The 5K Rule of Domestic Building 1

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
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All domestic building work which exceeds $5,000 must be undertaken by a registered building practitioner, including labour and materials.

The requirements for becoming a registered builder in Victoria are quite extensive, and it is no easy feat to pull together all the information needed to submit an application. There are a few variables, but in most instances you need to submit the same amount of information if you are applying for registration to put up gates and fences as you would to build, for example, three townhouses.

Many applicants believe that simply filling out a form with a few attachments is all that is required. However, there are other things to take into account.

The Victorian Building Authority requests certain documentation that falls under legislative requirements together with various additional components to meet the expectation of being not only experienced, but also competent and knowledgeable.

Applicants need to be aware of some of the requirements that may affect their application.

National Police Check Requirement

All applications for registration as a building practitioner must include a completed authorisation for a National Police Check as part of the Building Practitioners Board probity checking requirement.

A 100-point identity check, together with personal details of current and previous addresses and agreement to have a background check is also required.

While driving offences are not usually taken into account, the purpose of the check is to ensure that the applicant has not been involved in any previous cases of serious fraud, assaults, or other crimes of a serious nature. As it is ultimately up to the Building Practitioner’s Board to make a decision as to whether someone is a fit and proper person to hold a Building Practitioner’s Registration, however, this should not stop applicants from submitting their paperwork.


  • The Domestic Building Contracts Act states that any building contract which exceeds $16,000 (previously $12,000), proof must be provided that the contractor holds Home Warranty Insurance for the works to be carried out. Practitioners must provide their client with a copy of the policy and a certificate of currency covering before taking a deposit or any money.
  • Commercial builders are no longer required to take out Structural Defects insurance,  although it is in their best interests to provide proof of public liability insurance and any other insurances they might hold.
  • For the purposes of obtaining a Domestic Registration, applicants must provide a letter of eligibility. This means that once you have obtained your registration, you are able to take out  insurance for the purposes of carrying out works under the type of registration you have been granted.
  • While every person’s situation is different, generally an applicant must have at least some collateral, for example, property, cars or savings, to be granted a letter of eligibility.
  • An applicant cannot achieve practitioner registration without the letter of eligibility.

To produce and submit a thorough and informative application, applicants need to not only ensure that all the information they submit is thorough, they also need to be aware of the requirements of the competencies for each class they are applying for. As an example, management practices is a requirement for all classes of registration. Many applicants do not perceive themselves to have management skills because they do not see themselves as anything other than ‘being on the tools.’ In actual fact, most people ‘on the tools’ use management skills each day by managing staff, sites, ordering and receiving items, managing their accounting etc. These skills are all management practices and should be highlighted in their application.

Overall, spending time to ensure that the applicant makes all their skill set known to the Building Practitioner’s Board will assist them in providing an application that will tick all the boxes.

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  1. Tim Roberts

    Whilst this may seem like a pain in the backside, most of these requirements reflect simple common sense. You would not, for instance, be a suitable person to engage in a building contract if you had a record of fraud or assault, or if you were not able to get insurance.

    A pain, yes, but a necessary evil in order to ensure adequate consumer protection.