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Building Legislation Amendment Act 2023

The Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 passed both Houses of Parliament on 1 June 2023 and received Royal Assent on 6 June 2023, after a three year process to identify and fix issues relating to building regulation.  The Bill addresses a number of reform objectives.

The new Building Legislation Amendment Act 2023 will make a number of significant changes to the Building Act 1993, the Architects Act 1991, the Surveying Act 2004 and the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Building Monitor

The Building Monitor will be a dedicated advocate for Victorian domestic building consumers and ensure their voices are heard when decisions are made about the building industry.

The Building Monitor will access and analyse data held by government agencies to identify areas where consumers need better protection.

The Building Monitor will:

  • consult with Victorians through a consumer reference group and other forums
  • make recommendations to Government on ways to address problems faced by building consumers
  • not duplicate the work of regulators and dispute resolution agencies, which will continue to respond to individual consumer matters.

The Building Monitor will provide a voice for consumers in systemic building matters.

State Building Surveyor

The State Building Surveyor will be the main source of technical expertise for industry and practitioners. This will be a statutory position to strengthen its status and effectiveness.

The State Building Surveyor will give authoritative technical advice and have the authority to make binding determinations on the technical interpretation of building and plumbing regulations, codes and standards.

The State Building Surveyor will improve technical capability across industry and support practices resulting in safer, compliant and durable buildings.

Expanded building industry registration

The framework for building industry registration will be expanded to broaden the range of building industry practitioners that need to be registered.

This will improve regulatory oversight of practitioners, making them more accountable and providing consumers with better protection. The registration requirement will mean work is restricted to qualified, competent practitioners.

It will enable regulations to be made that set the qualifications and experience required for registration. Stakeholder consultation and impact assessments will be completed ahead of finalising these regulations.

New categories to be considered for the registration requirement are:

  • building consultants
  • site supervisors.

Two existing categories, draftsperson and project management work, will be renamed to align with national categories.

Architects Registration Board of Victoria governance

Governance arrangements for the Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV) will be updated with best practice standards.

The current industry nomination and election of ARBV board members will be replaced with a competitive and merit-based recruitment process, so the board has the skills base necessary to fulfil its core functions and statutory obligations.

All positions, including the chair and deputy chair, will be appointed by the governor in council on recommendation of the Minister for Planning.

The terms of appointment for board members will be extended from 3 to 5 years to promote longer term planning and board continuity.

These changes are to ensure the board is better equipped to function as a modern regulator and will allow for more formal strategic planning and reporting.

Strengthening information sharing

The availability of reliable, accurate and accessible information about the building industry is key to the effective regulation of the sector.

Legal barriers that prevent agencies from sharing their information with the Victorian Building Authority will be removed. This will highlight areas of greater risk for regulators to focus on and improve interactions between consumers and government agencies.

Monitoring of building issues and trends will be improved by strengthening information sharing between government agencies.

Improved information sharing will also help the Building Monitor perform its functions efficiently and effectively.

Information statements

Building surveyors will be required to provide an information statement to the owner of the building or land within 10 working days of issuing a building permit.

This will address concerns over the lack of consumer understanding about the role and functions of building surveyors in the building permit process.

Regulations will be made to prescribe the form of the information statement and the information it must contain.

Building manual

A new requirement will be introduced for a building manual to be created and maintained for each new building. Regulations will be made to determine which buildings this should apply to and what information should be collected, taking stakeholder views into account.

The building manual will serve as a single repository of all relevant information relating to a building’s construction and subsequent building works, including maintenance.

This aims to improve safety for occupants by strengthening regulatory oversight. Centralised, readily accessible design and construction documentation can assist with decisions made during the building’s operational lifetime.

The ready availability of comprehensive documentation may also assist owners and owners corporations to identify building defects early in the building’s life and have them addressed. The owner or owners’ corporation will be required to keep the manual and update it.

Cladding rectification

Distribution of the cladding rectification levy will be amended to provide greater flexibility in the way it can be used to support homeowners and residents affected by combustible cladding. The changes will allow government to apply levy funding to rectification activity that occurs outside of Cladding Safety Victoria’s work.

Learn more about the cladding rectification program.

Review of Victoria's building system

An expert panel is undertaking a comprehensive review of Victoria’s building system.

The Expert Panel is currently in its third and final Stage of work.

For Stage Three of its review, the Expert Panel has been asked to advise the Government on a framework for a new Building Act for Victoria. The Panel will deliver its advice in the first half of 2024.

The Government will consider the Expert Panel’s advice and opportunities for stakeholder engagement as part of any future review and rewrite of the Building Act.

Find out more about the review of the Victorian Building System.

Previous building reform initiatives

The building reform program has targeted:

  • Supporting education and training system reforms: a range of short–term changes to the education and training system that will increase the supply of building surveyors to meet current and future needs.
  • Strengthening the role of the State Building Surveyor: redefining the role to play a more direct role in oversight of the building surveying profession.
  • Establishing a building consumer information and support service: giving building consumers access to information they need to understand and navigate the building sector from start to finish of a building project.
  • Supporting improvements in industry compliance: providing increased guidance and improved transparency of building inspection activity.
  • Promoting consumer awareness about building consultants: provide consumers with accessible information about the role of building consultants, including their participation in disputes over building.

Building trades registration and licensing scheme

A key element of the government’s building industry reform agenda is a program to register or license all tradespeople employed in the building industry. The scheme will incorporate a broad range of building trades, such as carpenters, bricklayers and plasterers.

Learn more about this reform at Engage Victoria.

Legislative reform

The government is progressively implementing a program of legislative reform including:

Page last updated: 27/03/24