Building company penalised for not following process

A Victorian building company has been penalised $6000 for failing to notify the relevant building surveyor (RBS) of completion of framework and a failure to act on an order to fix non-compliant work.

SJR Building Group Pty Ltd (CDB-U 64382) was penalised and reprimanded by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) after it was found in breach of the Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations 2018 for work at a site in Greenvale, north of Melbourne.

When the RBS’s nominated inspector attended the site to conduct a frame inspection, he noted that work had continued past the frame stage in that a metal roof had been installed and that sarking and aerated concrete blocks had been put on the walls. A VBA proactive inspection three weeks earlier had noted that the frame stage had been completed.

In addition to noting that work had progressed prior to the frame being passed, the inspector identified several non-compliant items that needed attention before the building work could be approved.

The VBA’s Regulatory Operations Executive Director David Brockman said companies need to follow the correct process to protect consumers.

“The rules are in place for a reason and are designed to prevent people from building over frames before they have been checked. It is reckless to load a building frame with a roof before the RBS has inspected it and is satisfied that the frame complies,” Mr Brockman said.

“Building inspections are a vital part of the process and need to occur first, so that any issues can be identified, saving practitioners and consumers time and money by avoiding expensive rebuilding.”

In this case, the RBS gave SJR Building Group Pty Ltd a direction to fix eight specified problems with the frame within seven days. The direction to fix was not complied with in that time, and it was still outstanding a month later.

“Directions to fix must be complied with at the builder’s expense, and the VBA will suspend builders’ registrations until such time as compliance is achieved,” Mr Brockman said.

Mr Brockman said one of the VBA’s functions was to engage and educate industry.

“We have a role in ensuring practitioners understand how to do things correctly, and in discouraging risky, harmful or illegal behaviour in the building and plumbing industries."

"We support practitioners to better understand the rules and we do this by engaging with them and educating them on how to comply.”

SJR Building Group Pty Ltd can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a review of the decision.

The VBA has an online consumer resource portal with information for anyone who experiences issues with builders or plumbers.