VBA Mail - October 2021

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

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A message from the CEO

There’s no doubt that recent months have been a challenge. The immediate shutdown of the construction sector wasn’t the outcome anyone wanted, but it was needed to reduce movement, minimise transmission and allow everyone to adapt to the Chief Health Officer Directions.

The shutdown allowed everyone to regroup, get COVIDSafe plans in place and get vaccinated. Now that construction has reopened, VBA Authorised Officers (AOs) are playing a central role in ensuring everyone is doing the right thing on site.

Because of the VBA’s extensive knowledge and experience in working with building and plumbing practitioners, we were asked by the Victorian Government to be part of its Industry Enforcement and Engagement Operations. This has allowed our AOs to work with industry to ensure they’re following the rules to keep everyone safe.

The hard work done by many people in the building and plumbing industries to ensure construction workers were able to return on site on October 5 did not go unnoticed, including ensuring that workers received at least one vaccine dose prior to recommencement.

All construction projects (large scale, small scale and early stage land development projects) returned to 100 per cent of their workforce from 11.59pm Thursday 21 October, with all construction workers required to be fully vaccinated by 13 November 2021.

The construction industry is the backbone of our economy so it’s on all of us to do the right thing and keep the industry operating safely.

Despite the challenges that have occurred, we are committed to helping the construction industry bounce back stronger.

This edition of VBA Mail includes an overview on the important work being done by the VBA to support you and the wider industry, including implementation legislative changes and some key findings from our Proactive Inspections Program.

We urge you to take the time to look at the non-compliance our inspectors are finding on site to ensure you’re not making the same mistakes. We’ve also got some key stats from 2020/21 you’ll find useful, as to how the industry performed last financial year.

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

In this edition...

A record year for building permits

During 2020/21, Victoria’s building industry recorded its highest level of building permit approvals in the past decade.

Practitioner numbers on the rise

The building and plumbing industries continue to attract new practitioners, with a marked increase in the number of practitioners registered by the VBA in 2020/21.

Helping practitioners when they need it most

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a financial strain on practitioners and to help alleviate some of that strain, the VBA supported close to 3000 building and plumbing practitioners by providing more than $600,000 in fee relief to those on JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments.

Plumbing in focus

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, plumbing activity in Victoria was the strongest it has ever been.

The VBA's Proactive Inspections Program (PIP) Q4 findings

The VBA’s Proactive Inspections Program (PIP) ensures we have a visible presence on worksites across Victoria to detect non-compliant work and take the required action to have it fixed. Here are some of the Q4 findings.

A look ahead: Automatic Mutual Recognition and Trades Registration

The VBA continues to work with the relevant government authorities to help implement two important projects, Automatic Mutual Recognition (AMR) and Trades Registration, which will help create more opportunities for practitioners and shape the way they work in the future. As the exact timing of these projects remains uncertain, the VBA will keep you regularly updated when we have more information.