The Victorian Coalition Government has today introduced legislation into Parliament to implement reforms that will deliver far reaching improvement to the building system for Victorian consumers and builders.
This Bill amends the Building Act 1993, the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 and the Architects Act 1991 to further implement the most significant reforms to the building system since the introduction of the current Building Act.
“These reforms will improve the regulatory framework for domestic building work, from the earliest stages of permit application right through to the timely and effective resolution of disputes,” Minister for Planning Matthew Guy said.
The Bill will give effect to the Government’s Domestic Building Consumer Protection Reform Strategy, and provides for:
• a one-stop-shop for building practitioner regulation and domestic building consumer protection;
• improved dispute resolution procedures, including the introduction of Rectification Orders to quickly and effectively resolve domestic building disputes;
• better and more accessible insurance cover until 30 June 2015, with a new Domestic Building Consumer Protection Fund to commence from 1 July 2015;
• improved building practitioner registration standards, oversight and discipline of non-performing building practitioner; and
• better and more accessible information for consumers.
The Bill also introduces measures that address issues raised by the Victorian Auditor-General and the Victorian Ombudsman including improvements to:
• the building permit application process;
• the building levy collection system;
• the regulation of building surveyors including the clarification of the roles and responsibilities between building surveyors and local government; and
• the powers of the Victorian Building Authority to deliver effective regulation.
“These reforms recognise that the current system is not working as well as it should for either consumers or for builders,” Minister for Finance Robert Clark said.
“It can be far too difficult for consumers to get justice when a builder does the wrong thing. Builders who give the industry a bad name are too often not being held to account, while honest, capable and hard-working builders can be tied up with insurance paperwork and lengthy disputes with unreasonable clients.
“The reforms improve the quality and accountability of the industry’s practitioners and improve protections offered both to consumers and to honest and capable practitioners.”
Minister for Consumer Affairs Heidi Victoria welcomed the Government’s reforms to improve consumer protection in Victoria.
“These reforms will ensure greater protection for consumers engaging with builders and will enhance consumer and industry confidence in Victoria’s building system,” Ms Victoria said.