Defective Buildings and the VBA

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The issues highlighted by the story in the Sunday Age (25 Sept) demonstrate the need for the Government's ongoing reforms for the protection of consumers involved in building projects.

The VBA has been actively engaged in investigating at least one of the sites the article highlights and has referred the builder for possible disciplinary action.

The building and construction process is a complex area and anyone uncertain of which organisation should handle their complaint can contact the VBA to help navigate the process. We are working hard to further improve all areas of customer service and we work closely with Consumer Affairs Victoria. However, it should be noted that of the 110,000 building permits issued annually, only about one percent result in a complaint to the VBA about a builder's conduct.

The important thing is that people should be able to have the confidence, that if they sign a contract to build, they get what they have contracted for and if not, then the system will help them.

Recent Reforms to building legislation have given the VBA better powers in the registration and discipline of builders which will help promote compliance as will the introduction early next year of the Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) service.

DBDRV will strengthen domestic building protections, and enable consumers and builders to access free, fast and fair dispute resolution services. DBDRV will have powers to obtain independent, expert assessment of building work, and order builders to repair poor work and consumers to pay for work correctly completed.

Other initiatives include working with CAV on a new online navigation tool that will more easily help consumers find the information they need about the building process.

The most common reasons for complaints are:

  • Practitioner conduct
  • Non-compliant work
  • Siting of buildings
  • Unregistered building work
  • Protection work

The VBA has also introduced a new proactive inspection regime to help identify issues on building sites before they become a problem and we will continue to work with builders to help improve their understanding of how to achieve compliance.

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