed

The relevant building surveyor (RBS) makes a decision as to whether protection work is required, and may choose an exemption or alternate to protection works by accepting the certification of two engineers also known as Dual Certification.

Ready to lodge your building complaint? Access the online complaints form via VBA360.

The relevant building surveyor (RBS) should ensure that an application for a building permit provides sufficient information to determine that the application complies with the Regulations. Examples of matters that fall within this area include:

  • Minimum street setbacks
  • Building height
  • Side and rear setbacks
  • Front fence height
  • Overshadowing; and
  • Overlooking

Where your concerns relate to siting, the VBA can assist by:

  • Checking whether the Building Permit complies with the Building Regulations
  • Assessing building plans to ensure compliance with the Regulations
  • Assessing the as-built conditions to ensure compliance with the Building Permit; and
  • Assessing the conduct of a practitioner to determine if further investigation is required.

Please note: When there is a Planning Permit containing siting requirements, complaints should be directed to the Planning Department of the relevant Council.

Ready to lodge your building complaint? Access the online complaints form via VBA360.

A registered building practitioner must perform his or her work as a building practitioner in a competent manner and to a professional standard, in line with the regulatory requirements of the Building Act 1993 & Building Regulations 2006.

Where your concerns relate to the conduct of a practitioner, the VBA can:

  • Make an assessment on breaches and offences of the building legislation
  • Make a decision on the appropriate course of action to take.

Ready to lodge your building complaint? Access the online complaints form via VBA360.

You must be registered with the VBA in Victoria to:

  • Perform domestic building work that costs more than $10,000 (including labour and materials)
  • Carry out re-blocking, re-stumping or demolition work, remove a home, or carry out any building work that requires a permit, regardless of cost
  • Provide more than one type of building work (such as plastering and painting) that costs more than $10,000 (including labour and materials).

However, please note that there are different requirements for owner-builders.

Where your concerns relate to unregistered building work, the VBA can make an assessment on the appropriate course of action to take, if the complaint is substantiated.

Ready to lodge your building complaint? Access the online complaints form via VBA360.

Non-compliant/defective plumbing work relates to work that contravenes the regulatory requirements of the relevant plumbing standards, codes and regulations.

Where your concerns relate to non-compliant/defective work, the VBA can assist with the following:

  • Identifying the licensed plumber who carried out the work in question
  • Liaising with the licensed plumber to rectify substantiated non-compliant plumbing work and resolve the complaint;
  • Taking the necessary action required where a licensed plumber fails to respond.

Where rectification is required, you may choose to engage another plumber to complete the rectification work. If you wish to seek compensation for non-compliant/defective plumbing work through the initial plumber's insurer, you will need to obtain evidence that the installation was non-compliant by obtaining clear photographs and a detailed written report from the plumber who does the rectification.

Please note: The VBA holds no responsibility for the decision of the insurance company. Any disagreement will not be arbitrated by the VBA and may require you to seek a determination from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Ready to lodge your plumbing complaint? Access the online complaints form via VBA360.

A compliance certificate is issued by a licensed plumber to certify that the work they do complies with the relevant plumbing standards, codes and regulations.

In Victoria, compliance certificates must be issued upon completion of works that exceed $750 and for certain types of plumbing work, regardless of the total cost.

Your plumber must provide you with a signed compliance certificate within five days of the plumbing work being completed. Your plumber must also lodge details of the compliance certificate with the VBA within that timeframe.

Please note: Where work is incomplete, you will first need to send a written request for the compliance certificate to the licensed plumber and provide a copy to the VBA.

Where you have concerns regarding a compliance certificate, the VBA can assist by:

  • Liaising with the licensed plumber to obtain the compliance certificate
  • Taking the necessary enforcement action where required.

Ready to lodge your plumbing complaint? Access the online complaints form via VBA360.

A plumbing practitioner needs to be registered or licensed in each class of plumbing work that they intend to do. Victoria's Plumbing Regulations 2008 define eight main classes of plumbing work:

  1. Drainage
  2. Fire Protection
  3. Gasfitting
  4. Irrigation (Non-agricultural)
  5. Mechanical Service
  6. Roofing (Stormwater)
  7. Sanitary
  8. Water Supply

The VBA must have substantive evidence of the work carried out by the unlicensed/unregistered plumber in order to pursue the matter.

Where your concerns relate to unregistered or unlicensed plumbing work, the matter may be investigated by the VBA, particularly where the work was substantial or complex.

Ready to lodge your plumbing complaint? Access the online complaints form via VBA360.

If there is a potential life safety issue in relation to building work that requires urgent action, please call the relevant Council.

The Municipal Building Surveyor of the Council can:

  • Inspect urgent issues and stop works
  • Issue emergency orders; and
  • Take enforcement action.

Alternately, where you wish to lodge a complaint regarding the conduct of a practitioner in relation to a life safety issue, please contact the VBA. Examples of life safety issues within the VBA's jurisdiction include:

Fire safety issues

  • Non-compliance with fire safety requirements
  • Product used in a non-compliant application; or
  • Use of non-compliant products.

Bushfire assessment issues

  • Building work not in accordance with the Bushfire Assessment report.

Swimming pool safety issues

  • Swimming pool barrier or non-compliant swimming pool barrier; or
  • A lapsed swimming pool permit.

Protection work/site cut issues

  • Site cuts that compromise the safety of the adjoining property
  • Site cuts that have not been shored up with hoarding; or
  • Site cuts that have a significant depth (generally over 1 metre).

Balustrade or balcony issues

  • Non-compliance or defective construction of a balcony or balustrade.

Possible Wall Collapse

  • Unsafe or suspect walls that have the potential to collapse.

If there is a potential life safety issue in relation to plumbing work, please call the VBA on 1300 815 127 , as a more immediate response may be required.

If there is a life safety issue and/or urgent rectification is required, and you are unable to make contact with the VBA or the licensed plumber, you may choose to engage another plumber to complete the rectification work. If you wish to seek compensation for non-compliant plumbing work through the initial plumber's insurer, you will need to obtain evidence that the installation was non-compliant by obtaining clear photographs and a detailed written report from the plumber who does the rectification.

Please note: The VBA holds no responsibility for the decision of the insurance company. Any disagreement will not be arbitrated by the VBA and may require you to seek a determination from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Examples of life safety issues within the VBA's jurisdiction include:

  • Gas leaks
  • Sewer spills; and
  • Carbon monoxide.