On 21 June, the Building, Planning and Heritage Legislation Amendment (Administration and Other Matters) Bill 2022 (the Bill) was introduced into parliament by the Hon Richard Wynne.
The Bill seeks to make a series of legislative amendments that are geared towards reshaping the regulatory landscape in Victoria, with a key focus on consumer protection.
If the Bill becomes legislation, the amendments will modify the Building Act 1993, the Architects Act 1991, the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995, the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002, the Cladding Safety Victoria Act 2020, the Owners Corporations Act 2006 and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunals Act 1998, amongst others.
The proposed legislative amendments seek to create reforms including:
- Establish a Building Monitor;
- Formalise and strengthen the role of the State Building Surveyor;
- Strengthen and improve the governance arrangements of the Architects Registration Board of Victoria under the Architects Act;
- Strengthen information sharing between statutory entities with a role in the building regulatory framework;
- Expand the categories of building practitioner that will be required to be registered;
- Enhance the building approvals process by introducing further safeguards to better inform consumers and provide better assurance that building work is compliant;
- Clarify the power to issue restricted plumbing work licences;
- Amend the distribution of the cladding rectification levy.
Our focus of this update is the proposed establishment of a Building Monitor and the statutory role for the State Building Surveyor.
The Building Monitor will be a statutory appointment made by the Governor in Council who will advise the Minister for Planning on systemic issues and risks facing domestic building consumers.
The Building Monitor will also collect and analyse information and data to identify issues facing domestic building consumers and work collaboratively with building system entities to improve the coordination of information and better target support services. Most significantly, the Building Monitor will publish an annual Building Consumer Issues Report that will identify critical issues within the building sector. Preparation of this report will involve direct and ongoing engagement with domestic building consumers to ensure the experience of those navigating the building sector from end to end is better understood.
Establishing a statutory role for the State Building Surveyor
The State Building Surveyor (SBS) was established by the Government as an executive staff member of the VBA to provide authoritative compliance advice, technical guidance and interpretation of relevant building standards.
Through the Bill, the Government now seeks to strengthen this role through recognising it in legislation with statutory objectives and functions.
The creation of a legislated role for the SBS will enable greater focus on critical functions and thereby bolster support for industry practitioners.
The legislated role will remain within the VBA to enable economies of scale, facilitate information sharing and avoid further fragmentation of oversight within the regulatory system.
Under the Bill, the SBS will be positioned as the primary source of technical expertise and guidance for the building and plumbing industries. The SBS will encourage improvements to regulatory oversight and practices within these industries, with a particular focus on the building surveying profession and councils.
The SBS will have the power to issue binding determinations relating to technical interpretation of technical building and plumbing standards and requirements. Industry practitioners will be required to ensure that they carry out building or plumbing work, or exercise particular functions, in accordance with any relevant binding determination.
Take home points
The proposed legislative amendments seek to facilitate and improve information sharing within the current regulatory system, whilst also strengthening the ability to ensure compliance with the regulatory system.
These changes should help the Government to more efficiently and effectively identify systemic issues and risks facing the construction industry, which will hopefully in turn lead to more targeted and efficient assistance to building practitioners and consumers alike.
KCL Law will provide a further update regarding the Bill as it progresses through parliament.
For information on the Bill, including the additional proposed legislative amendments not mentioned in this article, or for advice on how the proposed changes may impact you, please contact:
This Construction and Infrastructure case note was authored by Dominic Brown, Senior Associate.
Note: This article contains general information only and is a guide which is not intended to constitute, and is not a substitute for obtaining, legal advice.