The Victorian Building Authority has provided the following update on company registration for building practitioners, which comes into effect from 1 July 2018.
On Thursday, 21 June 2018, the VBA sent an email to approximately 6,500 companies with their new registration details. The purpose of this email is to allow companies to prepare for the 1st July changes, pending receipt of their certificate of registration in early July. The VBA will be uploading approximately 1,500 companies into their CRM over the weekend of 23-24 June 2018 – these companies will receive the same email on Monday.
Companies whose registration expiry takes place in July or August due to a nominee director expiry were sent an email on Friday, 14 June 2018, advising that their company’s registration will expire soon, even though it’s just been registered. The VBA has asked these practitioners to reply ‘yes’ to the email if they want to apply for renewal, meaning the company registration will continue, pending a decision by the VBA. The VBA has waived the renewal fee and late fee for these companies and will send them a renewal form in the next few weeks. The VBA has already had a high response rate from practitioners replying ‘yes’.
Practitioners will be aware that renewal of registration applications are now required to be lodged with the VBA at least three months prior to expiry. A late fee of $110 is payable for late applications. If applications are lodged prior to expiry and the late fee is paid, the registration will remain current until the VBA makes a decision.
Companies whose annual fee and insurance check is due in July or August were also sent an email Friday, 14 June 2018, advising that their company’s annual fee and insurance check is due soon. The annual fee and insurance check date is also aligned with the nominee director’s due date. The VBA will waive the annual fee for these companies.
There will be changes from 1 July in how the VBA suspends practitioners who fail to comply with the annual fee and insurance requirements. Currently, practitioners must be suspended under s172(3) for failing to comply with the requirements. From 1 July 2018, this power is removed and will be required to be dealt with through the disciplinary process as a ground for immediate suspension (s180). Practitioners failing to pay their annual fee and provide proof of required insurance will receive a ‘show cause’ notice in the first instance and given the opportunity to comply with the requirements of the Act prior to the immediate suspension taking effect. Practitioners will be given reminders of their annual obligations commencing approximately six weeks prior to the due date, as per the existing process.
The VBA anticipates this will have minimal impact on practitioners in a practical sense, and most will just pay the fee and provide proof of insurance once a ‘show cause’ is received. However, the letters received will be more formal and legalistic in order to comply with the requirements of the Act and disciplinary process.
Further to some recent discussion regarding improving the VBA’s police check process, from 1 July 2018, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) have made changes to the documents that will be accepted in support of police checks. The 100 points of ID system will no longer be valid and it will be replaced with a new system requiring 4 pieces of ID. The VBA’s existing provider has introduced a system where applicants will no longer have to complete a police check form as part of their application. Instead, once the VBA has received an application, they will send the applicant a link with instructions for them to complete their police check. Once completed, the VBA will be able to access the results online.
The VBA will be implementing this change as soon as possible, and processing any existing police check forms received as a priority. However, there may be some practitioners who lodge their applications after 1 July 2018 using the old police check process. These practitioners will need to complete another police check using the new process. The VBA will contact these practitioners to explain the change and send them a link to complete the new process.
The VBA will continue to look at ways to make the police check process more efficient.