26 September 2023

VBA penalties add up for building breaches

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Building and plumbing practitioners breaking the rules were penalised almost a quarter of a million dollars by the State Regulator in the last financial year, with plumbing practitioners fined a record amount for failing to provide drainage inspections.

Director of Compliance and Enforcement at the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), David Brockman said total penalties valued at $226,550 were issued in 47 separate instances as a result of disciplinary action.

“The VBA conducted nearly 1,200 building and plumbing investigations last financial year, resulting in 41 plumbing practitioners and 38 building practitioners being referred for prosecution,” Mr Brockman said.

“In addition, the VBA has kept plumbers accountable by requiring them to return to site to rectify 1,080 instances of deficient plumbing work through the issue of rectification notices,” he said.

“The VBA adopts an evidence-based approach to its compliance and enforcement activity.”

Mr Brockman said that when undertaking enforcement action, the VBA took into account the seriousness of any offences committed; the disciplinary history of the practitioner; and the potential risk to life and property.

The Director said the vast majority of builders and plumbers in Victoria did the right thing but the Authority’s investigators and inspectors worked diligently to ensure that when rules were broken, practitioners were held to account.

State Building Surveyor at the VBA, Andrew Cialini said the Authority’s Plumbing Audit Program caught practitioners who took shortcuts or skipped steps to fast track a building project.

“The VBA conducts random below-ground sanitary drainage inspections of plumbing work to ensure work complies with the relevant standards, regulations and local laws as part of the Plumbing Audit Program,” Mr Cialini said.

He said the record number of 257 infringement notices issued during the past 12 months demonstrated the Program’s effectiveness.

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