New Building Laws

Have you ever found yourself looking at a new building contract and wondering what it all means?

Next door to my place here in Silverwood’s a new home is being built and I went to have a chat to the painter and walked inside to see that the concrete slab already had hairline fractures. I don’t expect the owner will find out as tiles or carpet will be overlaid until one day when there is a major earth movement.

But the issue of building construction and the rights of the owners have long been difficult issues to resolve in Victoria. Building Owners Warranty insurance has been a joke so it’s good to see that some changes are being made to start 1st July 2016.

Did you know that the Victorian government has introduced New Building Laws by a Bill which contains wide sweeping changes to the Building Act 1993 (Vic) and the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995? The Building Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Bill 2015 (Vic) received royal assent on 19 April 2016.

According to a media release by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) on 11 December 2015, the VBA welcomes the reforms and believes they will “. . . strengthen the protections afforded to consumers and ensure the quality of buildings across Victoria”. Important changes contained in the New Building Laws include:

  • establishment of a new dispute resolution service –see Part 2 Division 1 and Division 10
  • abolition of the Building Practitioners Board – see ss17 and 18
  • strengthening of builder registration requirements –see Part 3 Division 3
  • a new measure ensuring owner-builders are appropriately qualified – see Part 3 Division 4
  • a builder will no longer be entitled to appoint a building surveyor for the owner – see Part 3 Division 5.

So if you are building have a clear think about the contract and the materials used most importantly the slab construction method. If you want some helpful advice to manage your contract, please give us a call. You can view the legislation here