How to become a Registered Building Practitioner in Victoria
By James O’Donnell, Solicitor, Lovegrove Smith & Cotton
If you are considering becoming a registered as a building practitioner in Victoria, it is important you take the time and effort to ensure that all steps of the application process are followed. One of the first steps to consider is whether or not you are eligible.
When registration is a must
An individual must be a registered building practitioner with the Victorian Building Practitioners Board (BPB) to be able to carry out the following building work:
engage in building work under a contract worth more than $5000;
re-blocking, re-stumping, demolition or removing a house, irrespective of the value of this work;
any commercial building work which requires a building permit.
However, if the individual carries out domestic building work whilst employed by a corporation, a director of that corporation must be a registered as a building practitioner under a relevant category.
If you are not a registered building practitioner, you must not enter a contract to undertake work which requires a registered building practitioner nor undertake the work as it is an offence to do so.
When registration is not required
Registration as a building practitioner with the Victoria BPB is not required for undertaking only one of the following:
- plumbing work (however, an individual needs to be licenced or registered with the VBA in each class of plumbing work they will be undertaking i.e. gasfitting, drainage, fire protections
- electrical work (however, an individual needs to be licenced or registered with Energy Safe Victoria in each class of electrical work they will be undertaking i.e. supervised worker’s licence,
restricted electrical workers licence etc.)
- tiling (walls and floors)
- connecting external fixtures (security screens, awning and balustrades)
- erecting a mast, pole, antenna or aerial
However, you must register in the event that you are undertaking a combination of two or more of the above skills be able to complete the works.
Monitoring, ability and relevant skill-set
The purpose of the BPB is to manage the registration system and to monitor the conduct and ability of registered building practitioners.
The BPB has to screen all applications to ensure that the individual has the requisite skill, knowledge qualifications and are is a current holder of domestic building insurance.
The BPB only registers individuals and not businesses and companies. An individual will only be registered on the basis of their qualifications and experience.
There are 9 categories of building practitioners in Victoria which are defined under the Building Regulations 2006 and the Building (Qualifications) Regulations 1996 prescribe the qualifications and experience, categories and classes for building practitioners. Those 9 categories are as follows:
- erector or supervisor (temporary structures – Class 1 and 2).
- domestic builders (unlimited/limited/manager)
- quantity surveyors
- building surveyors
- building inspectors (unlimited/limited)
- engineers (civil/mechanical/electrical/fire safety)
- draftspersons (building design – architectural, interior, services)
- commercial builders (unlimited/limited)
- demolishers (low-rise buildings/medium-rise buildings/unlimited)
Registering with the Building Practitioners Board
If you believe that you have the requisite skills, experience and qualifications to consider becoming a registered building practitioner, you must:
- accurately complete and submit your application
- nominate the registration class and code you are seeking to be registered in and enclose all your supporting documentation
- provide the appropriate application fee and proof that you hold the requisite builder’s insurance
- statutory declaration
- National Police Check
- satisfy the Board of your ‘good character’
Common areas where most applicant’s gain scrutiny from the Building Practitioners Board
Many applicants who have made an application to the Building Practitioners Board have been required to provide further information to satisfy Board. In making consideration of an applicant’s suitability to be registered in the category or class they have applied for, the Board considers the applicant’s character history. Issues which many applicants face when applying to become a registered building practitioner include the following:
- having demonstrated honesty and fairness in dealing with one’s own and clients finances and professional dealings;
- when dealing with registration and regulatory authorities, that you have acted forthrightly, honestly and with candour;
- establishing a high degree of organisation and clarity which includes the ability to comply with deadlines and time limitations etc.
If individuals are considering applying for registration as a building practitioner, have been requested by the Board to “show cause” by providing further information, or have had an application refused, you should engage with a construction lawyer to assist you in putting your best case forward
The BPB also conduct sessions to assist individuals seeking to apply for registrations. This can be booked via telephone 1300 815 127.