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Building News

Keep up to date with the latest industry news.

Changes to BRAC building product accreditations

25 November 2020

From 1 December 2020, important changes to accreditations by the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) will be introduced.

One function of BRAC is to accredit building products, construction methods, designs, components or systems connected with building work.

For more information, visit the VBA's website here.

New power to suspend plumbing registrations

20 November 2020

New legislation coming into force on 1 December 2020 will give the VBA the power to immediately suspend the licence or registration of a plumber if it is in the public’s interest to do so.

For more information visit the VBA website here.

Gas Installation Works, Repairs and Maintenance

19 November 2020

Any plumber who is performing new gas installation works, repairs, maintenance is reminded to keep their skills relevant. Refresher courses, webinars and training (if needed) are available from Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) and Master Plumbers (Victoria). The Victorian Building Authority through its Plumbing Inspectorate is now finalising options for supporting all plumbers involved in those construction activities.

For more information on the recent case of a Plumber in Victoria pleading guilty to poor gas heater installation click here.

Mandatory Stage Inspections - Holiday Period

17 November 2020

Council Building Unit wishes to advise all existing customers – builders, owner builders, and developers that we will schedule bookings for mandatory stage inspection bookings up to Friday 11 December 2020.

This will allow for reporting, necessary adjustments, and reinspections if critical before the Christmas holiday period sets in for builders. Council offices will be closed from 24 December 2020 through to 4 January 2021.

Non critical reinspections will be scheduled after Monday 4 January 2021.

Prosecution a lesson to builders to always follow the rules

11 November 2020

A Victorian builder has learnt the hard way that carrying out building work without a permit and doing plumbing work without a licence, can result in a hefty fine.

Find out more here.

Victorians urged to prepare their homes for fire season

10 November 2020

As temperatures rise and summer approaches, the state’s building regulator is urging Victorians to prepare their homes for the 2020-21 fire season.

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) wants Victorians to take the necessary steps now to make sure they are protected from bushfires.

Visit the VBA for more information - click here.

Changes to the issuing of building permits

4 November 2020

New rules coming into effect on 1 December 2020 require building surveyors to check whether the name of a builder and any partnership they are involved with match the corresponding names on a major domestic building contract and certificate of insurance.

Click here for more information.

Domestic Building Registration Information Session

10 November 2020

If you are a domestic builders wanting to register as either an unlimited or limited domestic builder - this VBA online information session is for you. Information will also be provided on registering a company to practise. Visit VBA for more information.

Sessions will be held in for potential draftsperson for building services, and other drafting aspects, potential building surveyors, building inspectors and draftsperson (building design architectural) in 2021. Contact VBA directly for more information.

Compliance for drainage inspections

27 October 2020

The VBA is resuming proactive plumbing inspections following the easing of restrictions, with travel from CBD into the regions recommencing from 8 November 2020.

Plumbers can find out more on drainage inspections and compliance here.

Decoding Building and Plumbing Terms

19 October 2020

With building and plumbing terms differing from state to state, Standards Australia and the Australian Building Codes Board have launched an online dictionary to help when words get lost in translation.

For more information visit the VBA here.

Fee relief for those builders and plumbers who need it most

12 October 2020

Builders and plumbers can seek fee relief/waiver from the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) on a range of fees and charges for a range of services, licensing and more.

For more information visit the VBA here.

Check for licensed practitioners - Plumber fined $4,900 over faulty gas installation

7 October 2020

As we head into the summer period, and holiday season where renovations are scheduled to start on our properties, the Victorian Building Authority reminds all residents that plumbing work must be carried out by a licensed and registered building practitioner. It is important to do due diligent by first checking their name on the VBA website – under Practitioner Search. In addition, there is also a Practitioner Disciplinary Register for additional information on the history of each plumber you wish to engage in a plumbing contract.

Equally, the Victorian Building Authority asks that all plumbers to take responsibility for quality of their work, and full compliance of their work to the National Construction Code, Australian Standards and applicable state legislation affecting their line of work. Each plumber remain responsible for their work even after a Certificate of Compliance is issued for plumbing works, and the building surveyor has finalised the building permit.

Plumbing non-compliance – including but not limited to gasfitting works can be hazardous and have deadly consequences.

Community concerns on unlicensed plumbers, dangerous plumbing works or non-compliance plumbing installations can be directed to the Victorian Building Authority. Council Municipal Building Surveyor can also be contacted for advice on plumbing matters.

Visit the VBA for more information.

Estimating the cost of works for your Building Permit Application

30 September 2020

The cost of works is a very important component of your application for a building permit. Council encourages all builders to assist owners/applicants by providing estimation for cost of works that is as accurate as possible.

The VBA expects all building surveyors, including Council, to review the cost of works reported on each building permit application to ensure that the price is comparable to other similar projects in Victoria, and that there is sufficient information to justify the cost of works.

If a price is substantially lower than the price normally payable for the building project, Council may ask you to provide a written cost breakdown of each component of the project.

In simple terms, the cost of works for a building permit is made up of:

 Cost of materials such as timber posts, roof truss etc.
 Cost of equipment hire/tools such as excavators, truck hire
 Cost of other building practitioners – consultant fees, engineer fees etc.
 Cost of labour including your own if you intend to operate as an owner builder, as a best estimate of the time taken to complete the project. This will also include occasional help from a friend, and volunteers for community projects.

The VBA collects a levy on building works which is payable at the outset of a building permit application, and lodged through an online system hosted by the VBA. Payment of the VBA levy will generate a permit number which will be included on the building permit issued to you. Changes to cost of works during a project are to be reported to the VBA, and a revised levy advice will be issued for payment from the VBA.

The VBA conducts random audits on building permits across Victoria, and levy calculation/estimation is part of the audit process.
You can estimate the VBA levy payable for your project by following the link: https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/surveying/building-permits/building-permit-levy

Victorian Builders and Plumbers on notice as auditors continue site visits

18 September 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, VBA inspectors and plumbing auditors continued to visit sites across Victoria as construction industry remains an essential industry in regional Victoria. Geelong region is the first area targeted by VBA on their pro-active inspection program for 2020-2021.

Over the next few months, other regions will be selected including the Grampians. The inspections carried out in Geelong highlighted a lapse in compliance, and some items discovered can have potential to cause severe financial impact for owners.

Community members who have concerns about their own projects, or other projects that may have building non-compliance may contact the Municipal Building Surveyor for a confidential discussion. Alternatively contact can be made directly to the VBA through 1300 815 127 or https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/contact/online?t=4.

Visit the Victorian Building Authority for the full media release.

VBA Inspectors visiting sites across Victoria

18 September 2020

During Covid19 pandemic, VBA inspectors and plumbing auditors continued to visit sites across Victoria as construction industry remains an essential industry in regional Victoria.

The following media coverage from VBA highlighted the importance of registered builders to supervise their work sites, or least to have a builder rostered on site that is capable of making decisions. Labourers, contractors, employees and sub-contractors must be supervised at all times.

The other key messages from the VBA are Work Safe Victoria Guidelines on Construction Site must be adhered to at all times, including working at height, safety harness and procedures, fall prevention measures and procedures, and like. Builders are encouraged to contact Work Safe Victoria if in doubt.

It is important to ensure that scaffolding is properly installed, and tagged for its purpose. Scaffolding collapses have been occurring frequently in 2020, and Work Safe in conjunction with VBA are targeting non –compliance on work sites across Victoria.

Community members who have concerns about their own projects, or other projects that may have building non-compliance may contact the Municipal Building Surveyor for a confidential discussion. Alternatively contact can be made directly to the VBA through 1300 815 127 or https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/contact/online?t=4.

Visit the Victorian Building Authority for the full media release.


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