“Master Builders Victoria welcomes the passing of the Building Amendment (Registration of Building Trades and Other Matters) Bill 2018 through Parliament yesterday,” Radley de Silva, CEO Master Builders Victoria, said.
It sets up the possibility for two models applicable to the commercial and domestic sectors for prescribed building work:

  1. a registration requirement for subcontractors to be expanded from the current registration requirements to include when a subcontractor contracts directly with builders; and
  2. a broader requirement for the occupational licensing of employees.

It is understood, that a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) process, with public consultation, will be undertaken to determine workable models with appropriate categories of registration and licensing. This would include determining scopes of work and skills and qualifications that would be applicable. As such, the stated intention is to allow more than 12 months from the date of the Bill’s introduction for the completion of a RIS process and development of new regulations (the default commencement date for the new scheme is 1 September 2020).
Master Builders will input into the RIS process, most likely advocating for mandatory trades registration as the initial first step. Master Builders considers that mandatory registration based on existing domestic trades categories – and focusing initially on certain areas like carpentry, bricklaying, waterproofing and concreting – ensures that the system would be practical, more cost effective and manageable.
Minister Wynne in the second reading of the Bill stated that:
“Priority areas for consideration of restricted building work are likely to include carpenters (and framers), plasterers, footing and foundation workers, bricklayers and waterproofers.” (Assembly Proof, Tuesday 7 August 2018, pg 29)
These categories are supported by Master Builders – in respect of mandatory trades registration.
The RIS process will determine whether there is any workable and cost-effective licensing scheme that should be implemented in the Victorian industry. Whilst the introduction of a broader system which applies to the commercial sector and includes occupational licensing of employees might be an admirable goal, it may not be practical and may be too costly. Ultimately, the cost-benefit analysis will determine whether a broader system is a manageable one.
The Bill provides for a transitional process that would also allow time for tradespeople to obtain provisional registration or licenses to develop the appropriate skills and qualifications over a five-year period.
It will be an offence to carry out prescribed building work if not appropriately registered or licensed, or engage practitioners for prescribed building work if they’re not appropriately licensed or registered. Those offences carry maximum penalties of up to 500 penalty units for individuals and 2500 penalty units for a company.
Master Builders will monitor the details of the RIS and any implementation process and provide more information to members as the scheme progresses.
Master Builders welcomes any information you may wish to contribute to the process.