Changes to the Building Legislation
There have been a number of changes to the building legislation in Victoria including the Building Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Act 2016 (BLAA).
The BLAA made amendments to the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (DBCA) and the Building Act 1993 with consequential amendments to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (VCAT).
The amendments came into operation at different times.
As mentioned in another blog this month, the Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) came into operation in April 2017. It is intended to end lengthy building disputes in VCAT through conciliation.
On 4 July 2016 changes to the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2006 included numerous changes. They are:
(a) The Victorian Building Authority’s (VBA) inspection power to owner build sites;
(b) New offences for undertaking work without a building permit;
(c) Obligation on the building surveyor to ensure the appropriate building contract is in place and that there is no permit unless a builder is identified, as well as their obligation to check that the builder named in the contract matches the builder on the insurance policy.
(d) Reg. 902 Requires the Building Surveyor to keep a copy of each written direction (issued under section 37F(1) of the Building Act 1993) to fix work issued by them, until either the Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection is issued or the direction is revoked or quashed on Appeal and to make those directions available for inspection during office hours by any person;
New owner builder requirements were introduced to make it more difficult for owner builders to carry out domestic building work;
The VBA can issue a “show cause notice” on a number of new grounds, including contravention of the DBCA, or failing to pay an adjudicated amount under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 and on the basis that the VBA believes on reasonable grounds that the building practitioner is no longer “a fit and proper person”.
If a show cause notice is issued the builder is given at least 14 days to show cause. The builder has a right of a review by VCAT within 28 days.
From 1 September 2016 the new Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) checklist must be included in all major domestic building contracts. The checklist includes:
(a) The owner appoints the building surveyor;
(b) Domestic building insurance must be provided for work of more than $16,000;
(c) The Building Practitioners Board is replaced with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA);
(d) The owner must receive the domestic building guide (see consumer.vic.gov.au/building guide);
(e) The owner must confirm they have read the domestic building guide and related information at the CAV website.
From 12 April 2017, the Domestic Building Contracts Regulations 2017, (DBCR) commenced and included a number of amendments to the DBCA.
From 1 August 2017, Regulation 6 changed the definition of major domestic building contracts in section 3 (1) is for an amount of $10,000.
From 22 April 2017, Regulation 7 updated the list of those items of building work which are not domestic building work when only one of those items of work are being undertaken, e.g. electrical work, glazing, painting, plastering, tiling, and others.
From 22 April 2017, the new limit for a cost plus contract is $1 million.
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This article provides information that is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice.