New Building Permit Laws – Victoria

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Building permits will not be able to be issued until the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has issued a building permit number from 1 July. Under regulation changes which will also require owners to notify the VBA of the final cost of work, provide the VBA with new powers to reassess permit levies after a permit has been issued and usher in revised monthly reporting duties.

Building Permit changes introduced as part of a three-year program to reform building industry regulation, amendments to the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2018 will come into force from 1 July this year.

Under the changes:

  • Building surveyors will not be able to issue permits until the VBA has issued a building permit number (BPN).
  • Owners will be required to required to notify the VBA of changes to the final cost of work.
  • The VBA will have new powers to re-assess building permit levies after a permit has been issued; and
  • Requirements for monthly reporting duties will be changed.

These changes are designed to address difficulties for the VBA in determining whether all building permit levies which are due have been correctly remitted and to address concerns that some surveyors are retaining permit levies collected from owners for their own working capital rather than passing these on to the VBA.

The changes will also address delays in the provision of information required by the regulator due to issues which the current monthly reporting system used by surveyors.

Changes will be administered through a new online platform which the VBA is developing known as the Building Activity Management System (BAMS).

The new platform will accept applications for building permit numbers, process levy payments, issue BPNs, accept mandatory monthly reports from building surveyors and accept amendments to BPN records and building permit details.

Under the first change mentioned above, building surveyors will need to apply for a BPN and pay the permit levy using the BAMS system prior to issuing a permit.

The VBA will then have five days from receiving all information and payment to either issue or refuse a BPN.

Only once the surveyor has been notified of the issuance of a BPN via email can they issue the permit to the applicant.

Under the second change, building owners will need to monitor the cost of work and report to the VBA any revisions of the final cost within 28 days of becoming aware of these revisions.

This is necessary as variations to the building work during construction are likely to alter the overall project cost and the amount of levy which the VBA is entitled to collect.

The final change will introduce revised monthly reporting duties under Regulation 47 and the repeal of Regulation 46 (monthly levy reporting).

Under these changes, surveyors will be required to report up to 22 prescribed events in their monthly reporting requirements.

This includes building permit issuing, final inspections and mandatory notifications such as the completion of framework.

These must be reported to the VBA by the seventh of the month after the event occurs.


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