The Parliament of Victoria has recently passed the first piece of legislation to give effect to the Government's commitment to improve protection from home building malpractice. The legislation responds to issues identified by the Victorian Auditor-General's Office and the Victorian Ombudsman.
The Building Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Act 2016 amends the Building Act 1993 and the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 to:
- reform domestic building dispute resolution by establishing a mandatory conciliation system under Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV).
- allow DBDRV to issue binding rectification orders to builders and owners to facilitate dispute resolution.
- transfer responsibility for registration of builders from the Building Practitioners Board to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA).
- introduce streamlined show cause disciplinary arrangements for builders.
- provide for scopes of work so as to more clearly indicate what work a builder is authorised to carry out under their registration.
- introduce time-limited registrations.
- strengthen prohibitions on building surveyors operating under conflicts of interest.
- prohibit builders from appointing building surveyors.
- require owner-builders to complete training courses.
- enable audits of owner-builder work.
- increase the period between owner-builder projects from 3 years to 5 years.
- improve education of owner-builders and strengthen requirements for tradespeople engaged by owner-builders to be registered.
- enable the VBA to appoint a manager to building surveyors' businesses in certain circumstances.
- ensure the completeness of building permit applications through the lodgement of checklists.
- improve information provision for consumers through the development of contract information statements.
The reforms will be progressively introduced in 2016 and the first half of 2017.