NEWS
31/08/2017
2017: A YEAR OF CHANGES TO THE BUILDING ACT

2017: A YEAR OF CHANGES TO THE BUILDING ACT

There’s been quite a few changes to the Building Act 1993 this year that effects building practitioners. In the last few months, these changes have taken effect. Here’s a timeline of the changes to date—definitely worth the read. As always, more details on the changes can be found at the website of the Victorian Building Authority. If you’re a building practitioner, read on to find out what impact these changes will have on your business.

Indictable offences and new penalties

In May, new indictable offences were created, namely:

  • A person who is in the business of building must not carry out building work for which a building permit is required if the person knows that a building permit is required to carry out that work and a building permit to carry out that work is not in force; and
  • A person who is in the business of building must not carry out building work if the person knows that the building work is not being carried out in accordance with the Act, building regulations or the building permit issued in relation to that work.

View the VBA’s prosecution policy here

In August, changes were made to emergency orders, building notices, building orders and amended definitions, as well as new penalties for body corporates. Check out the fact sheet.

The same month saw directions to fix notice penalties increase, particularly for non-compliance.

Liabilities

In May, there were changes to the act for the liabilities of those working in partnership on building work, particularly “any offence that applies to a builder will apply to each member of a partnership that is a builder, even if the member is not a builder themselves.

Registrations

May
The VBA reported on proposed changes that may take effect in for 2018 that give the VBA the ability to register a company or body corporate already engaged in building work.

July
Building regulations define the scopes of work authorised under each class of registration. As of July you need to make sure that where the Act requires you to be registered, it now also requires that the registration category or class authorises the work.

August
Big changes with a jump from $5,000 to $10,000 for registration requirements: “From 1 August 2017, domestic builders, or draftspersons engaged in domestic building work, are only required to be registered as a building practitioner if the cost of the domestic building work is $10 000 or more.”  Before 1 August 2017, this level was set at $5,000 as domestic builders and draft persons were exempt from registration requirements for work costing less than $5,000.


Defences

July
An old defence is no more: practitioners undertaking domestic building work can no longer rely on a registration in another category or class as a defence against the offence of undertaking work while unregistered. Be prudent that the work you do matches your registration category or class.

Insurance

July
Make sure the names on you insurance certificate matches up with your contract: “Builders undertaking domestic building work are not covered by the required insurance if the builder named on the contract is not identical to the builder named on the certificate of insurance.”

Building on your own land

July
If you’re undertaking work on your own patch, as of 1 July 2017, builders “need a certificate of consent unless they are registered in a category and class that authorises the planned work.

More changes to come

On thing is for sure: more changes are always on the way. Keep a key eye on the Victorian Building Authority for updates and we’ll check back in with another wrap later in the year.