Building insurance requirements
As a registered building practitioner, you must have the appropriate insurance for your registration category/class.
The VBA requires evidence that you have insurance or are eligible to purchase insurance (in some cases) before we can grant your application for registration or renew your registration. A company registered as a building practitioner must hold the required insurance in the company’s name.
If we learn that you are no longer covered by the required insurance, we must suspend your registration.
There are three types of insurance for registered building practitioners.
Domestic building insurance
If you undertake domestic building work worth more than $16,000, then you need domestic building insurance.
Before taking a deposit or any money, building practitioners must provide their client with both a copy of the policy and a certificate of currency covering the client's property.
Domestic building insurance covers the client if, before work is complete, the practitioner dies, is declared insolvent or disappears. It covers costs up to $300,000 to fix structural defects for six years, and non-structural defects for two years.
In all other cases, it is up to the building practitioner to fix or complete works, or to pay any costs awarded.
Domestic builders must provide evidence that they are eligible to purchase domestic building insurance when they renew their registration. This is usually in the form of a 'Certificate of eligibility to purchase domestic building insurance', which is prepared by your insurer.
To learn more about the insurance policy that you need, refer to Variations to the Domestic Building Insurance Ministerial Order.
Professional indemnity insurance
You need professional indemnity insurance for registration in any of the following building practitioner categories and classes:
- Building surveyor (unlimited)
- Building surveyor (limited)
- Building inspector (unlimited)
- Building inspector (limited)
- Building inspector (pool safety)
- Quantity surveyor
- Engineer (civil, mechanical, electrical and fire safety classes)
- Draftsperson (building design) (architectural, interior and services classes).
Professional indemnity insurance covers the practitioner against legal liability resulting from any claim made during the period of insurance.
If you are seeking registration renewal, you need to show evidence of your professional indemnity insurance before we can grant your application. You must ensure you have insurance cover for all work carried out under your registration category/class until at least the date of the anniversary of your registration.
To learn more, refer to the Building Practitioners' Insurance Ministerial Order (PDF, 400.9 KB) (updated January 2020).
On 15 February 2020 the VBA implemented new minimum insurance requirements, after Planning Minister Richard Wynne issued a new Ministerial Order (PDF, 400.9 KB) extending existing insurance requirements for building surveyors and inspectors to quantity surveyors, engineers and draftspersons.
The move means building industry professionals will no longer need to hold exclusion-free PI insurance when applying for or renewing their registration.
The VBA reminds industry professionals to disclose to their insurer any work related to external wall cladding products prior to renewing their PI insurance policy.
For more information, contact the VBA on 1300 815 127 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public liability insurance
You need public liability insurance for registration in any of the following building practitioner categories and classes:
- Builder – demolisher (low rise buildings, medium rise buildings and unlimited classes)
- Erector or supervisor (temporary structures).
Public liability insurance covers the building practitioner against legal liability resulting from any claim made during the period of insurance.
To learn more, refer to the Building Practitioners' Insurance Ministerial Order (No. S91 Thursday 12 May 2005) (PDF, 1434.44 KB).
When proof of insurance is required
Before the VBA can grant your application for registration as a building practitioner, you must provide proof that you are covered by the required insurance, or are eligible to purchase the required insurance (for domestic builders only).
If you cannot provide the proof on time, you will need to explain why in writing, by letter or email. We may allow more time for you to provide the proof if you can demonstrate that you have taken steps to obtain the insurance.
If we do not receive the proof on time, we may recommend that your application for registration is refused.
To minimise the delay in finalising your application, we recommend that you get in touch with an insurer at an early stage to learn about the process for applying for insurance.