Building Activity Management System

Learn the basics of BAMS

With the launch of BAMS just a few days away, the VBA has developed an online learning module to help building surveyors and their administration staff learn the basics of BAMS.

Take the short course now to make sure you are ready to use BAMS on 1 July.

We’ve also prepared a BAMS user guide for building surveyors. It’s a valuable how-to manual for using the new online system.

Building permit number, levy and reporting changes from 1 July 2019

Important changes are being introduced to Victoria's building permit and levy laws from 1 July 2019. These changes affect the Building Act 1993 (the Act) and the Building Regulations 2018 (the Regulations).

From 1 July:

  • the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) must issue a building permit number before a relevant building surveyor can issue a building permit
  • owners have a new duty to notify the VBA of revised final costs of work
  • the VBA will have new powers to re-assess a levy after issuance of a building permit; and
  • revised mandatory monthly reporting duties will apply under regulation 47 of the Regulations and repeal of regulation 46 (monthly levy reporting) of the Regulations.

To assist in the implementation of these reforms, the VBA is developing an online platform, known as the Building Activity Management System (BAMS). This platform will:

  • accept applications for building permit numbers (BPNs)
  • process levy payments
  • issue BPNs
  • accept mandatory monthly reports from relevant building surveyors; and
  • accept amendments to BPN records and building permit details.

Requesting a building permit number from 1 July 2019

Under section 18AA of the Act, a RBS must give the VBA the information needed to start the BPN application process. Once the VBA has received all information and payment of the levy, the VBA has five days to issue or refuse to issue a BPN.

Building surveyors will need all required information before applying for a BPN. There are 34 required fields and, depending on your answers to the required fields, you may need to provide up to 19 ‘conditionally required’ fields. For example, if you have advised us that someone else will pay the levy, details about the nominated payer are considered ‘conditionally required’.

Individual BPN applications will be submitted through BAMS via a single online portal, while multiple applications will be made in bulk through a CSV file upload. After the levy payment has been made (via credit card, debit card or BPAY), the RBS will be notified of all issued BPNs via email. The RBS can then issue the building permit to the applicant.

Management of staged building permits within BAMS

For staged building permits, you will be required to apply for a BPN for each stage. BAMS allows building surveyors to input their own Project ID/ Name during the BPN application process. This Project ID/Name field will be used for all stages for the one project and acts as the identifier to group the staged permits.

Updating information after the building permit has been issued

Building surveyors are required to ensure the building permit is up to date by providing the VBA with information following the issuance of the building permit. This information has been categorised into prescribed events and amendments.

Updating the building permit number record and notification of amendments to a building permit’s details

Building surveyors are required to ensure the BPN record is up to date by providing the VBA with information following the issuance of a building permit.

The BPN record should be updated whenever there are new details that relate to a BPN application, corrections to existing data are supplied, or when there have been amendments to a building permit's details.

Updates can be done at any time, and will be done through the online portal or an uploaded CSV file. An example of this is where there has been a change of builder or owner.

If you submit updates via the bulk upload process, you will use the same CSV file template as the BPN application.

Reporting prescribed events relating to building work (regulation 47)

Over the course of construction, an RBS is required to report to the VBA ‘prescribed events’ under regulation 47 of the Building Regulations 2018.

A RBS will need to report up to 22 prescribed events, depending on the type of building work. Examples of a prescribed event include:

  • issuance of a building permit
  • final inspection; and
  • mandatory notifications, such as completion of framework.

These must be reported to the VBA by the seventh of the following month after the event occurred. If you submit prescribed events via the bulk upload process, this is done using a different CSV file template to BPN applications/updates.

The first prescribed event that is reportable to the VBA is the issuance of a building permit. At this stage of the process, the RBS is expected to complete two activities:

  1. Notify the VBA of the issuance of a building permit.
  2. Update the BPN record by providing any outstanding optional and/or conditional fields that were not provided with the BPN application. This information will be provided using the update/amend process.

Information to be provided to the VBA

Description Data required Data file template if using the bulk upload process

Request a BPN

Request single or multiple BPNs

34 required fields

19 conditionally required

CSV file (BPN data file)

Update or amend a BPN record, add new information or correct a BPN record where there are amendments to a building permit’s details.

13 required fields

6 fields conditionally required

24 optional fields

CSV file (BPN data file)
Report prescribed events. Required by the seventh of the following month after the event occurred.

22 events

4 required fields

8 conditionally required

CSV file (Prescribed Events data file)

Advising the VBA of the final cost of work (205KA)

Variations to the building work during the life of a permit are likely to result in the cost of work increasing or decreasing from the amount initially estimated, which may increase the amount of levy the VBA is entitled to collect.

  • Once a building permit is issued, the owner must monitor the cost of work and maintain records of the cost of work.
  • This duty will fall to the owner or the applicant for the building permit (if the variation related to an amendment of a building permit).
  • Notification is required within 28 days of becoming aware of the revised final cost.
  • Where the owner or applicant fails to notify the VBA of a variation to building work, or where false or misleading information relating to the cost of building works has been provided, a penalty levy may apply.

Preparing for changes commencing on 1 July

  • BAMS works best in Chrome or Firefox. Please consider installing either of these browsers in advance.
  • Consider which application method will suit your business - single portal or bulk uploads.
  • If you decide to use the bulk upload method, determine how frequently your team will need to upload the BPN application CSV file (e.g. daily, twice a day, once a week).
  • Consider whether you will be requesting the applicant to pay the levy and whether any internal processes need updating.
  • If you will pay the levy on behalf of the applicant, ensure you have one of the payment methods available – BPAY or credit card.

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 
  • 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

From 1 July, BAMS will enable building surveyors to apply, amend and report on building permit information using two methods:

  1. CSV file upload – BAMS will only import CSV files with the correct formatting prescribed. Using this method, you can apply for one or more building permit numbers.
  2. Online Portal Application – BAMS enables online applications to apply for one building permit number at a time.

Building surveyors need to determine the method they will be using from 1 July 2019. For building surveyors planning on uploading CSV files, it is suggested that you either have a third-party software provider or an in-house provider who can ensure the CSV file is correctly formatted, so that it validates with BAMS. It is also suggested that, if you are using a third-party software provider or an in-house provider, you get in contact with them to ensure they are engaged with the VBA and that you and the provider are ready for 1 July.

For building surveyors who use a manual form of levy return (e.g. Excel template, handwritten document, etc.) you will need to consider if you will use the online portal (applying for a single BPN at a time) or use a CSV file upload with a software provider or in-house provider (applying for single or multiple BPNs at a time).

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.

Training

Resources

Fact sheets