VBA Mail 28 March

VBA Mail includes the latest news and industry updates from the Victorian Building Authority.

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With a lot of prominent consumer issues in the media recently, no one wants rogue operators damaging the reputation of their profession.

The Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 was passed in the Victorian Parliament last July, implementing a number of reforms to reshape our regulatory landscape, and it came into effect on 1 February 2024, bringing the important work that the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) does into the spotlight.

Our new Regulatory Policy Statement (the Policy), which we shared late last year, has been crucial in embedding the VBA’s work as a trusted regulator and we are now in the process of finalising a new framework for our approach to compliance and enforcement activities.

This approach will be focused on working proactively to ensure the compliance and performance of building and plumbing practitioners and act where their obligations have not been met.

To further strengthen the VBA’s abilities to deliver best practice regulation, new governance arrangements were announced today that will come into effect from 31 March 2024.

Anna Cronin has been appointed as the Commissioner for the Victorian Building Authority. This position reports directly to the Minister for Planning, Sonya Kilkenny. The new role replaces the VBA’s current Board and will be in place for two years, until 31 March 2026.

To support this appointment, two new high level advisory committees will also be established – one for building and one for plumbing.

The significance of these changes to our governance is that it cuts red tape and streamlines our approach. This is an exciting new chapter for the VBA as we continue to focus on improving consumer outcomes in the building system.

Anna Cronin

Chief Executive Officer

Victorian Building Authority

Andrew Cialini

State Building Surveyor

Victorian Building Authority

In this edition…

New offences for demanding or receiving money without DBI

Changes to the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (DBC Act) and the Building Act 1993 have given the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) additional powers to penalise building practitioners if they demand or receive money under a major domestic building contract for a value above $16,000, without ensuring the domestic building work is covered by domestic building insurance (DBI).

VBA issues immediate suspension to director of Montego Homes

Last month, the VBA issued an immediate suspension to the company nominee director of Montego Homes Pty Ltd. This action was taken due to the appointment of administrators and allegations that Montego Homes Pty Ltd did not obtain domestic building insurance despite receiving almost $900,000 from consumers.

NCC changes coming into effect 1 May 2024

The next stage of the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 is coming into effect on 1 May 2024 and will involve the introduction of the following provisions:

  • New livable housing requirements
  • Updated energy efficiency and condensation mitigation requirements

Victorian regulators strengthen compliance during Bairnsdale inspection blitz (PDF, 223.24 KB)

Earlier this month, the VBA joined forces with Energy Safe, WorkSafe and the Environmental Protection Authority, to educate and inform plumbing, carpentry, and electrical apprentices as a part of the Build Aware campaign. While our inspectors were in Bairnsdale, they took the time to conduct some inspections with the other regulators.

Consultation period about CPD framework for builders and plumbers

The Department of Transport and Planning is developing mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for builders and plumbers.

A public consultation period is underway where you can have your say about the options for a CPD framework in Victoria. This consultation ends on 26 April 2024, at 5pm.

VBA prosecution of a 48-year-old Maribyrnong man

After an extensive investigation by the VBA, a 48-year-old Maribyrnong man was charged with 33 breaches of the Building Act 1993 last month.

The alleged offending is before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court and relates to his activities at 12 sites across metropolitan Melbourne.

Improving safety and compliance of heat pump hot water systems installations

Following the rapid growth in heat pump installations across Victoria, under the Solar Homes and Victorian Energy Upgrades programs, there will be an increase in site inspections and audits over the coming months.

We encourage accredited plumbers to refer to the guidance materials produced by Solar Victoria, which were reviewed by the VBA.

Latest Building Documentation Audit Report is available (PDF, 992.55 KB)

The VBA’s Building Documentation Audit Program (BDAP) is a regulatory initiative that seeks to identify and reduce non-compliant work in Victoria, through desktop reviews of building and occupancy permit documentation.

The scope of the latest report was Class 1a and 1b buildings, with a mixture of storeys located throughout Victoria.

/Public Release. View in full here.