This page contains details about the 2016 changes that may directly or indirectly affect you as a building surveyor.
Changes effective from 1 September 2016
Abolition of the Building Practitioners Board
From 1 September 2016 the Building Practitioners Board will be abolished and its functions and powers will be transferred to the Victorian Building Authority.
Five-year registration period
Practitioners registered from 1 September 2016 will be registered for a period of five years. Practitioners who were registered prior to 1 September 2016 will be required to transition to the new five-year registration period by re-applying for registration. This transition will occur over a number of years and the VBA will advise practitioners ahead of time when they are due to re-apply for registration.
Continuing professional development
Over time a requirement for continuing professional development will be introduced.
Fit and proper person test
The new ‘fit and proper person’ test will be applied to all registration and re-registration applications received from 1 September 2016.
Conditions on registrations
From 1 September 2016 the VBA will have the power to impose conditions on registrations.
Surrender of registration
Practitioners will be able to surrender their registration when they exit the industry, from 1 September 2016.
New disciplinary process
The changes effective 1 September 2016 introduce new grounds for disciplinary action and a new process for conducting disciplinary proceedings.
New disciplinary action
From 1 September 2016, new types of disciplinary action may be taken against practitioners, including suspension of registration pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.
The VBA may accept undertakings from practitioners to do, or not do, specified things in relation to a show cause notice within a specified timeframe.
Practitioners will have the opportunity to apply for internal review of reviewable decisions via the VBA internal review process.
Builders may not appoint private building surveyors
From 1 September 2016 it will be an offence for a builder to appoint a private building surveyor in respect of domestic building work. It will also be an offence for a private building surveyor to accept such an appointment offered by a builder.
Certificates of consent for owner-builders
A range of updates affecting certificates of consent for owner-builders will come into effect on 1 September 2016. Certificates will expire 12 months from when they are issued if they are not used to obtain a building permit.
Before issuing a building permit, building surveyors should check that an owner-builder's certificate of consent has not expired.
Building practitioner codes of conduct
From 1 September 2016, the VBA can approve codes of conduct for different categories or classes of building practitioners.
Capacity to practise
If a practitioner becomes incapable of practising due to mental or physical infirmity the VBA may, after a formal show cause process, suspend or cancel a practitioner's license if required.
Changes effective as of 4 July 2016
Offences and penalties for carrying out building work without a building permit
From 4 July 2016, the offences of undertaking building work without a building permit, and undertaking building work outside the boundaries of the Act, Building Regulations 2006 or permit, will be updated.
Powers of VBA inspectors to inspect owner-builder projects and documentation
From 4 July 2016, the VBA's inspection powers will be extended to include owner-built sites. The powers include:
- entering land and/or dwellings under certain circumstances to examine work for compliance
- requiring a person (including an owner-builder) to produce certain documents on request
- making copies of documents
- requiring a person (including an owner-builder) to provide certain information on request.
VBA inspectors will continue to proactively audit building work carried out by building practitioners, and associated documentation. It is important to ensure building work is being done in compliance with the law and the building permit, and that documentation is in place.
When a private building surveyor may not act
From 4 July 2016, the rules relating to when a private building surveyor (PBS) may not act will be expanded, for example to include a general requirement not to act where there is a conflict of interest.
The changes also extend to cover conflicts of interest of "related persons".
A conflict of interest can be anything that could prevent the PBS from carrying out their functions in an independent way, for example if the outcome of a decision could result in financial gain for the PBS or an immediate family member.
Certified checklist when lodging documents with the relevant council
From 4 July 2016, relevant building surveyors (RBS) are required to use a VBA-approved checklist to certify that:
- required documents have been given to the relevant council, and
- the required lodgment fee has been paid.
You can start using the new checklist at any time, but after 4 July 2016 it must be used when documents are lodged. It is an offence not to.
Threshold amount for domestic building work not carried out under domestic building contract
From 4 July 2016, the prescribed amount of the cost of work for domestic building work not carried out under a domestic building contract increases from $12,000 to $16,000.
Directions to fix building work
From 4 July 2016, if you do not comply with a written direction it is an offence. Building surveyors are required to notify the owner and the VBA in writing if a builder doesn't comply with a written direction.
VBA directions and recommendations in relation to building surveyors
Section 205M of the Building Act has been updated. From 4 July, the VBA must give a building surveyor at least 14 days to respond to a notice of intention to issue a direction or recommendation on the building surveyor.
The changes also allow the VBA to give the building surveyor a shorter response period in the case of an emergency.