The Victorian Government has introduced legislation to strengthen consumer building protection and improve the resolution of domestic building disputes.
The reforms introduced through the Building Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Bill 2015 include:
- the establishment of a new dispute resolution service
- the introduction of a new streamlined disciplinary process for building practitioners
- the abolition of the Building Practitioners Board, with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) to become responsible for the registration and discipline of building practitioners
- the requirement for building practitioners to demonstrate maintenance of competency on renewal of registration
- the prohibition of builders from appointing building surveyors
- the tightening of laws around owner-builders
- greater clarity around owner and builder responsibilities
- empowering the VBA to approve codes of conduct for building practitioners
- the requirement of builders to provide an information statement to a domestic building consumer before a domestic building contract is entered into.
The Building Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Bill 2015 is the first stage of the reform process to address flaws in the domestic building system, as identified by the Victorian Auditor General.
Further measures to improve the regulatory regime will follow in 2016 and include expanding the registration requirements to corporations, making information on building practitioners' registration and disciplinary history more accessible to consumers and improvements to the building permit levy collection system.
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