The Victorian Government revealed a number of red tape
reforms recently in an attempt to reduce escalating costs and boost
efficiency in the Victorian building industry.
Thirty-six reforms were announced, covering a wide variety of
areas, including building and construction, farming and fishing,
tourism and the mining sector. Within the building and construction
industry, the following two key reforms were flagged by the
The dispute process for domestic building
The Victorian Building Authority ("the VBA") will be
granted sole responsibility for the resolution of complaints in
relation to domestic building projects. Previously the VBA shared
this responsibility with Consumer Affairs Victoria, which attracted
criticism due to subsequent confusion and delays in the resolution
process. The new arrangement provides a clear and defined process
for resolving domestic building complaints and is intended to
result in reduced costs and delays.
Defects in commercial buildings
Commercial builders will now no longer be required to obtain
defects insurance. The move serves as recognition by the Victorian
Government that commercial building owners have the ability to
manage their own risks for building projects. This ought to provide
substantial relief to builders, who will see a reduction in
administrative and insurance costs. This reform brings Victoria
into line with all the other states, which have previously
abandoned the defects insurance requirement.
In addition to these changes, further reforms affecting the
building and construction industry included:
Easing of the requirement for council consent for the
construction of walls on or near boundaries. The maximum average
height for walls not requiring council consent will be increased
from 3.0m to 3.2m;
The introduction of flexibility to the arrangements for the
signing of building permits, which can now be signed by
corporations and qualified surveyors in certain circumstances;
Registered builders will be given licence to construct metal
roofs. Previously plumbers had an exclusive licence over such
All of these reforms are intended to reduce costs and delays
surrounding building projects, which had become blocked by red tape
and paperwork. Therefore, quicker turnaround times for building
projects can be expected, without any negative impact on the
quality or safety of such projects. Overall these changes will
benefit both builders and owners.
The Victorian Government has flagged its intent to implement
these reforms by July 2014, so watch this space for further
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