Can You Build It? Yes You (Still) Can!

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Lashings of red tape–particularly changes to legislation–are rarely intriguing. But don’t be surprised if recent alterations to the Building Act have you raising your eyebrows.

If you are an owner-builder in Victoria – that is, if you’re undertaking domestic construction independent of a registered builder – these changes will affect you.

Spearheaded by The Victorian Building Authority (VBA), these revisions aim to improve the standard of domestic building works, and reduce claims on the all-important owner-builder insurance.

That sounds great on paper, but what are the changes and how can they impact you?

From 4th July 2016          

Offences and penalties

Conducting work without a permit, or breaching laws and regulations, will cop you a fine of 500 penalty units per offence. Each penalty unit is now $151.67.

Powers of VBA inspectors

 Inspectors can now enter owner-builder sites and:

  • Examine work
  • Request information
  • Request and copy documentation, including proof that you have owner-builder construction insurance

Directions to fix building work

There are 500 penalty units if you fail to follow a written direction, and 50 penalty units for compliance bribery.

From 1st September 2016

Abolition of Building Practitioners Board

The VBA has absorbed all functions and powers, including determination of owner-builder applications.

Builders cannot appoint private surveyors

It’s now an offence for builders to appoint a private surveyor for you.

Certificates of consent

  • Minimum works value have increased to $16,000
  • Budding owner-builders need to complete an eLearning assessment
  • Certificates are now limited to 1 every 5 years (although you can reapply for multiple extensions at the same property)
  • Certificates expire at 12 months if you haven’t used them to obtain a permit.

Owner-builder public register

The VBA’s public website now records owner-builder projects – that will include yours.

You can still build your dream home, but it’s important for you to be aware of these changes – especially to penalties, certificates, and inspection powers. So get informed, and get building.

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For more information about these changes, as well as on a range of issues relevant to you as an owner-builder, go to www.vba.vic.gov.au

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