What is a Registered Building Practitioner?
When looking to build or renovate the best advice you will receive is to ensure you use a registered builder.
But why? The building industry has been infested with sharks and cowboys since before the pyramids. The primary reason for registering builders is to protect consumers from shoddy, substandard work.
The Building Act states that all building work over $10,000 must be undertaken by a registered builder. Owner builders are not excluded and must by law, engage a registered builder to undertake building work.
It takes years of practical experience and study to attain the knowledge required before a person can even consider applying to the Victorian Building Authority to become a registered building practitioner at any level.
The pathway to becoming a registered domestic builder usually starts with a trade qualification (ie. Cert III Carpenter) which demonstrates competency in actually doing the work. Those in the industry refer to this as being “on the tools”.
Most people will undertake class studies to attain a nationally recognised qualification in building and construction (Cert IV or Diploma). These courses provide students with knowledge regarding the Building Act, building regulations, Australian standards, and introduces them to legal contracts, and basic business principals.
When applying to the Victorian Building Authority to become a registered domestic builder, aspiring builders must submit evidence of work history, references, police checks in their applications then undergo assessments involving computer tests, plan reading and a personal interview lasting up to 4 hours with a VBA assessor.
It’s a gruelling task, that only the well prepared and capable applicants will succeed.
A person can be a registered domestic builder limited to a trade. (DB-L) If you want a swimming pool you may use a specialist registered domestic builder – limited to swimming pools, similarly need a new kitchen – registered builder limited to kitchens, bathrooms & laundries. There are 29 categories of limited domestic builders, so you can find a specialist DB-L for almost any part of a build.
The registered domestic builder – unlimited is the highest class and toughest to attain. The DB-U can undertake all domestic building work. From the front fence to back fence, from swimming pool to top of the chimney, the DB-U has the knowledge and ability to do it all.
Consumers can feel confident that registered domestic builders have not only earned their stripes, but are accountable to the VBA should dispute arise. Registered builders offer confidence and protection of a domestic building contract and domestic build insurance for all jobs over $16,000.
Certainly, as with any business, some registered builders are better than others. It is important you check out any builder you are considering. This is best done by asking for references, and addresses of previous work, check out the VBA website and simply ask for his/her VBA card which like a drivers licence, provides a registration number, class and expiry date.
You wouldn’t drive a car that was not registered, so why build with an unregistered builder?