Victoria’s building industry is a significant component of the
state’s economy, employing almost seven per cent of the work
force and generating over $24 billion in domestic and commercial
building work in 2010–11. The audit examined how
effective the building permit system is in providing assurance that
approved building works meet the required building and safety
standards. Specifically, the audit examined how effectively the
Building Commission regulates the activities of municipal and
private building surveyors and councils enforce compliance with
building permits within their municipalities.
The audit found the Building Commission cannot demonstrate that
the building permit system is working effectively or that building
surveyors are effectively discharging their role to uphold and
enforce minimum building and safety standards.
Ninety-six per cent of permits examined did not comply with
minimum statutory building and safety standards. Instead, our
results have revealed a system marked by confusion and inadequate
practice, including lack of transparency and accountability for
In the absence of leadership, guidance and rigorous scrutiny
from the commission, councils have adopted a largely reactive
approach to enforcing the Building Act 1993 that offers
little assurance of compliance within their municipalities.
Consequently, there is little assurance that surveyors are
carrying out their work competently, that the Building Act
1993 is being complied with, and the risk of injury or damage
to any person is being minimised.