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Changes to the Building Act

[08/09/2016]

Recent changes have been made under the Building Act 1993 that affects building practitioners, building surveyors and owner-builders. We’ve summarised these changes for your benefit to help understand the differences these alterations make.

A key change is that the Victorian Building Association (VBA) replaces the Building Practitioners Board (BPB) and is now responsible for the registration and discipline of building practitioners and issuing owner-builder certificates of consent.

The following changes are now in effect as of the 1st of September 2016:

  • The Building Practitioners Board (BPB) will be abolished and the functions and powers of the BPB will transfer to the VBA, including registering building practitioners, issuing certificates of consent to owner-builders, and supervising and monitoring practitioners' conduct and capacity to practise.
  • Applicants for registration will need to meet the requirements of a new 'fit and proper person' test that will replace the existing 'good character' test.
  • All practitioners will be registered for a period of five years. Practitioners will be required to re-apply for registration at the end of this five-year period if they wish to continue to practise.
  • Practitioners who were registered prior to 1 September 2016 will be required to transition to the new five-year registration period. This transition will occur over a number of years and the VBA will advise practitioners ahead of time when they are due to re-apply for registration.
  • Practitioners may surrender their registration when they exit the industry.
  • The disciplinary process will change from an inquiry to a 'show cause' process.
  • The VBA will have the power to impose conditions on registrations, accept enforceable undertakings from practitioners and suspend a practitioner's registration pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.
  • Practitioners will have access to a new internal review process.
  • Builders will be prohibited from appointing private building surveyors for domestic building work.
  • Owner-builders will be required to undertake an online assessment about their knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of an owner-builder before certificates of consent can be issued.
  • An individual owner-builder will be eligible to apply for a certificate of consent once in a five-year period (unless the application relates to an existing home).
  • Details of owner-builder projects will be published on a public register.

Changes to the disciplinary system

  • The VBA will be able to immediately suspend registration
  • The VBA can issue show cause notices in lieu of the current disciplinary inquiry hearing process by the BPB

Additional changes will commence in 2017.
These include:

  • A Continuing Professional Development program, developed in consultation with the industry.
  • Establishment of a new domestic building dispute resolution body in the first quarter of 2017

For more information, visit http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/2016-changes-Building-Act


    
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