Lashings of red tape–particularly changes to Building Act 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?
Offences and penalties From 4th July 2016
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:
Request and copy documentation, including proof that you have owner-builder construction insurance
There are 500 penalty units if you fail to follow a written direction and 50 penalty units for compliance bribery.
Abolition of Building Practitioners Board From 1st September 2016
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. 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 or contact us for advice.
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