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 Victorian Government:
The dispute process for domestic building projects
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 and
- Registered builders will be given licence to construct metal roofs. Previously plumbers had an exclusive licence over such construction.
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.