Building Activity Management System

Building permit number and levy changes from 1 July 2019

In 2016, the Victorian Government commenced a three-year building industry reforms program. As part of this program, amendments to the Building Act 1993 will commence on 1 July 2019 through the Building Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Act 2017.

These amendments will address:

  • difficulties in determining whether all building permit levy due has been remitted to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA)
  • concerns that some building surveyors are retaining the building permit levy for working capital, contributing to shortfalls in total levy received by the VBA; and
  • delays in the provision of information required by the regulator due to the current monthly reporting system used by building surveyors.

On 1 July 2019, the way in which the building permit levy is paid to the VBA will change, reducing some of the regulatory burden on building surveyors.

Building surveyors will also be required to obtain a building permit number from the VBA before issuing a building permit. It is important to note that building surveyors will be required to provide the VBA with certain information when applying for a building permit number, as well as monthly reports and information relating to prescribed events.

A summary of all reforms commencing on 1 July 2019 can be found in the Building Industry Reforms section of our website.

Implementation of the Building Activity Management System (BAMS)

To assist in the implementation of some of these reforms, the VBA is developing an online system – known as the Building Activity Management System, or BAMS – to issue building permit numbers and receive payment of the building permit levy.

The VBA has engaged with representatives from industry (including the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group, Master Builders Association of Victoria and Housing Industry Association), the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority, building surveyor software vendors and selected municipal and private building surveyors to understand system requirements and inform the development of BAMS. These groups have provided valuable input into the design of BAMS.

High-level process changes from 1 July 2019

The existing building permit process

Flowchart of the old building permit process. Click for text-only version.

The new BAMS process

Flowchart of the new BAMS process. Click for text-only version.

  1. The relevant building surveyor must apply to the VBA through BAMS for a building permit number for a proposed building permit. They must provide:
    1. all information required by the VBA for a building permit number application;
    2. the cost of the proposed building work estimated; and
    3. an estimate of the amount of building permit levy payable.
  2. The applicant for a building permit, or person acting on their behalf, must pay the VBA the amount of building permit levy calculated before a building permit is issued. BAMS can send an email to the nominated person directing them to make payment through a secure payment gateway.
  3. A building permit number will only be issued by the VBA (via BAMS) to the relevant building surveyor after the levy payment has been received by the VBA from the nominated payer. The VBA will issue (or refuse to issue) a building permit number within five business days.
  4. The VBA will notify the relevant council of the building permit number and the information supplied to the VBA by the relevant building surveyor in relation to the application for the building permit number.
  5. The relevant building surveyor must notify the VBA of prescribed events that relate to a building permit via the BAMS portal.

How BAMS will impact you

Please note: We will provide you with more detailed information relating to the process and how it will impact you as we work through the development of BAMS.

Industry group High-level impacts relating to BAMS
Building surveyors 
  • Relevant building surveyors (RBS) will no longer determine building permit numbers (BPN) or send through levy payments in a monthly levy return.
  • There will be two options for supplying information to the VBA via the BAMS portal – an individual application or bulk upload of applications. The method chosen depends on the volume of transactions and software used.
  • The RBS will need to ensure that the applicant or agent acting on their behalf is aware that they will receive an email notification requesting them to pay the building permit levy via a secure payment gateway, and that their building permit will not be issued until the BPN has been received by the RBS from the VBA.
  • Payment can be made via BPAY or credit card. Cheques will no longer be accepted, due to processing times delaying the issuance of a BPN.
  • The RBS will need to notify the VBA of prescribed events relating to the building permit through the BAMS portal.
  • The RBS will be required to notify the Commissioner of State Revenue in certain circumstances where the estimated cost of building work carried out under a building permit increases.
  • Builders need to provide the applicant with all information required to ensure the correct information is provided to the RBS.
  • Builders need to be aware that the RBS is not allowed to issue a building permit until payment of the building permit levy has been made to the VBA and the RBS has received the BPN from the VBA.
  • The RBS will inform the applicant or their agent that they need to pay the building permit levy directly to the VBA before the BPN and subsequent building permit can be issued.
  • The speed at which a building permit is issued (and work can begin) depends on whether the applicant or agent pays the permit levy in a timely manner.
Property owner or agent 
  • A RBS may ask the applicant for a building permit (or their nominated agent) to make payments directly to the VBA instead of to the building surveyor.
  • The applicant will need to understand the importance of paying promptly, so there is no unnecessary delay in the VBA issuing a BPN and, in turn, no unnecessary delay in the building surveyor issuing a building permit.
  • The property owner is required to notify the VBA of any variation to the building work following the issue of a building permit, if that variation has resulted in an increase to the estimated cost of works of $15,625 or more.
  • The VBA may require the owner to pay an additional building permit levy amount when it has been notified or become aware of an increase in the cost of building work.

Working with the industryBlue man

To ensure that BAMS is fit for purpose, the project team has been engaging with building surveyor software vendors and selected municipal and private building surveyors to understand system requirements and incorporate feedback into the design where possible.

The BAMS project team have commenced development of the system and will be ready to undertake internal testing by late March. Once internal testing is complete, further development will be completed and end-to-end testing with software vendors and a reference group of building surveyors will occur to ensure that BAMS is ready to launch on 1 July 2019.

More information

The VBA is committed to communicating regularly with building surveyors, software providers and industry partners over the coming months to ensure that the industry is ready to comply with the new legislative requirements commencing on 1 July 2019. As the design of BAMS is finalised, the VBA will provide industry with more detailed information on the system and application process.

Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for general information about the Building Activity Management System.

More information on the 2019 building industry reforms can be found on our website.