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Department of Justice

Building Regulatory Framework Review

Overview - New Building Legislation 2017

From 1 January 2017 Tasmania has new laws regulating:

  • building and plumbing work;
  • licensing of people in the building industry; and
  • residential building contracts.

The new Building Act takes a risk-based approach to building approvals so low risk building, plumbing and demolition work, and some medium risk work, can be done without seeking a building permit from the Council.

If you are planning to do some building work, read the Fact Sheet - Consumer Guide - Low Risk Building and Plumbing Work (pdf, 166.6 KB) to find out what you can do without getting a Council permit.

The new laws are:

The new Regulations are:

Download:

  1. Building Regulations 2016 (pdf, 610.3 KB) (includes plumbing regulations)
  2. Occupational Licensing (Building Services Work) Regulations 2016 (pdf, 358.5 KB) (regulating licensing of building practitioners. It is to be made under the Occupational Licensing Act 2005)
  3. Residential Building Work Contracts and Dispute Resolution Regulations 2016 (It is to be made under the Residential Building Work Contracts and Dispute Resolution Act 2016)

Resources

Download:

Information has been sent to all practitioners and is available at Building Legislation 2016 Resources.

Do you have a question about the new legislation? First, look at our Frequently Asked Questions to see if we have already provided an answer.

Building Act 2016

Building Act 2016

Changes to approvals

For new building, plumbing and demolition work, there is a new approach to the way approvals are granted to owners before work can start. There is a new division of all building, plumbing and demolition work into broad 'risk categories'.

The Director of Building Control has released Determinations. These are documents which decide the types of work and corresponding risk category. The level of risk decides the approval process required.

The Building Act 2016 takes a risk-based approach to building approval.

Determinations and Guidelines

The Director of Building Control approved the following Determinations and Guidelines:

Download:

  1. Determination - Director's Specified List Dec 2016 v1.0 (PDF, 1.2 MB)
  2. Determination - Categories of Building and Demolition Work Dec 2016 v1.1 (PDF, 350.1 KB)
  3. Determination - Categories of Plumbing Work Dec 2016 v1.0 (pdf, 298.9 KB)
  4. Determination - Required Maintenance of Plumbing Installations Dec 2016 v1.0 (pdf, 305.1 KB)
  5. Determination - Certificates by Qualified Persons for Assessable Items Dec 2016 v1.0 (pdf, 367.4 KB)
  6. Determination - Fire Hazard Materials Dec 2016 v1.0 (pdf, 152.4 KB)

Guidelines

  1. Guidelines - Inspection of Plumbing Work Dec 2016 v1.0
    (pdf, 165.7 KB)
  2. Guidelines - On-site Waste Water Managements Systems Dec 2016 v1.0 (pdf, 1.3 MB)

Resources for Plumbers

  1. Guide for Plumbers - Building Act 2016 (pdf, 1.1 MB)
  2. Guidelines for determining the category of plumbing work (pdf, 168.0 KB)

More information

Download:

New approvals process (risk categories)

New approvals process (risk categories)

The Building Act 2016 takes a risk-based approach to building approval.

Building work

Risk categories Examples Approval process Who can do the work
Low risk work
  • fences
  • low decks
  • farm sheds
  • carports
No permit or approval for performing building work.

May require planning approval
Most work can be carried out by an owner. Some larger projects can be carried out only by a licensed builder without a building permit

Medium risk work (notifiable work)

  • A detached house or unit that does not need planning approval
  • Residential alterations or extensions
An application (Notice of Work) made to a building surveyor, for a Certificate of Likely Compliance Can be carried out by a licensed builder with regulatory oversight by a building surveyor.
Council will need to be notified that the work is taking place but doesn't need to give approval.
High risk work
(Permit work)
  • Commercial, industrial or public buildings, residential buildings that need a planning permit
  • Owner builder work
  • Most works in Hazardous areas
An application to council for a Building Permit Will still need to go through a full building approval process with the council.

Plumbing work

Risk categories Examples Who can approve Who can do the work
Low risk work
  • Changing fixtures and fittings
  • Repairs
No permit or approval for performing low risk plumbing work Licensed plumber (owner may perform very minor work such as changing a tap washer)

Medium risk work (notifiable work)

Majority of work undertaken in existing buildings:

  • installation of new fixtures in bathrooms
  • kitchen renovations
An application (Notice of Work) made to the Permit Authority, for a Certificate of Likely Compliance Licensed plumber
High risk work
(Permit work)

Commercial high rise buildings and all the high risk types that need a special plumbing permit under the current Act:

  • On-site wastewater management systems
  • Backflow prevention devices
An application to council for a Plumbing Permit Licensed plumber

Demolition work

Risk categories Examples Who can approve Who can do the work
Low risk work
  • Garage or sheds

No permit or approval for performing demolition work

May require planning approval

Owner or a competent person

Medium risk work (notifiable work)

  • Detached dwelling
An application (Notice of Work) made to a building surveyor, for a Certificate of Likely Compliance Licensed demolisher or builder
High risk work
(Permit work)
  • Multi-storey commercial building

An application to council for a Demolition Permit Licensed demolisher or builder

Building Industry Licensing Changes

Building industry licensing changes

Occupational Licensing Amendment Act 2016

On 1 January 2017 accreditation of building practitioners will move from the Building Act. Building practitioners - including builders, building surveyors, designers, architects and engineers will now be licensed under the Occupational Licensing Act 2005.

  • Current accreditation continues without change
  • Same scope of work applies
  • Licence fees will remain the same

Accredited practitioners do not have to do anything to be licensed under the new system.  They will be automatically licensed under the Occupational Licensing Act 2005.

Licensing threshold change

Building or demolition work:

  • costs $20,000 or more; and
  • it requires a Certificate of Likely Compliance from a building surveyor; or
  • low-risk work determined by the Director of Building Control as work of a licensed builder.

Plumbers, electricians, gas-fitters and automotive gas-fitters are already licensed under this Act.  There are no changes for these licensees.

More information

  • Occupational Licensing Amendment Act 2016
  • Occupational Licensing Amendment Bill Fact Sheet (pdf. 82KB)
  • Residential Building Contracts

    Residential Building Contracts Changes

    The Residential Building Works Contract and Dispute Resolution Act 2016 has three main components.

    Key points

    • clearer, more robust contracts for residential building work
    • projects of $20,000 or more MUST have a written contract
    • contracts MUST contain certain clauses
    • builder MUST give owner a copy of the Consumer Guide
    • a free, optional, mediation process for settling residential building disputes
    • a more formal adjudication process by expert panel for residential building disputes that cannot be resolved by other means

    Determination

    The Director of Building Control has approved the following:

    For more information see:

    Terms of Reference

    Terms of Reference

    The Director of Building Control is to investigate and report to the Treasurer following a systematic and complete Review of the Tasmanian Building Regulatory Framework (the Review). The Review will be managed and conducted by the Director of Building Control in conjunction with the Building Regulatory Advisory Committee.

    The Review will include a review of the interactions between legislation and policies affecting the building industry including:

    • The Building Act 2000
    • The Building Regulations 2004 and the Plumbing Regulations 2004
    • The Housing Indemnity Act 1992
    • The Occupational Licensing Act 2005
    • The Architects Act 1929
    • The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payments Act 2009
    • The Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal Act 1993
    • The Fire Service Act 1979

    The review will also address the issues in relation to the Residential Building Work Quality (Warranties and Disputes) Bill 52 of 2012.

    The Review will also consider the relationship of the Framework with planning, environmental, heritage and any other legislation which intersects with the Framework.

    The Review will determine whether the current Building Regulatory Framework meets the needs and expectations (including safety, quality, performance, efficiency and sustainability) of the community, consumers and the industry and recommend any changes to improve the framework.

    The Review will be informed by contemporary building regulatory frameworks in other jurisdictions, recent reviews and any proposed changes in other similar jurisdictions.

    The Director of Building Control is to establish and consult with:

    • A Local Government Technical Advisory Group;
    • A Building Practitioner Technical Advisory Group;
    • An Industry Reference Group formed from representatives of the Industry Associations; and
    • A Consumer Advisory Group

    The Review outcomes are to be implemented by the end of 2015.

    Discussion papers

    Discussion papers

    Issues Paper

    In April 2014, four advisory groups were formed which met to discuss issues confronting the building process in Tasmania:

    • A Local Government Technical Advisory Group;
    • A Building Practitioner Technical Advisory Group;
    • An Industry Reference Group formed from representatives of the Industry Associations; and
    • A Consumer Advisory Group

    A draft paper was developed as a result of these discussions and the groups met again in May 2014 to confirm its contents. You can download it as a Word document or PDF file.

    The Issues Paper refers to Attachment 1 and Attachment 2 which show the current Building and Plumbing permit processes. These are available here:

    Consultation Paper

    This Consultation paper is a shorter, simpler summary of the different areas of the Building Regulatory Framework, designed to help you structure your response. You can download it as a Word document, or PDF file.

    Response Document

    To prepare your submission, use the Response document:

    When submissions have been received, they will be available for viewing (unless the authors have specifically requested otherwise) on the Submissions page.

    Position Paper

    The submissions were used to develop a Position Paper which was released on 28 November 2014.

    Anyone with an interest in the building industry was invited to respond using the Position Paper Response Document.

    Submissions closed on Friday 30 January 2015.

    Publications

    Building Regulatory Framework Review publications

    The Building Regulatory Framework comprises four Bills:

    • Building Bill 2016
    • Occupational Licensing Amendment Bill 2016
    • Residential Building Work Contracts and Dispute Resolution Bill
    • Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Amendment Bill.

    Submissions were invited on the new Building Act and the amendments to the Occupational Licensing Act. This consultation period closed on 12 February 2016.

    Publications and resources

    Publications including fact sheets, FAQ's and copies of the draft Bills are available.

    The following presentation gives an overview of each Bill

    Consultation Draft Building Bill 2016

    The Consultation Draft Building Bill 2016 takes a new approach to seeking building and plumbing approvals, by considering whether the work is low, medium or high risk.

    The following presentation gives an overview of the changes in the Building Bill:

    The following draft Director's Determinations list what we think falls into each of the risk categories:

    This fact sheet shows some of the areas we're still working on, which have not been finalised in this consultation draft Bill:

    We've also put together some Questions and Answers that may help:

    You can read the full draft of the Building Bill 2016:

    Consultation Draft Occupational Licensing Amendment Bill 2016

    The Consultation Draft Occupational Licensing Amendment Bill 2016 replaces accreditation of building practitioners under the Building Act 2000, with licensing of building practitioners under the Occupational Licensing Act 2005.

    There are no changes to existing licensing arrangements for electricians, plumbers, gas-fitters and automotive gas-fitters currently licensed under this Act.

    Residential Building Work Contracts and Dispute Resolution Bill

    This Bill was tabled on 27 October 2015 and is available on the Parliamentary website:

    This Bill provides fair and balanced contracts for residential building projects and introduces simple, fast, low cost mediation and arbitration of disputes.

    Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Amendment Bill

    This Bill was tabled on 27 October 2015 and is available on the Parliamentary website:

    It introduces a review mechanism by independent expert panel that allows the Director Building Control to request a review of a decision made under this legislation.

    Where to get more information

    A history of the review process up to now is available at Building Regulatory Framework Review.

    For more information, please contact Beth Warren on (03) 6166 4629 or email cbosinfo@justice.tas.gov.au

    The Building Act 2000 is available on the Tasmanian Legislation website.

    Frequently Asked Questions - Building Legislation

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I need a permit to build?

    It depends on the type of building work you're doing.

    Owners can carry out some low risk work without a permit from the Council but will need to use a licensed builder and engage a building surveyor to approve medium risk work.

    You'll still need a council permit for high risk work (see Director's Determination below for details of risk categories).

    Read the Fact Sheet - Consumer Guide - Low Risk Building and Plumbing Work  (pdf, 166.6 KB) for an overview.

    The Fact Sheet - Low Risk Work by Owner or Competent Person (PDF, 183.7 KB) provides a more comprehensive list of things to consider when undertaking work without any oversight by a Permit Authority or Building Surveyor.

    The Director's Determination on Categories of Building and Demolition Work (PDF, 350.1 KB) gives more detail about the work that can be legally undertaken without a permit.

    I want to build a shed

    Read the Fact Sheet - Sheds and similar structures - Building Act 2016 (PDF, 182.9 KB) for an overview of what an owner can do, when you need to use a licensed builder and whether or not you need a permit.

    Permit Authority Licensing

    I was a Permit Authority before 1 January 2017. Do I have to apply for a licence?

    • If you were already doing the job of a permit authority, you will be automatically licensed for two years. You don't need to apply.
    • If you take on the role of permit authority for the first time after 1 January 2017 you will need to apply for a licence.

    How much does it cost to apply for a Permit Authority Licence? Who pays?

    • The application fee for a permit authority licence will be around $367 in 2017.
    • You should negotiate with your employer as to who pays the fee.

    Can I delegate the role to someone else while I'm on leave?

    • Only a licensed permit authority can perform this role. So if you're on leave, or the job becomes vacant, the General Manager must appoint another licensed permit authority, even if this means sharing services with another council.

    Payment of building fees

    When do building fees get paid?

    Any fees payable must be paid before work starts, including:

    • Building Administration Fee
    • Industry Training Board Fee
    • Council fees

    Once your building surveyor has issued a Certificate of Likely Compliance, and lodged a copy with the Council, you can go to the Council and pay the appropriate fees.

    Your building surveyor will then be able to issue the Start Work Authorisation.

    Where do I pay these fees?

    The fees can be paid at the local Council for the municipality where the work is taking place.

    Building approval vs planning approval

    I heard that if you don't need planning approval, you don't need building approval.

    Sometimes planning approval is needed, but the building work doesn't need a permit.

    And sometimes you might not need a planning permit, but the building work will need approval through the council.

    This may change when the Tasmanian Planning Scheme is released towards the end of 2017, and we have a better alignment between building and planning.

    But right now, the Director's Determinations on Categories of Building and Demolition Work (PDF, 350.1 KB) and Categories of Plumbing Work (pdf, 298.9 KB) will tell you whether you need a permit for your project.