2017 – The Year Of Building Reforms

In 2017 there were many changes to legislation within the Building and Construction Industry. There were a series of amendments made to the Building Act 1993 which led to reforms which were implemented at various stages throughout 2017. These changes impacted building practitioners, building surveyors, owner-builders and consumers.


Below is an overview of the changes which were introduced in 2017.


Changes Effective 24 May 2017

  • Two new indictable offences were introduced that affect people and businesses in the business of building. This means that people and businesses who knowingly manage, arrange or carry out building work without a building permit could be prosecuted for a serious offence if they knew that a building permit was required. Therefore, any person or business can now be prosecuted for managing, arranging or carrying out building work without a permit, or not in accordance with the Act, the regulations or the building permit issued for that work. Any offence that applies to a builder will also apply to each member of a partnership, even if the member is not a builder themselves.


Changes Effective 1 July 2017


  • New Building Regulations (Building Interim Regulations 2017) were introduced that define the scope of work authorised under each class of registration for building surveyors, building inspectors and domestic builders. The regulations also outline the qualifications and experience required for each of the classes and categories of registration.
  • A building surveyor must not issue a permit for domestic building work unless the builder named in the permit is registered in the category and class that authorises them to do the proposed work.
  • Owner-builders and builders undertaking domestic building work on their own land need a Certificate of Consent unless they are registered in a category and class that authorises the planned work.
  • Owner-builders commit and offence if they enter into a major domestic building contract with someone who is not registered in a category or class that authorises them to do the work. An exception is created for corporations up to 1 July 2018 when the corporate registration scheme takes effect.
  • Builders undertaking domestic building work must ensure that the builder named in the contract and on the certificate of insurance are identical otherwise they will not be covered by the insurance.
  • A five year re-registration period was introduced for all existing and new building practitioners.



Changes Effective 1 August 2017


  • The minimum value of a domestic cost-plus contract increased from $500,000 to $1,000,000.
  • The value of the threshold amount for a major domestic building contract increased from $5,000 to $10,000. Therefore, a domestic builder or draftsperson must be registered with the VBA (Victorian Building Authority) if they perform domestic building work which costs more than $10,000 which includes all construction costs, labour and materials.



Changes Effective 16 August 2017


  • Changes to emergency orders, building notices, building orders and amended definitions as well as new penalties for body corporates (i.e. companies in the business of building).
  • New regulations compelling practitioners to maintain exits as well as safety and emergency services.
  • Increased penalties for builders non-compliance when issued with a direction to fix notice.
  • Changes to the requirement for a building owner to ensure essential safety measures.
  • Longer statute of limitation period for offence provisions.
  • New information sharing arrangements between relevant agencies to increase regulatory capacity.


There were also changes made to the Domestic Building Insurance in 2017. Read more about these changesĀ here.


We encourage all students and practitioners to regularly check the VBA website to keep up to date with all the latest news.