New restrictions will apply to the procurement of building permits in the Victoria region. Starting July 1, building permits will not be issued until the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has assigned a building permit number. In addition, owners will be required to notify the VBA of the final work cost, reinforcing the VBA’s new powers to reassess permit levies following the issuance of a permit and introduce revised monthly reporting duties.

Amendments to the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2018 will be prime components of a three-year program to reform building industry regulation, set to take effect starting 1 July this year.

Under these new restrictions, building surveyors will be unable to issue building permits until the VBA has assigned a building permit number (BPN). And owners will be required to notify the Victorian Building Authority of any adjustments to the final cost of project work.

In addition, the VBA will be empowered to reassess building permit levies following the issuance of a permit. In addition, requirements in regards to monthly reporting duties will be amended.

The changes are intended to remedy problems that the VBA is having in determining as to whether all building permit levies that are due have been remitted, and to address worries that certain surveyors are retaining permit levies taken from owners for the purposes of their own working capital, as opposed to passing these on to the Victorian Building Authority.

The amendments also will remedy delays in the informational provision mandated by the regulator because of issues with the surveyors’ current month by month reporting system.

These new provisions will be administered by way of a new online platform being developed by the VBA, called the Building Activity Management System (BAMS).

The new platform will take building permit number applications, process payments for levies, release BPNs, take necessary month by month reports from building surveyors, and accept BPN record amendments and building permit details.

Under these changes, building surveyors must make application for a BPN and pay the permit levy using the BAMS system before a permit can be issued.

The VBA then will have an interval of five days from the receiving of payments and info to either grant or refuse a BPN. Only after they receive notification of the issuance of a BPN via electronic mail can the surveyor grant the applicant’s permit.

In addition, building owners must keep track of the cost of their work and report any cost revisions to the VBA within 28 days from the time that they are made aware of these changes.

This is an important move, as changes in the planned project may shift the overall cost and levy charge which the VBA is entitled to receive.

The final amendment will impose revised monthly reporting duties as per Regulation 47, along with the repeal of Regulation 46, which pertains to monthly levy reporting.

In addition, surveyors will be called upon to report up to 22 prescribed events as a part of their month to month reporting mandates.

This includes the issuance of building permits, final inspections and mandatory notifications that include framework finishing. These actions must be relayed to the VBA by the seventh of the month after the event occurrence.