VBA Mail – December 2021

VBA Mail includes the latest news and industry updates from the Victorian Building Authority.

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A message from the CEO

Victoria’s building and plumbing industry continued to show their resilience during 2021 to deliver for our community.

Restrictions to curtail the spread of COVID-19 meant that we all had to work together to develop practical solutions to deliver positive outcomes for Victorians and the economy. In light of this, our industry was able to remain open for most of the year, in the safest way possible.

The appetite for building work in Victoria continued to grow. While the full extent of building permit activity for the year will not be known until late January 2022, building permits issued between January and October were 16 per cent higher than the same time last year.

In the 10 months to October, 108,591 building permits were issued, compared to 93,684 a year ago. The combined value of this work, $37.2 billion, is almost $3 billion or 8 per cent more than a year ago.

To support industry professionals, the VBA launched the Practitioner Education Series (PES). The PES provides practical insights, evidence-based strategies and useful resources to improve competency and knowledge. More than 9,000 practitioners attended our PES webinars this year, with site inspections and enforcement and Proactive Inspection Program findings proving most popular. Our teams are planning a new series of PES webinars in 2022. Until then, you can catch up on the entire 2021 series here.

New year, new changes

In the new year, the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 will be implemented. The VBA will be working closely with the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) to help keep practitioners informed. Some of the more significant amendments developed for the next edition of the NCC include:

  • Draft provisions relating to accessible housing.
  • Proposed amendments concerning allowable lead levels for certain plumbing products that contact drinking water.
  • Egress provisions for early childhood centres and primary schools.
  • Quantification of Performance Requirements, including Part A8 for fire safety quantification.
  • Bushfire protection for non-residential buildings.
  • Stage 1 weatherproofing and waterproofing for commercial buildings.
  • Energy efficiency and condensation management provisions.

From 1 January, individual building practitioners, excluding building surveyors and building inspectors, can participate in Automatic Mutual Recognition (AMR) in Victoria. AMR enables individuals licensed or registered for an occupation in one Australian state or territory to work in another state or territory using their home state licence or registration. The scheme makes it easier for practitioners to operate in multiple states and territories, while providing safeguards to maintain standards and protect consumers and workers. On 1 July 2022, AMR will be expanded to include building inspectors, building surveyors and all plumbing practitioners. The VBA looks forward to working with practitioners when these changes take effect.

Next year is shaping up to be the start of a transformational journey as we position the VBA for substantial growth in regulatory activity to deliver on government priorities, and we anticipate that the building and plumbing industry will continue to evolve and deliver positive outcomes for Victoria.

After a busy and challenging year, we want to wish everyone a safe, healthy and prosperous year ahead.

Sue Eddy,                                                                                                                 Andrew Cialini,
VBA Chief Executive Officer                                                                              VBA State Building Surveyor

In this edition...

VBA out in force in 2021

The VBA maintained a firm but fair regulatory presence in 2021 with data covering the first 11 months of the year now available.

Proactive Inspections Program (PIP) findings

The VBA's Proactive Inspections Program (PIP) ensures we have a visible presence on worksites across Victoria to detect non-compliant work. Check out the latest quarterly report.

New research to understand mould risk in new housing

The VBA is funding research to help minimise the risk of mould growth in new energy efficient buildings.

Industry update - Earthquake Design and Construction

The October earthquake served as a reminder to ensure buildings are designed and constructed to comply with the NCC.

Practitioners pivotal to bushfire preparedness and recovery

The VBA continues to provide practitioners advice and support on the requirements for bushfire preparedness and rebuilding in bushfire-affected areas.

Well-built balconies help keep Victorians safe

Balconies, decks and balustrades can be a serious safety risk if not properly built or maintained. The VBA has developed some important guidance to ensure the safety of Victorians.