Yearly Archives: 2017

Amendments to section 241 of the Building Act 1993 – limitation periods for offences – R K lawyers

Amendments to section 241 of the Building Act 1993 – limitation periods for offences

| Published by Ian Pridgeon, Marcus Heath, Daniel Silfo, Elizabeth Flanagan, Angelina Bell

The Building Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Act 2017 has resulted in amendments to section 241 of the Building Act 1993 (“Act”).  Section 241 – Proceedings for offences, was amended on 16 August 2017.

The changes to section 241 are of importance to proceedings pursuant to Part 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 of the Act, are as follows:

  1. subsection 241(7), which was substituted by a different subsection; and
  2. subsection 241(8), being an additional new subsection.

What has remained unchanged?

A council can still commence a proceeding for an offence within the period of three years after the commission of the alleged offence, this provision has remained unchanged.

With the exception of subsections 241(7) and 241(8) the remainder of section 241 has not been amended.

The Amendments

The changes to section 241 of the Act, allow proceedings to be brought within two years after the offence first came to the attention of Council, provided it is not more than 10 years after the offence occurred.

For example, subsection 241(7) of the Act allows a council two years to commence a prosecution for building work it has just discovered that occurred eight years ago without a building permit.

We are of the view the offence is not required to have occurred after the amended section 241 came into operation (i.e. 16 August 2017) for the amended section 241 to apply.  What is relevant to the application of section 241 is when the alleged offence first came to the attention of council and when a proceeding is commenced.

For example if an alleged offence, being the carrying out of building work without a building permit occurred in 2010 and the relevant council became aware of the building work on 17 August 2017 (after section 241 was amended) section 241 would apply to the alleged offence.

What may constitute coming to the attention of the relevant council is not yet fully understood.  Arguably it ought to be interpreted as coming to the attention of those in the council responsible for enforcing the Act.  If it was interpreted as meaning any part of the council, such as cleaning staff, this could be problematic.  Until this has been tested in a Court it will remain partially unclear as what it exactly means.

Should you require any further advice or assistance regarding the recent amendments to the Act please do not hesitate to contact our Statutory Building and Prosecution team: Ian PridgeonMarcus HeathDaniel SilfoElizabeth Flanagan and Angelina Bell.



China Tour June 2018

The Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group is looking at running a 14 day China study tour in June 2018 visiting in the cities of Shanghai, Chengdu, Xian and Beijing.  The cost of the tour including international and domestic flights, bullet train and shared accommodation is $3995 pp. This tour is open to all members who wish to attend including partners and friends.  Anyone who is interested in participating should complete and return the expression of interest by 29th December 2017.

China Study Tour 2018 Brochure_Low res

Video link 2015 tour

Video of previous China Study Tour of 2015

Victorian Cladding Taskforce Interim Report

Victorian Cladding Taskforce Interim Report November 2017Please find a link the Interim report, this is a Chairs report and not the final Taskforce report.


Victorian Cladding Taskforce Interim Report November 2017

Also link to Victorian Cladding Taskforce website


6 October 2017

The third Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) for 2017 held in Brisbane on Friday, 6 October 2017, continued to drive decisive action on potentially hazardous aluminium cladding and other efforts to improve the compliance and safety of Australian buildings.

BMF Ministers recognise the public safety concern and clear risk arising around the use of cladding that does not comply with the National Construction Code (NCC). All Ministers agreed that they will use their available laws and powers to prevent the use of aluminium composite cladding with a polyethylene (PE) core for class 2, 3, or 9 buildings of two or more storeys, and class 5, 6, 7 or 8 of three or more storeys, until such time as they are satisfied that manufacturers, importers, and installers, working in collaboration with building practitioners, will reliably comply with:

  • the newly established standard setting test against which fire retardant cladding products are deemed to be reasonable for use in high rise settings; and
  • an established and implemented system of permanent labelling on cladding products to prevent substitution.

For its part, the Commonwealth will regularly provide the states and territories with import data on (more…)

Announcement of new CEO for the VBA

VBA names new Chief Executive

The Chief Commissioner of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), Dr Owen Donald, today announced the appointment of Ms Sue Eddy as the building regulator’s new CEO.

Ms Eddy’s appointment follows an extensive search and selection process that commenced in June this year when Prue Digby announced her intention to retire from the role.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Sue Eddy as the VBA’s new CEO. Sue is a talented leader with an impressive track record in fiscal management, operational strategy and stakeholder engagement, and was selected from a strong field of worthy candidates,” said Dr Donald.

A former Associate Chartered Accountant, Sue Eddy is currently Lead Deputy Secretary Corporate Services at the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources where she has direct responsibility for the department’s near $2 billion operating budget and over 300 staff. She previously headed the Budget Strategy and Reform branch of the Department of Treasury and Finance, overseeing the development of successive State Government budgets.

In announcing the appointment, Dr Donald also paid tribute to Ms Digby.


NSW Government investigation finds Griffith City Council breached law on certifying multiple buildings

“I knew what I did was illegal…”

Council planning manager Carel Potgieter told the board “I knew what I did was illegal however I thought I was doing it within my delegation…”.

Council defended their actions in a submission to the BPB, highlighting problems they face in terms of staff shortages. Council said, “the motive for non-accredited officers to sign certificates was in the interest of customer service”.