Building regulatory framework
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) regulates Victoria's building industry, which is governed by the Building Act 1993 (the Act). The Act sets out the framework for the regulation of building construction, building standards and the maintenance of specific building safety features.
The objectives of the Act are to:
- protect the safety and health of people who use buildings and places of public entertainment
- improve the amenity of buildings.
Other acts that apply to the building industry include:
The Building Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) came into effect on 2 June 2018. The Regulations are a subordinate legislation of the Building Act and contain, among other things, requirements relating to:
- building permits
- building inspections
- occupancy permits
- maintenance of buildings.
The Regulations adopt the Building Code of Australia (BCA), which is part of the National Construction Code.
Victoria’s building regulations generally have a ten-year shelf life before undergoing a comprehensive review to ensure they remain fit for purpose and meet intended objectives. The VBA is a key stakeholder in the review process and implementation of the Regulations.
National Construction Code
The National Construction Code (NCC) combines building and plumbing construction requirements into a single code. The NCC includes the Building Code of Australia (Volumes One and Two) and the Plumbing Code of Australia (Volume Three).
- Volume One: relates primarily to Class 2 to 9 buildings.
- Volume Two: relates primarily to Class 1 and 10 buildings.
- Volume Three: relates primarily to plumbing and drainage associated with all classes of buildings.
The NCC is produced and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), which is a joint initiative of Federal, state and local governments (the Council of Australian Government, or COAG).
National Construction Code amendments
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has released the National Construction Code (NCC) 2019 Amendment 1, to be adopted by all states and territories from 1 July 2020.
NCC 2019 Amendment 1 includes:
- a new provision in NCC Volume One regarding egress from early childhood centres
- a new provision to require that a process be followed to improve the quality of, and documentation for, performance solutions. This change will come into effect on 1 July 2021
- an update to the Governing Requirements for all Volumes to require labelling of aluminium composite panels in accordance with SA Technical Specification 5344
- clarification of the concession in NCC Volume One that permits the use of timber framing for low-rise Class 2 and 3 buildings
- clarification in NCC Volume Two that anti-ponding board requirements only apply to roofs where sarking is installed
- correction of minor errors.
Although the process for documenting Performance Solutions set out in NCC 2019 Amendment 1 will not come into effect until 1 July 2021, appropriate documentation for Performance Solutions should be occurring now and the process outlined in Amendment 1 can be used for this purpose.
You can obtain the NCC from the ABCB website.
For answers to common questions about the NCC 2019, which commenced in Victoria on 1 May 2019, see NCC 2019 Building FAQs.
Building Code of Australia (BCA)
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) provides technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures through the National Construction Code (NCC). It allows for state variations to provide additional requirements or cater for specific community expectations. This means the code defines the way of achieving a specified outcome without prescribing a particular method.