Review of the Building Regulations 2006

The Victorian Government has completed the sunset review of the Building Regulations 2006 in accordance with the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994.

As part of the review, the Victorian Government held a public consultation on a regulatory impact statement (RIS) and the Draft Building Regulations 2017 from 18 May to 18 July in 2017.

Building Regulations 2018

As a result of the review, the Minister for Planning recommended that that the Building Regulations 2018 be made.

A Notice of Decision, which explains the issues raised in the submissions to the RIS process and the reasons for the final decision, is available below.

The new Building Regulations 2018, which commence on the 2 June 2018 are available at www.legislation.vic.gov.au

What are the proposed changes?

Industry has assisted the Victorian Government to review the Building Regulations 2006 and to improve them to make them fairer, clearer and more complete.

The changes will improve the documentation of permits to improve information for the building industry regulator, the general public and building owners.

Comments to the review also identified that there are incidents of the non-compliant use of lightweight fire rated construction in buildings.

The new Regulations are designed to address the inappropriate installation of:

  • lightweight fire resistant construction in multi-storey residential buildings, and
  • fire and smoke resistant service penetrations multi-storey residential and healthcare buildings.

Information resources about the changes:

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) as the building industry regulator will be progressively rolling out more detailed information and guidance on the new Building Regulations 2018.

VBA will be providing industry seminars, practice notes and fact sheets, and key documents will be published prior to the Regulations commencing and other documents will follow. Information will be available at www.vba.vic.gov.au.

Other reforms underway

The Building Regulations Sunset Review was substantially undertaken before the establishment of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce. While the Building Regulations 2018 will introduce a new mandatory notification stage relating to fire compartments in multi-storey residential and healthcare buildings, reforms related directly to cladding are being addressed through reforms and the state-wide audit arising from the Victorian Cladding Taskforce.

In response to feedback regarding improvements to pool safety, the Victorian Government is evaluating options for legislative reform to enhance compliance and safety for existing swimming pool and spa barriers. A proposal for regulations to require owners to upgrade their barrier to the latest standard is to be deferred, as feedback indicated the legislative amendment to enhance compliance would be a more effective approach.

The Victorian Government has a program of industry reform to address complaints and improve the industry’s performance. The government has been improving the regulatory framework with amendments to the Building Act and new Regulations.

This table shows the main steps in this process so far and those proposed over the next year.

When

Step

April 2016

Building Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Act 2016 enacted

May 2017

Building Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Act 2017 enacted

4 June 2017

Building Interim Regulations 2017 replaced the Building Regulations 2006

1 July 2017

Remaining changes under the Building Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Act 2016 commenced and parts of consequential Building Amendment Regulations 2017 commenced

31 January 2018

Changes under the Building Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Act 2017 commenced and consequential Buiding Amendment (Powers of Entry and Other Matters) Regulations 2017 commenced

1 July 2018

Further consequential Regulations will commence

The Building Regulations 2018 incorporate the above changes made to the Principal Regulations (the Building Interim Regulations 2017) since the RIS was released for public consultation in May 2017. For summary information about those changes, see:

Next steps in the review

Evaluation

To ensure that Victorian Regulations are continuously improved, the Subordinate Legislation Act provides that all regulations expire 10 years after they are made. This provides for routine review of regulations. The Department is preparing for the next phase of the review cycle.

The Victorian Guide to Regulation requires that any RIS includes an evaluation strategy to ‘put in place a mechanism that will enable the Government to explain how, and how well the preferred option has worked in practice, and to drive continuous improvement of regulatory arrangements over time.’

The evaluation strategy set out in the Building Regulations 2017 RIS included the following evaluation steps:

When

Step

2017-18

Commence the evidence improvement project with the agreement with agencies, the VBA and stakeholders

2017-18

Develop two policy papers on priority topics each year for three years

Review of fees

The Building Regulations 2018 also included changes to bring local council fees closer to full cost recovery. The fee Regulations will operate until 1 July 2020, which will provide for a review of all fees. The VBA and Building Appeals Board fees will stay the same until this review is completed.

More information

For more information about the Building Regulations Sunset Review, email building.submission@delwp.vic.gov.au.