This page contains details about the 2017 changes to the Building Act that may directly or indirectly affect you as a building practitioner.
Changes effective from 16 August 2017
Emergency Orders, Building Notices & Building Orders
There are 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), in addition to new regulations compelling practitioners to maintain exits and safety and emergency services with a view to increased public safety.
Directions to Fix Notices
Include increased penalties for builders for non-compliance when issued with a direction to fix notice.
Changes effective from 1 August 2017
A domestic builder who is solely engaged in the business of carrying out domestic building work, or a draftsperson who is solely engaged in preparing plans or preparing documents for permits for domestic building work, is only required to be registered if they carry out work costing greater than $10,000 in each case.
The previous threshold was $5,000. Practitioners still need to be registered to carry out re-blocking, re-stumping or demolishing of homes regardless of cost.
Changes effective from 1 July 2017
Scopes of work
The 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.
Domestic Builder (Manager) has been removed as a class of building practitioner. The class of Project Manager (Domestic) has been added.
Working while unregistered
Practitioners undertaking domestic building work can no longer rely on a registration in another category or class as a defence against the offence of undertaking work while unregistered.
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.
Building on your own land
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.
Changes effective from 24 May 2017
From 24 May 2017, the amended Building Act 1993 creates new offences under proposed section 16B of the Act, namely that:
- A person who is in the business of building must not carry out building work for which a building permit is required if the person knows that a building permit is required to carry out that work and a building permit to carry out that work is not in force; and
- A person who is in the business of building must not carry out building work if the person knows that 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.
Read the VBA's Prosecution Policy to learn more about the VBA's operational approach to the prosecution of offences.
New liabilities for people in a partnership engaged in building work
From 24 May 2017, 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.
Registration of companies as building practitioners
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 and the VBA will provide further advice before any action is required.