It is critical for all home owners engaging trades and builders to be clear about when you need a registered builder, a major domestic building contract and domestic building insurance. All too often, we get enquiries from home owners in the middle of problems with a builder who is not registered, who has not provided a proper contract and has failed to obtain building warranty insurance. These problems can be financially devastating.
You may be surprised to realise that all of the following types of work are regulated by Victorian legislation whether they are carried out by a single trade or a large building company:
- Bathroom, kitchen and laundry renovation
- Brick and block laying
- Cabinet making, joinery and stair construction
- Gates and Fences
- Non-habitable building structures
- Private bush-fire shelters
- Retaining walls
- Shade structures
- Swimming pools and spas
- Door and window replacement and installation
- Earthworks and excavation
- External wall cladding
- Footings and slab work
- Re-stumping and re-blocking
- Roof tiling
- Site works for relocation of dwelling
- Structural landscaping
If you hire a trade or builder to carry out any of the above works and the price is more than $10,000.00, then your trade must be a Registered Building Practitioner and must provide you with a Major Domestic Building Contract.
If you hire a trade or builder to carry out any of the above works and the price is more than $16,000.00, then your trade must be a Registered Building Practitioner and must provide you with a Major Domestic Building Contract and a Certificate of Domestic Building Insurance.
Check that your trade or builder is a Registered Building Practitioner
You can check if a person is a registered building practitioner by searching at:
Ensure that your trade or builder gives you a Major Domestic Building Contract
A major domestic building contract must be in writing and include all of the following matters which are set out in Part 3 of the Domestic Building Contracts Act (1995) Victoria (“Act”) including:
- All of the contract terms and conditions to apply between the builder and the owner
- A detailed description of the building works
- Plans and specifications with enough detail to obtain a building permit
- The builder and owner’s names and addresses
- The registration number of the building practitioner
- The start date or details of how to calculate the start date
- The finish date or number of days for the builder to complete
- The contract price
- The date of the contract
- Details of the domestic building insurance (warranty insurance)
- 5 day cooling off notice approved by Consumer Affairs
- The warranties in sections 8 and 20 of the Act
- A pre-contract checklist approved by Consumer Affairs
- A payment schedule that is accordance with section 40 of the Act
Insist that your trade or builder provides a Certificate of Domestic Building Insurance
- All domestic building insurance is provided by the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA).
- The VMIA operates through a fixed number of brokers identifies at https://www.dbi.vmia.vic.gov.au/builders
- You can conduct a search to ascertain if your trade is eligible to obtain domestic building insurance at https://www.dbi.vmia.vic.gov.au/building-or-renovating/Search
- You must obtain an actual certificate of insurance from you builder
Hendersons Legal provides legal services in relation to all aspects of domestic building and construction law in Victoria. Our experience has shown us that building contracts do not always meet legal requirements and can leave home owners unprotected and facing significant financial risks.
If you are thinking about entering into a major domestic building contract, Hendersons Legal has extensive experience in providing thorough and comprehensive reviews of Victorian building contracts and associated documentation. If you are in a dispute with your builder, we can act to assist resolution with the builder and when that is not possible, we can provide advice about your legal options including terminating the building contract, proceeding through the DBDRV process and litigation if necessary. Call us on (03) 9629 2211 to speak to an experienced building lawyer now.
This content is intended as commentary and should not be construed as legal advice.
For more information call Melissa Henderson on 03 9629 2211.