VBA Technical Update – September 2020

Collage of builder, site plans and crane
In the first of our Technical Updates, we explore how video technology will keep site inspections on track, and how a new program will enhance fire safety.

The past month has brought sweeping changes to the building and construction industry, with face coverings becoming compulsory, regional Victoria entering Stage 3 restrictions and Melbourne entering Stage 4.

In metropolitan Melbourne, strict health and safety requirements have reduced movement to and from building sites, in line with expert health advice from the Victorian government.

At the same time, some parts of our industry have been instructed to work off site or close temporarily, posing challenges for building services, construction and supply chains.

At the VBA, we’ve been busy responding to thousands of questions relating to Stage 4 restrictions and their impacts on the industry. By 24 August, we’d responded to almost 15,600 calls and emails, with that number continuing to rise.

We apologise to those who have had difficulty contacting us, and we are endeavouring to meet the increased demand and address the varying requirements that apply to practitioners under Government restrictions.

For those of you in need of information or clarification, the VBA website has an extensive suite of COVID-19 resources, including FAQs and links to Victorian Government guides and resources.

You can also call us on 1300 815 127 or email customerservice@vba.vic.gov.au at any time.

Remote video inspections

With building surveyors, architects, engineers, building designers, inspectors and other practitioners limited to visiting three sites per week under Stage 4 restrictions, ensuring site inspections continue efficiently and safely has been one of our highest priorities.

To that end, guidelines covering the use of remote video technology for site inspections have just been released.

The guidelines outline principles and considerations for establishing a remote video inspection procedure for non-mandatory inspections within existing business practices.

We expect the technology to complement existing inspection practices by supporting the operation and fulfillment of statutory functions and technical services.

Find out more

Essential Safety Measures Enhancement Program

With 2900 buildings inspected since late 2017, the Victorian Statewide Cladding Audit has uncovered many deficiencies in the design, approval, installation and maintenance of essential safety measures (ESMs).

That’s why we’ve been working closely with industry to establish an ESM Enhancement Program that will drive initiatives to address public safety, enhance practitioner competency with wet systems and promote the importance of effective and compliant ESMs.

While much of the program remains in development, education and evidence will play a prominent part.

To get an idea of some of the areas we’ll focus on, make sure you download our new ESM Roles and Responsibilities guide. Written for industry and consumers, we hope the guide will better explain the framework that applies to ESMs and those of you required to maintain them.

Find out more

Staying up to date

This email is the first in a regular series of technical updates produced by the VBA. We hope you find them practical and informative.

If you have any topics you’d like us to consider for future updates, please email communications@vba.vic.gov.au.