This audit assessed the effectiveness of the
consumer protection framework for domestic building construction.
The audit examined the performance of Victorian Building Authority
(VBA), Building Practitioners Board (BPB), Consumer Affairs
Victoria (CAV) and Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) as
they provide functions key to building regulation and to the
consumer protection framework in domestic building.
The audit found that the existing consumer
protection framework for domestic building does not adequately
protect consumers who experience problems and there is a pressing
need to improve consumer awareness and understanding of the
framework. The registration system does not ensure that the only
practitioners who are registered are those who are qualified,
competent and of good character. The current disciplinary system is
not operating effectively to protect consumers, and the sanctions
are ineffective in deterring practitioner misconduct.
Building conciliation and dispute resolution
functions provide only limited consumer protection because CAV
lacks both the power to compel parties to conciliate or to enforce
compliance with outcomes negotiated during conciliation. Domestic
building insurance is widely misunderstood. It provides only
limited protection for consumers and is significantly more costly
for builders and consumers than it needs to be.
The report makes recommendations to the
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, VBA, BPB, CAV,
Department of Treasury and Finance and VMIA to improve the
framework and its implementation. Prompt action is required to
ensure domestic building consumers are appropriately protected.