The Vic Government has just passed a bill that changes a few things in relation to contracts with clients.

Changes will apply from the 1 September 2016.

Builders can no longer directly appoint building surveyors.

The amendments to the Act will prohibit a builder from acting as the owner’s agent in the appointment of the private building surveyor (PBS). The information about the role of the PBS must be provided by the builder to the owner in the form of a Domestic Building Consumer Guide (see below). The owner must now formally appoint the building surveyor in writing, however the builder will be able to make a recommendation to the owner for a building surveyor.

The building contract may still allow the builder to obtain the building permit on behalf of the owner if it is via the local municipal building surveyor.

Builders will be required to provide a domestic building consumer guide to owners before they enter into a major domestic building contract. The guide will emphasize the importance of the building surveyor exercising his or her statutory functions in an independent manner and will provide information about the responsibilities of each party in the building process.

Diverse Builders believes this is a positive step for the Industry, after all, the Building Surveyor performs important checks on building work and this is necessary for consumer protection. By ensuring Building Surveyors are totally independent it prevents any conflicts of interest and puts more onus on the Building Surveyor, and as a consequence, the builder, to ensure that works are completed to the appropriate required levels.

Diverse clients will not have the hassle of lodging the Building Permit as we will be able to complete and lodge the application on their behalf. Clients will only need to complete a form nominating whom they wish the Surveyor to be after reading the domestic building consumer guide.