Master Builders Victoria (MBV) welcomes draft improvements to Victoria’s building and planning approvals as a positive step forward in reducing red tape and potentially stimulating the building and construction economy.

The “Planning and Building Approvals Process Review Discussion Paper” was released today by Red Tape Commissioner Anna Cronin and is now open for public consultation until Friday 15 November 2019.

MBV CEO Rebecca Casson says the draft recommendations are a sensible step forward in improving Victoria’s building and construction sector.

“As the report notes, our building and construction sector is worth $33 billion and is responsible for one in every ten Victorian jobs.  And it suggests planning and building bottlenecks add as much as $400 to $600 million in extra costs, every year,” she says.

“We are clearly delighted that the five “best practice” processes for councils alone could save $100 million per annum and provide a tangible stimulus for the industry.”

Ms Casson also welcomed the report’s acknowledgement of a number of issues that MBV lobbied to include in the proposed changes, such as the risk-based streamlining of applications and the option to provide alternative pathways for applications deemed low-risk.

“We’re pleased to see the draft report include a sensible case for moving issues normally addressed at the planning permit stage to the building permit stage, such as siting,” she says.

“And we’re particularly pleased to see the acknowledgement of the need to expand the workforce of building surveyors and inspectors, including encouraging more school leavers and women into the professions.

“Establishing a new class of building surveyors for low-risk building enables more qualified surveyors to do more complex work and, in turn, reduce the delays currently associated with a shortage of building surveyors.”

“And we think it makes sense for the proposed new entry pathway for related practitioners such as builders, architects, engineers and project managers to be able to migrate into the roles of building surveyors and inspectors.”

Ms Casson noted that since the announcement of the review earlier this year, MBV representatives had regularly met with the Red Tape Commissioner and her team throughout the year to provide feedback.

“We are proud to have been able to contribute to this important process so far and look forward to seeing the final report when it is submitted to the government in December.”