Proactive Inspections Program (PIP) Quarterly reports

The VBA’s Proactive Inspections Program helps ensure the safety of Victoria’s construction industry.

We have a team of expert building and plumbing inspectors that typically look at more than 1,000 sites each month. This work means we can identify potential faults earlier, when they are easier to fix, and that the burden of fixing them sits with the builder rather than the owner.

PIP also provides a level playing field for all builders and plumbers who produce high-quality work.

It’s all part of our goal to empower and educate both practitioners and consumers, supporting a robust and high-quality construction sector.

You can learn more about this program, and the issues most commonly found, in our latest quarterly report.

View the latest report

Scroll down for key data and insights from our latest inspections. Tap or hover over the graphics for details.

Where we are

Number of inspections

We’re more visible than ever, visiting more worksites and keeping Victorians safe. The Victorian Government expects us to inspect 10 per cent of new building permits received each year.

Discrepancies between projected and completed inspections may occur depending on unforeseen industry activity and resource allocation (eg COVID restrictions).

Due to the changing COVID-19 restrictions in 2021, 14 VBA inspectors were redeployed (over four weeks in Q2) to participate in joint agency COVID-19 compliance inspections as part of the Victorian Government Operation Construction. As a result, fewer (approximately 400) inspections took place than was anticipated for this reporting period.

Inspection locations

Our inspectors are working right across the state, creating a safer Victoria.

When selecting sites for inspection, we use building permit data and consider a range of risk factors. We sometimes target certain types of construction to manage risk and to ensure intervention at the earliest possible stage.

What we’re looking for

We inspect sites to keep workers and future occupiers safe. Here’s how we determine the seriousness of compliance risks.

  • Low risk (pass): Compliance risk not identified; any compliance risk likely to be resolved as work continues.
  • Low risk (low impact compliance risk): Unlikely that compliance risk left untreated would adversely impact safety, amenity, structural integrity.
  • Medium risk: Possible that compliance risk left untreated would cause an adverse impact on safety, amenity, structural integrity.
  • High risk: Almost certain that compliance risk, if left untreated, would cause an adverse impact on safety and amenity. Structural integrity would be significantly compromised and/or total loss of project value would be incurred.

See our full compliance risk rating matrix.

What we find

We discover a range of problems – from minor issues through to serious breaches requiring immediate action.

Find out more about compliance and enforcement.

Overview of building inspections

Geographic Trends

  • The percentage of inspections with compliance risks is highest in Greater Melbourne (50%) a trend which has been consistent over the past three quarters.

Building - New Builds vs Alterations

  • The percentage of inspections with compliance risks are much higher in constructions of New buildings (51%) than buildings undergoing Alterations (34%), in domestic building sites.
  • A different trend was observed in commercial building sites. Buildings undergoing Alterations had the highest prevalence of non-compliant issues (48%) compared to New builds (24%).

Building - High Volume builders vs Other builders

  • The percentage of inspections with compliance risks are higher in sites managed by Other builders than buildings managed by High Volume builders
  • This is more pronounced in domestic building sites, (39%) compared to 58% in all other builders.

Common problem overview - building

The most prevalent categories where non-compliance risks are observed (medium and high risk).

It is important to note that the prevalence of non-compliance risks observed in timber frames is higher than other categories, as it reflects the large number of items assessed in a timber frame compared to the other categories. Percentages, therefore should not be compared between categories due this variable.

Overview of plumbing inspections

Geographic Trends

  • Percentage of inspections with compliance risks are higher in Growth Corridors of Melbourne (42%) than Regional Victoria (30%) and Greater Melbourne (33%). This trend is the reverse of what was observed in inspections of building work; a trend that has also remained consistent in the past three quarters.

Plumbing - New Builds vs Alterations

  • Percentage of plumbing inspections with compliance risks are much higher in Alterations (56%) compared to constructions of New buildings (37%). The sample size however is too small to confirm a trend.

Plumbing - High Volume builders vs Other builders

  • Percentage of inspections with compliance risks marginally lower in sites managed by Large Volume builders compared to Other builders in domestic sites.
  • Large Volume builders were not represented in commercial plumbing this quarter.

Common problem overview - plumbing

The most prevalent categories where non-compliance risks are observed (excluding low risk), remain consistent each quarter.

Prevalence of compliance risks in dual- and single-occupancy dwellings

The following percentages are based on all domestic (class 1) dwellings inspected during this time period. This graphic does not include low-risk (low impact compliance risk) data.

Taking action

We’re taking steps to ensure the safety of workers and Victorians. The VBA will intervene so that building sites with serious non-compliances aren’t issued with an occupancy permit and can’t be handed over to the purchaser.

Find out more about enforcement.

Inspection stories

Building

Timber framing issue missed at mandatory frame inspection

Overview

A proactive inspection of a Class 1a building under construction identified non-compliant installation of roof trusses on a timber frame that had not been identified by the building inspector during the mandatory frame inspection. Seven of the roof trusses were installed backwards meaning the trusses were supported away from the design location.

Additionally, framing anchors were not installed between the top chord of the jack truss and the top chord of the truncated girder truss as required by the manufacture’s installation guide and AS 4440 - 2004 installation of nail plated timber roof trusses

Response

A VBA notification of medium risk building activity was sent to the builder and RBS. This prompted the builder to have the truss manufacturer/ designer review the trusses, provide a rectification detail, and install the missing framing anchors.

Outcome

The VBA closed the matter after receiving the rectification detail from the truss manufacturer/designer with evidence of the rectified work and the approved re-frame inspection report.

Damage to the adjoining property and concrete slab issues

Overview

A proactive inspection of a Class 1 building under construction identified a site cut, (900m in depth on the boundary of the site) which had undermined the adjoining property’s garage wall. There was no protection work in place or temporary shoring or propping installed along the boundary of the site.

Additionally, the bottom plate of the timber framed wall was overhanging the concrete slab by more than 10mm and the concrete slab’s steel reinforcement was exposed; not covered by the minimum 40mm of concrete as required by clause 5.3.2 of AS 2870 – 2011.

Response

A VBA notification of a high-risk building activity was sent to the RBS. This prompted the RBS to issue a Direction-to-Fix to the builder to carry out remedial works as directed by the engineer and approved by the RBS prior to the works commencing.

The RBS also provided the VBA with an amended building permit, amended engineering (underpinning & overhang details), the engineer’s site instruction for exposed reinforcement and the Protection works form 7 and associated declaration for no response from neighbour.

Outcome

The VBA closed the matter after the VBA received notification from the RBS that all remedial works were completed as per the directions to fix and evidence of the underpinning works being completed on the adjoining property’s garage wall.

Plumbing

Overview

A proactive inspection of a Class 1 dwelling under construction by a volume builder in Regional Victoria identified multiple roof drainage issues:

  • Insufficient fastening of eaves gutter joints.
  • Roofing debris left on roof and gutters.
  • Valley gutters fixed directly to the structure.
  • Valley gutters not discharging into eaves or box gutters appropriately.

Response

A VBA notification of medium risk plumbing activity was sent to the builder, prompting the builder to direct the roof plumber to rectify the plumbing non-compliances. The first three items were promptly rectified. However, observations of valley gutters not discharging appropriately are becoming more prevalent and rectification of this issue is being met with some resistance. This is because, before compliance can be achieved, modifications to the building structure and design is required.

Outcome

After much discussion amongst the VBA inspector, builder and licensed roofing practitioner an understanding was reached between all parties of what was required to achieve compliance. Modifications were made to the structure of the dwelling and the volume builder confirmed the design of this dwelling has been altered to ensure compliance of valley gutters can be achieved for any future builds.