Building Regulations Sunset Review

DELWP released the proposed Building Regulations 2017 for consultation on 18 May 2017

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) released the proposed Building Regulations 2017 for consultation on the 18 May 2017. The full suite of consultation documentation is available by CLICKING HERE.

BDAV is formulating a response which is due by 18 July 2017, so if you are interested in contributing to this process, please notify the BDAV office at info@bdav.org.au.

Key changes to the regulations which DELWP have marked as strengthening regulations:

  • Improve reporting by a relevant building surveyor (RBS) to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). An RBS would provide more information to VBA about timeframes for building work and about obligations relevant to the work (such as about mandatory inspections, exemptions and consents granted and whether the work relates to change of use or requirements for protection work).
  • Require a RBS to inform the owner and builder a building permit is about to lapse. A RBS would be required to send them each a notice that the building permit was going to lapse in three months, if certain inspections hadn’t happened. VBA and the council would also receive a copy. The applicant could then ask the RBS for an extension to prevent their building permit lapsing.
  • Require a RBS to provide more information with a protection work notice. So owners of adjoining property are better informed about the protection work process and how the building work will affect them, the RBS would be required to record a determination in a prescribed form. The RBS would have to have regard to specific criteria when determining whether protection work was required. The notice required to be served on the adjoining owner would also be required to be in a prescribed form, and accompanied by:
    – VBA-approved guidance material about the protection work process and the procedure for resolving disputes;
    – a copy of an allotment plan showing the position of the proposed building work in relation to an adjoining property;
    – plans and specifications showing how the proposed building work might affect adjoining property and how the proposed protection work would address this risk.
  • Introduce new requirements for swimming pool and spa barriers. All swimming pools and spas would be required to have a four-sided isolation barrier that complies with the most recent Australian standard (which may require owners of older pools and spas to bring them into compliance by 1 October 2020). The Regulations would require the owner to maintain the pool and/or spa safety barrier (a requirement previously of the occupier), and the occupier would be required to take all reasonable steps (such as to notify the owner) to ensure the barrier was operating effectively.
  • Add three extra mandatory notification stages: before covering walls, floors or ceilings (to check fire resistance and the structural integrity of the framework); before covering waterproofing in wet areas; and after completing stormwater drainage system. This aims to reduce the high level of defects in some current building work.

Key changes to the regulations which DELWP have marked as updated regulations to improve administrative efficiency or to reflect changes in other legislation (eg Building Act) are:

  • Prescribed forms have been introduced to make sure that a building permit includes the information that is needed. This aims to avoid delays caused by the need to request additional information.
  • In other cases, some Regulations have been updated to include additional information that is required to achieve the objectives of the Building Act 1993, and some have been updated to reflect other Acts and schemes.
  • Fees for councils have been updated to move them towards full cost recovery. The Regulations prescribing fees will automatically revoke on 1 June 2020, which will give additional time to undertake a review of the fee regulations.

Other Regulations have been updated for clarity and consistency and to modernise the drafting of the Regulations.

Key changes to the regulations which DELWP have marked as reduced and revoked regulations to reduce regulatory burden are:

  • The current Regulations are based on the manual lodgement of documents. The proposed Regulations encourage electronic lodgement of documents by reducing the number of hard copies required when documents are lodged electronically.
  • The current Regulations require a report and consent from a council to build a shed on undeveloped land. The proposed Regulations would allow as-of-right construction of a single Class 10a building with a floor area less than 10sqm on undeveloped land. This would align with the planning system which regulates Class 10a sheds larger than 10sqm and with Schedule 8 in the current Regulations, which exempts this class of building from a building permit.
  • The Regulations prescribing fees will automatically revoke on 1 June 2020. A proposed Regulation gives additional time to undertake a review of all fee regulations. New fee Regulations will need to be made before June 2020.
  • Some provisions have been amended so that they align with other Acts and standards. Some Regulations have been revoked where there is duplication with other schemes or if the Regulation is redundant.