Company Registration FAQs

Most asked questions

The VBA has said my company will not be automatically registered. Why?

Information available to the VBA indicates that you are a registered Domestic Builder and operate under a company name. However, this does not mean you are eligible for automatic registration. To be eligible for automatic registration:

  1. The company must have carried out work under a major domestic building contract since 1 July 2017. The company must be named as the builder on the contract. If you have only carried out work in your individual name over the last year, or your company didn’t carry out work under a major domestic building contract in the last year, your company does not qualify to be automatically registered.
  2. The VBA has evidence that the company held a certificate of eligibility to hold the required insurance for domestic building work.
  3. At least one director of the company must have a current (active) registration as a building practitioner.

The VBA says my company is not eligible to opt in. I’ve checked the eligibility criteria and I believe my company is eligible. What can I do?

The VBA acknowledges that there may be gaps in the data used to determine a company’s eligibility for automatic registration. If you think you meet the eligibility criteria, please send the VBA the following information:

  • the category/class of building practitioner registration you hold.
  • a copy of your Letter of Eligibility or Certificate of Insurance in the name of the company
  • a copy of a building permit for domestic building work OR a contract for major domestic building work which clearly shows the name of the company relating to work carried out after 1 July 2017.

You can email the information to: companyreg@vba.vic.gov.au or send it to the VBA in the mail using the VBA’s address on the letter.

I am a Domestic Builder. Can’t I opt in?

Legislation states that the option to opt in to company registration is only available to practitioners in a class other than Domestic Builder. This means we can’t accept requests to opt in from registered domestic builders. If you are a domestic builder and your company is not eligible for automatic registration, you will have to apply for company registration using the application form, which will be available on the VBA website during the month of May.

I am a sole trader (operating under an ABN). Do I need be registered as a company?

No, these changes do not affect sole traders. You do not need to do anything. You can continue to carry out work as usual

When will the application for registration form be available?

We hope to have the application available on the website during the month of May. To apply, go to the company registrations page of the website, download the form to your computer, fill it in and return it to the address provided on the form and website.

My business operates as a partnership. Do I need to register the partnership.?

No, partnerships cannot be registered, and do not need to be registered. If you are a registered building practitioner operating under a partnership, you can continue to work as usual.

Does my company have to be registered?

Yes, if after 1 July 2018 if you want to enter into a major domestic building contract in your company’s name, or you want your company to be named as the builder on a building permit for non-domestic work costing greater than $10,000.

However, you can enter into contracts or permits using your individual name – if you only intend to do this, you do not need to register your company as long as you are a registered building practitioner and there is a certificate of eligibility for the appropriate insurance in your individual name.

Automatic Registration and opting in and out

The VBA has said my company will not be automatically registered. Why?

Information available to the VBA indicates that you are a registered Domestic Builder and operate under a company name. However, this does not mean you are eligible for automatic registration. To be eligible for automatic registration:

  1. The company must have carried out work under a major domestic building contract since 1 July 2017. The company must be named as the builder on the contract. If you have only carried out work in your individual name over the last year, or your company didn’t carry out work under a major domestic building contract in the last year, your company does not qualify to be automatically registered.
  2. The VBA has evidence that the company held a certificate of eligibility to hold the required insurance for domestic building work.
  3. At least one director of the company must have a current (active) registration as a building practitioner.

The VBA says my company is not eligible to opt in. I’ve checked the eligibility criteria and I believe my company is eligible. What can I do?

The VBA acknowledges that there may be gaps in the data used to determine a company’s eligibility for automatic registration. If you think you meet the eligibility criteria, please send the VBA the following information:

  • the category/class of building practitioner registration you hold.
  • a copy of your Letter of Eligibility or Certificate of Insurance in the name of the company
  • a copy of a building permit for domestic building work OR a contract for major domestic building work which clearly shows the name of the company relating to work carried out after 1 July 2017.

You can email the information to: companyreg@vba.vic.gov.au or send it to the VBA in the mail using the VBA’s address on the letter.

I am a Domestic Builder. Can’t I opt in?

Legislation states that the option to opt in to company registration is only available to practitioners in a class other than Domestic Builder. This means we can’t accept requests to opt in from registered domestic builders. If you are a domestic builder and your company is not eligible for automatic registration, you will have to apply for company registration using the application form, which will be available on the VBA website during the month of May.

Who is a registered domestic builder?

A registered domestic builder is a builder who has been registered by the VBA in one of the following classes of builder: Domestic Builder (Unlimited), Domestic Builder (Limited to….) or Domestic Builder (Manager).

I am a Domestic Builder (Manager). Will my company be automatically registered?

Yes, as long as your company meets the other criteria for automatic registration. However, your company will only remain registered until 30 June 2022, which is when the class of Domestic Builder (Manager) ceases to exist. If, after 1 July 2018, you are granted registration in another class, you will need to apply for company registration in the new class.

Is there a due date to opt in or out?

You must notify the VBA of your company’s decision to opt in or opt out before 1 June 2018.

Can a company opt in after 1 July 2018?

No. After 1 July 2018, the option to opt in will no longer exist. From then on, if you want to register a company you will need to complete an application for Registration of a Company and pay the application fee.

Can a company opt out after 1 July 2018?

No. After 1 July 2018, the option to opt out will no longer exist. After that date, if a company no longer requires registration its directors will need to complete a Request to Surrender Registration.

Can I change my mind about opting a company in or out?

Before 1 June 2018, if a company opted in or out but the nominee directors wish to reverse the decision, they will be able to do so by sending a written request to the VBA.

Will companies need to undergo a fit and proper person test and insurance check before they are automatically registered?

Prior to automatic registration, the VBA may decide that a company or a director is not a fit and proper person for registration. The VBA may make checks to ensure a company and its directors meet personal and financial probity (integrity) requirements.

Applications for registration as a company outside of the opt in or opt out process will be treated in the same way as for other practitioners. All registered practitioners have to declare they have not committed any offences or breaches prescribed in the Building Regulations 2018, answer questions about their personal and financial integrity and complete a Police check as part of the five-year registration renewal process.

What happens if a company doesn’t meet one of the conditions to be automatically registered or opt in?

A company will only be automatically registered if it meets all of the criteria for automatic registration. If your company is not automatically registered, you will need to complete a full application for registration.

Will a company be automatically registered if one of the directors is under investigation as a building practitioner?

The company will still be automatically registered. If the investigation results in disciplinary action that affects a director’s status as a fit and proper person, the company’s registration may be affected. That is because for the company to remain registered, its directors must maintain personal and financial integrity and must not be excluded from registration. The grounds for exclusion are listed in section 7 of the Building Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Act 2017 (the BAEOMA) (the BAEOMA inserts new provisions into the Building Act 1993 which will commence on 1 July 2018, including new section 171F listing the grounds for exclusion from registration).

Will a company be automatically registered if one of its registered practitioner directors has been suspended?

The company will qualify for automatic registration where it has at least one director holding a current registration. Where a practitioner is suspended, the practitioner is taken not to be registered. The suspended director therefore will not meet the eligibility criteria to enable their company to be automatically registered.

The company will be registered if it has other directors that are registered practitioners and meets the remaining eligibility criteria. Any suspended registered practitioner director will not be recorded as a nominee director as they do not hold a current registration.

If my company is not automatically registered, or I choose to opt out, what happens to my existing contracts?

If your company is not registered but is engaged in a major domestic building contract entered into before 1 July 2018, the company may continue to carry out the work as long as one of its directors is registered to carry out that type of work.

Your company will not be able to enter into any new major domestic building contracts after 1 July 2018 if you opt out of automatic registration.

I am a registered as a Domestic Builder (Unlimited) and a Commercial Builder (Unlimited). Will I be automatically registered in both?

No. Automatic registration only applies to the three classes of Domestic Builder – Domestic Builder (Unlimited), Domestic Builder (Limited) and Domestic Builder (Manager). If you want your company to be named as the builder on a building permit for commercial building work you can opt your company in to registration as a Commercial Builder (Unlimited), providing one of the directors holds a current registration as a Commercial Builder (Unlimited).

Registration after 1 July 2018

When will the application for registration form be available?

We hope to have the application available on the website during the month of May. To apply, go to the company registrations page of the website, download the form to your computer, fill it in and return it to the address provided on the form and website.

Does my company have to be registered?

Yes, if after 1 July 2018 if you want to enter into a major domestic building contract in your company’s name, or you want your company to be named as the builder on a building permit for non-domestic work costing greater than $10,000.

However, you can enter into contracts or permits using your individual name – if you only intend to do this, you do not need to register your company as long as you are a registered building practitioner and there is a certificate of eligibility for the appropriate insurance in your individual name.

Can a sole trader operating under an ABN be registered as a corporate building practitioner?

No. Only a business that is registered as a company by ASIC can register as a corporate building practitioner. If you are a sole trader you can still enter a major domestic building contract as an individual if you are registered as an individual building practitioner in the class of building required by the contract.

Is a partnership the same as a company when it comes to registration?

No. There is no capacity for a partnership to be registered. However, from 1 July 2018, if an applicant for registration carries on business or intends to carry on business as a building practitioner as a member of a partnership, then each member of the partnership (whether registered as a building practitioner or not) will need to satisfy the personal and financial probity requirements of registration.

Can a company be registered in more than one class?

Yes, a company can be registered in any or all classes of registration that are held by its directors. However, a company cannot be registered in a class if none of its directors have a registration in that class. For instance, if a company has two directors, one who is a registered Domestic Builder (Unlimited) and the other who is a Commercial Builder (Unlimited), the company can be registered as a Domestic Builder (Unlimited) and a Commercial Builder (Unlimited), but it cannot be registered as a Building Surveyor (Unlimited).

What checks does the VBA make to decide whether to register a company?

To determine whether it will grant registration to a company, the VBA will complete a ‘personal and financial probity check’ on all directors to ensure the applicant is conducting its business with honesty and integrity. The VBA will also make sure the company is eligible for the appropriate insurance.

How does the VBA determine whether a company meets the Personal and Financial Probity Check?

The VBA considers a range of relevant matters in assessing whether an applicant for registration meets the Personal and Financial Probity Check, including (but not limited to):

  • any disciplinary or legal action taken against the applicant by the VBA, the Building Practitioners Board, another regulatory body or person
  • whether the applicant has provided any false and misleading information in support of an application for registration
  • any notifications received from the applicant’s insurer that the applicant has previously been refused insurance as a building practitioner
  • any unsatisfactory reference check
  • any physical or mental infirmity that may affect the applicant’s ability to practice as a building practitioner
  • any adverse matter disclosed by the applicant, for example, having been convicted or found guilty of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty
  • a failure to disclose an adverse matter described above that later becomes known to the VBA before an application for registration is finalised.

The VBA must determine whether the company as a whole is fit and proper for registration by considering every director (including non-nominee directors).

Will the company undergo skills and knowledge testing to be registered?

The company’s collective knowledge, skills and experience will not be tested. As the nominee directors are already registered builders, the VBA will take the knowledge of the nominee directors as satisfying the knowledge, skills and experience required to be registered.

Does the company have to pay an annual fee?

Yes. The company will have to pay an annual fee.

For new applications, the annual fee will be included in the application fee. Each individual building practitioner who is a director of, or employed by, the company will still have to pay their individual annual fee.

If the company is automatically registered, its annual fee and insurance check due date will be the same as its nominee director’s due date. If there is more than one nominee director, the due date will be the same as whichever nominee director’s due date occurs first after 1 July 2018. If the company was registered after 1 July 2018, the annual fee and insurance check will be due on the anniversary of the company being granted registration.

What if an application for company registration is refused?

From 1 July 2018, the company will not be able to enter into a major domestic building contract or be named as the builder on a building permit for non-domestic building work over $10,000.

If your application for registration is rejected, you will be advised of your appeal rights.

The VBA will inform you of the reasons behind a rejected application.

Can an interstate company become a registered building practitioner in Victoria?

Yes, a company that is based interstate can be registered if they have at least one director who is registered as a building practitioner in Victoria. The process for application will be the same as the process for a Victorian company.

Nominee Directors and Directors

What is a nominee director?

A nominee director is a director of a registered company who is registered as a building practitioner. There may be more than one nominee director. A company can enter into a major domestic building contract to carry out work in the same class of building practitioner as its nominee directors Nominee directors must ensure the company complies with the Building Act 1993 and any regulations made under the Act.

What happens to the company registration if a nominee director changes their registration to another class of building practitioner?

A company can enter into a major domestic building contract to carry out work in the same class of building practitioner as its nominee directors. That means if there is only one nominee director and they change their registration to a different class of building practitioner; the company can only enter a contract for work that can be carried out by a practitioner registered in the new class of building practitioner. They can no longer enter a contract for work covered by the original class of building practitioner. However, if there are additional directors who continue to be registered in the original class, the company can still enter and carry out work under a contract for work authorised by that class.

What if one of the nominee directors has contravened the Act?

The VBA is required to consider the financial and personal probity of the directors of a registered company. Certain outcomes of disciplinary action, including the cancellation of a registration, cause a person to become an ‘excluded person’ as per section 171F of the Act (the BAEOMA inserts new provisions into the Building Act 1993 which will commence on 1 July 2018, including new section 171F listing the grounds for exclusion from registration).

A company is not allowed to have an excluded person as a director.

What if one of the directors leaves the company?

If a company’s sole nominee director resigns as director, dies, is removed as a director or is disqualified from being a director under part 2D.6 of the Corporations Act, the company has 30 days to appoint a new nominee director or its registration will be suspended. The VBA may approve a longer period on receipt of a written request. The company can continue to operate as a registered practitioner during this grace period.

If there is a nominee director who is a registered building practitioner remaining, the company can enter a contract in the same class as the remaining nominee director. A company must have at least one nominee director to be registered. It is an offence to say or infer that a company is registered if it is not.

Are non-nominee directors subject to personal and financial probity checks?

Yes. The VBA must be confident that all directors of the company, whether they are nominee directors or not, are fit and proper persons for registration. Directors (both nominee and non-nominee) must advise the VBA if a director has acted in a way that could mean they may no longer be considered a fit and proper person for registration.

What if one of the directors becomes suspended?

If a nominee director’s individual registration is suspended due to failure to provide proof of insurance and they are the only nominee director of the company, they will have 30 days to have the suspension of their registration revoked by meeting the requirements.

After that time, the company will not be able to enter into a major domestic building contract. If there is more than one nominee director, the company can continue to enter building contracts in the same class as the remaining nominee director.

If the only nominee director is suspended due to disciplinary action, the company will be unable to enter into new major domestic building contracts.