Freedom of Information Act Part II Statement

The Victorian Building Authority (the VBA) is committed to making information easily accessible to the public.

The VBA releases a large amount of information through online and print publishing, social media platforms, information sessions and in-person.

We recommend referring to these sources before deciding if an application is needed under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (FOI Act). In many instances a formal application will not be required to access information.

Please call 1300 815 127 for more information.

Organisation and functions

The Victorian Building Authority was established in 2013. The VBA regulates building and plumbing practitioners to ensure the achievement of efficient and competitive building and plumbing industries in Victoria.

A board of commissioners is responsible for the governance and strategic management of the VBA and the Chief Executive Officer is responsible to the Board for day to day management. The VBA is accountable to the Minister for Planning. View the VBA’s Organisational Structure.

The VBA is created by the Building Act 1993 (Vic) (‘the Building Act’) and has powers and functions under other Acts. Under the Building Act the functions of the VBA are

  • to monitor and enforce compliance with the Building Act 1993 and the regulations
  • to administer the scheme under Part 11 for the registration of building practitioners
  • to supervise and monitor the conduct and ability to practise of registered building practitioners
  • to make recommendations to the Minister about the qualifications for registration of building practitioners
  • to issue certificates of consent
  • to administer the scheme under Part 12A for the licensing and registration of plumbers
  • to participate on behalf of Victoria in the development of national building standards and national plumbing standards
  • to monitor developments relevant to the regulation of building standards and plumbing standards in Victoria
  • to promote the maintenance of adequate levels of competence among plumbers
  • to provide information and advice (including to consumers) on matters relating to
    • building standards and plumbing standards
    • the regulation of buildings, building work and building practitioners
    • the regulation of plumbing work and plumbers
    • cladding rectification work
    • to monitor and provide financial assistance in relation to cladding rectification work
    • to provide information and training to assist persons and bodies in carrying out functions under this Act or the regulations
    • to promote the resolution of consumer complaints about work carried out by builders and plumbers
    • to conduct or promote research relating to the regulation of the building industry and the plumbing industry in Victoria and to report on the outcomes of this research in its report of operations under the Financial Management Act 1994 (Vic)
    • to collect the building permit levy
    • to charge and collect fees (determined in accordance with the Act and the regulations) for information and training services provided by the VBA
    • to administer the Victorian Building Authority Fund
    • to advise the Minister on the carrying out of the VBA's functions under the Act and on any other matter referred to it by the Minister
    • to carry out any other function conferred on the VBA by or under the Act or any other Act or under any agreement to which the State is a party.

The VBA works with other bodies that have roles under the Building Act 1993 including

  • Building Practitioners Board
  • Building Appeals Board
  • Building Regulations Advisory Committee
  • Plumbing Advisory Council

More information about the VBA’s functions and powers can be found in the Victorian legislation, including

  • Building Act 1993
  • Building Regulations 2018
  • Plumbing Regulations 2018
  • Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Vic)
  • Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (Vic)

You can also find out more about the VBA’s yearly activity in the VBA’s Annual Report.

Statement 2 – Categories of documents

In the course of its operations and functions, the Authority creates documents including

Document types

  • Policies and procedures
  • Correspondence
  • Briefings
  • Reports
  • Meeting minutes
  • Financial records
  • Personnel records
  • Contracts
  • Registers

Document categories

  • Administrative
  • Operational
  • Financial
  • Personnel
  • Policy
  • Legal
  • Publications
  • Registers

Statement 3 – FOI arrangements

Before you make a request

We encourage you to check if the information or documents you seek are already publicly available, such as on the VBA website or via DataVic Access.

Where you cannot find the information or documents you are seeking, you should contact the VBA and ask if the information or documents are available or can be provided to you. In some circumstances, consumers, plumbers and building practitioners may be given information without having to make a formal request for access to documents under the FOI Act.

If you are seeking your own personal information, you have a right to that information, subject to some exceptions, under the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and can ask for information to be provided on this basis. You should approach the relevant section of the VBA that holds that information.

How to make a request

Visit Freedom of Information for more information on FOI applications.

FOI requests must be made in writing and be accompanied by the relevant application fee (which is $29.60 as of 1 July 2019). FOI applications to the VBA can be addressed to:

Freedom of Information Officer 
Victorian Building Authority
PO Box 536 
Melbourne Vic 3001.

Or by email to: foi@vba.vic.gov.au

Once a request is received, the VBA will acknowledge receipt of your request. The VBA may need to consult with you to clarify your application, particularly about the scope or type of documents you have requested. Once the application is valid, the VBA will begin to process the request in accordance with the FOI Act and the processing timeframe starts running.

Timeframes for processing

The timeframe for processing FOI applications can vary, depending on the documents requested. Broadly, the timeframes are as follows

From date the application is received

If invalid - 21 days to notify applicant

Once valid - 30 days to make the decision

If third party consultation is necessary – can add up to 15 days to the original 30-day decision timeframe

With the applicant’s consent – can extend in blocks of up to 30 days, as needed

An application is paused, once valid, if

  • It would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency and inviting the applicant to consult (time starts running the day after the applicant confirms a revised or altered request); and/or
  • The VBA requires payment of an access charges deposit, when the applicant is notified about payment, until paid

A timeframe is varied, where

  • The VBA and applicant agree to reducing an access charge, in exchange for the applicant waiving compliance with the 30-day timeframe to process the request

You can ask for details about the process by calling the FOI Officer on 1300 815 127, or emailing foi@vba.vic.gov.au.

Statement 4 – Publications

The VBA publishes a range of documents and these are made available free of charge via our website. The VBA also provides a facility on its website for the public to obtain statistics on the building permit system and building data in general, through DataVic Access.

The categories of information which are available from the various sections of the VBA website include

  • Role of the VBA
  • Newsletters – through a subscription to VBA Mail
  • Practice Notes
  • General Information
  • Legislative Publications
  • Practitioner/Industry updates
  • Register of current practitioners (plumbing and building practitioners)

The VBA also publishes information which is regularly sought by the public, such as information about:

  • Bushfires
  • Swimming pools and spas
  • Protection works
  • Termites
  • Insurance
  • Contracts

The VBA website has a dedicated resources pages, which publishes various information for consumers and building and plumbing practitioners.

The VBA also publishes data including:

  • Building Permit Activity summaries
  • Building Permit Activity data
  • VBA five-year metrics
  • Security of Payment Adjudication Activity Statistics
  • VBA Financial Statements

This information can be found on the data page.

The VBA website also contains the VBA Annual Reports. The annual reports for the VBA’s predecessors, the Building Commission and Plumbing Industry Commission are available from the Victorian Government Library Service.

Statement 5 – Rules, policies and procedures

The VBA receives enquiries and complaints regarding the professional conduct of plumbing and building practitioners. Details about the processes are made available on the complaints process page.

Some of the VBA’s work is guided by policies. Policies and procedures published on the VBA’s website include:

  • Compliance and Enforcement Policy
  • Enterprise Risk Management policy
  • Purchase Order Terms and Conditions
  • Protected disclosure procedures
  • VBA Regulatory Approach
  • VBA Service Charter
  • Sponsorship policy

Various plumbing and building related forms prescribed by regulation or approved by the VBA are made available for download on the VBA website.

The VBA website provides access to the Minister’s Statement of Expectations.

Forms and information relating to the jurisdiction of the Building Appeals Board are made available on the Building Appeals Board website.

Statement 6 – Report literature

The VBA produces an annual report tabled each year in parliament and available online. Additional information that is available upon request includes details of major research and development activities undertaken by the VBA and information relating to expenditure. This information is detailed in the appendices to the annual report.

Information relating to the VBA's predecessor agencies – the Building Commission and the Plumbing Industry Commission, can be found in prior annual reports produced by those agencies and are available from the Victorian Government Library Service.