Building Act 1993
VCAT can review certain decisions made by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) under the Building Act 1993.
This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you're unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.
Building Act 1993 provides for the regulation of building and plumbing work, practitioners and standards in Victoria. The Act also provides for an accreditation and permit scheme across the building and plumbing industries.
Cases we can hear
We can review decisions by the VBA about the licensing and registration of building practitioners and plumbers and associated matters, such as decisions to:
- refuse to grant or renew a licence or registration
- take disciplinary action (eg. issuing a reprimand, imposing a penalty, or suspending or cancelling a licence or registration)
- immediately suspend registration of a building practitioner
- impose conditions on a licence or registration (other than prescribed conditions)
- direct or make a recommendation to a building surveyor
- make declarations about any provision of, or modification to, the plumbing regulations.
We can also review a decision of the VBA (or failure to make a decision) about an owner-builder certificate of consent in relation to domestic building work.
VCAT's Building and Property List can also review certain decisions by the Victorian Building Authority about building permits, plumbing rectification notices, plumbing orders and managerial appointments for a private building surveyor's business.
Cases we can't help with
We can’t accept some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation.
Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications
Sections 25J, 186, 187ZI and 221ZZZP of the Building Act 1993
If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.
Documents you need to apply
You need to provide a copy of the decision letter from the VBA with your application.
Time limits may apply depending on the decision to be reviewed. VCAT has power to extend the time limits below.
If you apply outside of the time limit, VCAT may extend the time for making an application. You must ask for an extension of time by indicating this on the ‘extension of time’ question of the application form and briefly explaining why your application was late.
Decisions affecting building practitioners
For a review of a VBA decision about a building practitioner, you must apply:
- within 14 days if you originally applied for an internal review with the VBA
- in any other case, within 28 days after the reviewable decision or review decision is made.
Decisions affecting plumbers
No time limits apply.
Decisions about owner-builder certificates of consent
No time limits apply to these decisions.
What can VCAT order?
- affirm the decision under review, in which case that decision will stand
- vary or amend the decision
- substitute our own decision.
For decisions about plumbers and owner-builder certificates of consent, VCAT may also set aside the decision under review and remit the matter to the VBA to reconsider.
Putting the decision under review on hold
Except for a decision to immediately suspend the registration of a building practitioner, lodging an application for review of a decision affecting a building practitioner will put that decision on hold until VCAT has made its decision.
For immediate suspensions, decisions affecting plumbers and all other decisions we can review, you must apply for a stay order if you want the decision put on hold. You will need to indicate this on the application form.
You should ask the VBA if they agree to any stay. If the VBA does not agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant a stay.
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We can't give you legal advice. This means we can't tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you're unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You don't need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you want to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.
Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.