Proactive Inspections Program (PIP) Quarterly reports

The VBA’s Proactive Inspections Program helps ensure the safety of Victoria’s construction industry.

We have a team of expert building and plumbing inspectors that typically look at more than 900 sites each month. This work means we can identify potential faults earlier, when they are easier to fix, and that the burden of fixing them sits with the builder rather than the owner.

PIP also provides a level playing field for all builders and plumbers who produce high-quality work.

It’s all part of our goal to empower and educate both practitioners and consumers, supporting a robust and high-quality construction sector.

You can learn more about this program, and the issues most commonly found, in our latest quarterly report.

View the latest report

Scroll down for key data and insights from our latest inspections. Tap or hover over the graphics for details.

Where we are

Number of inspections

We’re more visible than ever, visiting more worksites and keeping Victorians safe. The Victorian Government expects us to inspect 10 per cent of new building permits received each year.

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Inspection locations

Our inspectors are working right across the state, creating a safer Victoria.

When selecting sites for inspection, we use building permit data and consider a range of risk factors. We sometimes target certain types of construction to manage risk and to ensure intervention at the earliest possible stage.

What we’re looking for

We inspect sites to keep workers and future occupiers safe. Here’s how we determine the seriousness of compliance risks.

  • Low risk (pass): Compliance risk not identified; any compliance risk likely to be resolved as work continues.
  • Low risk (low impact compliance risk): Unlikely that compliance risk left untreated would adversely impact safety, amenity, structural integrity.
  • Medium risk: Possible that compliance risk left untreated would cause an adverse impact on safety, amenity, structural integrity.
  • High risk: Almost certain that compliance risk, if left untreated, would cause an adverse impact on safety and amenity. Structural integrity would be significantly compromised and/or total loss of project value would be incurred.

See our full compliance risk rating matrix.

What we find

We discover a range of problems – from minor issues through to serious breaches requiring immediate action.

Find out more about compliance and enforcement.

Common problems – Overview

Domestic building and plumbing work

Timber framing items are regularly the top non-compliant issues found by the VBA in domestic building work and remain the same this quarter. However, the prevalence of timber framing issues (20%) significantly reduced this quarter, down 7% from 27% in previous two quarters (April to September 2020) and down 13% from 33% in January to March 2020 quarter. This decrease in timber framing non-compliances is backed up by feedback from the PIP building inspectors and further by trends analysis on key timber framing items which is outlined in Section 3.4 of the full report.

The remainder of the top six building issues have generally remained consistent across the past three quarters, typically contributing between five and ten per cent of all non-compliance identified through the PIP. The top six issues in plumbing have also remained consistent in each quarter.

Commercial

The six most common categories of non-compliance identified have remained consistent over the past three quarters. Overall, non-compliance rates in these buildings remained generally stable over the last two quarters.

The VBA also focused on COVIDSafe compliance during Q1, observing good levels of compliance to those rules.

Prevalence of compliance risks in dual- and single-occupancy dwellings

The following percentages are based on all domestic (class 1) dwellings inspected during this time period. This graphic does not include low-risk (low impact compliance risk) data.

Taking action

We’re taking steps to ensure the safety of workers and Victorians. The VBA will intervene so that building sites with serious non-compliances aren’t issued with an occupancy permit and can’t be handed over to the purchaser.

Find out more about enforcement.

Inspection stories

Construction of a new Class 1 dwelling

Serious fire separation issue

The Proactive inspection carried out after the mandatory frame stage inspection revealed among other non-compliances that the external walls of two townhouses (located less than 900mm from one another) did not have the required Fire Resistance Level of (FRL) 60/60/60 and therefore did not comply with clause 3.7.2.4 of Volume 2 of the BCA. As a result of the significant risk letter sent to the builder, the combustible expanded polystyrene (EPS) sheeting was replaced with fire rated plaster and cement sheet cladding, thus achieving the required FRL of 60/60/60.

This was significant find as the relevant building surveyor (RBS) had already approved the frame inspection and was not aware EPS had been installed on the external walls required to have an FRL.

Construction of two new Class 7b warehouses

Over 20 non-compliant matters

The proactive inspection of new two storey warehouse development observed over 20 non-compliances ranging from, reduced egress widths, non-compliant handrails and stair risers, door furniture installed at incorrect heights and inaccessible toilet fixtures. Additionally, there were fittings inappropriately installed or not installed at all, inadequate door circulation and insufficient application of water-resisting elements to wet areas. Due to the high number of non-compliances detected, the VBA is continuing to work with the RBS and builder to ensure the non-compliant work is rectified before building work is completed.

Non-compliant work includes:

  • The stairs across multiple warehouses were not achieving the required 1m clear as required by the NCC 2016 Part D1.6.
  • The door handles to the exit door have been installed above 1.1m in height contrary to the NCC 2019 Volume 1 Part D2.21.
  • A folding seat has not been provided within the accessible shower as required by AS1428.1 Part 15.5.9.
  • The works on site across both warehouses show the proposed installation of a sink within kitchenettes and wet areas without providing a water-resistant substrate as required by the NCC 2016 Volume 1 Part F1.7 and AS3740
  • The doors leading to the factory do not provide the required door circulation space as per AS1428.1 – 2009 Part 13.3.1 and Figure 31.

Structural and internal building works on a Class 9b Assembly building

Serious fire management hazard

A proactive inspection of a Class 9b Assembly building undergoing structural and internal building works observed the Fire Indicator Panel (FIP) was isolated from the entire building. By isolating the FIP, (in the event of an emergency), the alarm will not be triggered and enable fire services and equipment to operate to safeguard the occupants. The building was being occupied (with no occupancy permit). As such, the matter was immediately referred to the MBS, to issue appropriate enforcement.