Flood affected Victorians warned to check practitioner registration

Victorians who are beginning the process of rebuilding or repairing homes damaged by the recent flooding in Central and Northern parts of the state need to watch out for unregistered practitioners.

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) warns consumers to check that any builder or plumber advertising services in the wake of the emergency events is registered and/or licensed.

The VBA’s State Building Surveyor Andrew Cialini said that it was unfortunately common for unscrupulous operators to take advantage of a crisis and offer services when they aren't qualified to do so.

"We encourage all Victorians to check whether a practitioner they are hiring is registered and or licensed to carry out the services they are offering," Mr Cialini said.

“In Victoria, building practitioners must be registered with the VBA to perform certain kinds of work, so do your research and ask for some key information up front, so there are no shocks later on.”

Mr Cialini said consumers should be wary of anyone offering their building or plumbing services via online marketplaces and through apps.

“With the rise of online apps and websites where anyone can advertise their services without qualifications, it’s important to always check the credentials of anyone you hire.

“You can check whether the builder or plumber you’re looking to use is registered with the VBA and whether they’ve faced any disciplinary action.

“We want consumers to be in a position to make informed decisions especially where it may impact their safety and wellbeing."

While some work around a property can be done yourself, if a job requires two or more of these trade skills, or if you want to undertake any other task that exceeds the $10,000 limit, you must hire a registered practitioner.

The VBA’s Regulatory Operations Executive Director David Brockman said the building and plumbing watchdog would be on the lookout for any practitioners or would-be tradies breaking the rules.

“We will not hesitate to hold practitioners to account if they don’t follow the correct steps when repairing homes or if they work unregistered or unlicensed,” Mr Brockman said.

“Protecting the Victorian community is our top priority and while most practitioners do the right thing, a small few doing the wrong thing damages community trust in the industry, this will not be tolerated.”

Anyone looking for expert advice can visit the VBA’s online consumer portal.

Victorians can visit vba.vic.gov.au/check to make sure their builder or plumber is registered or licensed.