The Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 will bring significant changes to the industry in Victoria and  has now been through two sittings of the Victorian Parliament. These changes have come about after matters were raised by the Victorian Auditor General’s Office and the Victorian Ombudsman.

In addition to changes to Home Warranty Insurance, which will be managed by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), the following bodies will be abolished:

  • Building Practitioner’s Board
  • Building Appeals Board, Building Advisory Council
  • Plumbing Advisory Council
  • Building Regulations Advisory Committee
  • Architects Registration Board of Victoria.

The roles of all these organisations will be handed over to the VBA, VCAT and the as-yet-unformed Technical Accreditation Committee.

The licensing/registration system also has some major changes, some of the more critical of which are outlined below:

1) Registration will not be automatically renewed.

If a person is currently licensed, they will be grandfathered over to the new system. When they reach five years from the date of their initial registration or handover date, they will be required to undertake re-registration. Renewals will no longer be valid without meeting certain criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Personal and financial probity tests – these tests will take into account breaches of legislation, disciplinary action, solvency, prior convictions or if previous insurance applications have been declined or cancelled.
  • Completing Mandatory CPD to the required level.
  • A requirement to not reach an accrued number of demerit points.

2) Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) will now require registered builders to undertake training to meet reregistration requirements each five years. This will apply to any registered builder irrespective of how long they have been involved in the industry.

3) In addition to individuals, corporations and partnerships will now be able to become registered. However, once legislation is passed, it will be a requirement for one or more directors of corporations and partnerships undertaking contractual building work to be personally registered.

4) Bodies Corporate must now appoint one director to be registered. A body corporate must not carry out domestic building work under a major domestic building contract unless at least one director of the body corporate is registered. At the time of writing, we have been unable to gain clarification as to what category they will fall under.

5) Building surveyors’ corporations may now become registered so as to issue building permits and may, with permission from the VBA, appoint a manager or managers.

It is anticipated that the many changes may take time to filter through the industry and it will be interesting to see how the changes will take effect.