New laws to strengthen Victoria’s building system – including significant fines and jail time for people found guilty of illegal building work – will be introduced into Parliament this week.
The reforms follow the recent demolition of the Corkman Hotel in Carlton and the Lacrosse apartment building fire in November 2014.
The Building Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Bill 2016 also responds to findings and recommendations from the Auditor-General’s report into relating to building practitioner registration, the building permit levy system, and the role of local government.
The Bill addresses long-standing flaws in the building system and aims to protect consumers stamp out home building malpractice and reinforce confidence in the industry.
- A maximum of five years jail or a $93,276 fine for an individual and $466,380 for a company for anyone who orders or carries out building work without a permit
- New injunction powers allowing courts to make any orders considered appropriate to intervene and prevent any building work which contravenes the Act – for example, to halt building or demolition work, require rectification works or a rebuild, or stop someone operating as a building practitioner
- New entry and information gathering powers to monitor compliance to building regulations
- Registration of corporations so that consumers can be sure of the builders they are hiring
- Stronger regulation around building inspections to make sure inspectors are qualified, that inspections happen when needed and that records are easily accessible
- Restrictions on entitlement to payment for builders who carry out domestic building work and plumbers who carry out plumbing work without being appropriately registered.
These reforms follow the Building Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Act 2016 introduced earlier this year as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s push for a fair and more accountable building system.
The changes have been developed following extensive consultation with the building industry and other stakeholders, considering the Auditor-General’s recommendations to create a stronger, fairer building system.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne
“We’re strengthening the building system so all Victorians are treated fairly and have confidence in the building industry.”
“We said we would review penalties after the Corkman pub was demolished and after the Lacrosse fire so that fines are a deterrent and not the cost of doing business in Victoria.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020