Building and Plumbing

New Rules for Building, Demolition and Plumbing Work from 1 January 2017

Owners, building service providers, and building practitioners are reminded that the Building Act 2016, the Building Regulations 2016 and a number of Director’s Determinations in relation to all building, demolition and plumbing work in Tasmania will come into effect from 1January 2017. 

The Act and its associated documents replace the Building Act 2000.

The changes are an initiative of the current State government as part of its reform agenda to provide a fairer, faster, cheaper and simpler system for investment and development in Tasmania.

Local government has been assigned particular roles and responsibilities under the new Act. It has an obligation to perform the tasks required of it in accordance with the law.

From 1 January 2017 the Act introduce significant changes to the manner in which building, demolition and plumbing work in Tasmania will be regulated. The objective is to ensure every building is constructed to be fit for its intended purpose, and that it will achieve and maintain a standard for accessibility, efficiency, healthiness, safety, and sustainability which is consistent with the National Construction Code.

The Building Act 2016 will divide building, demolition and plumbing work into one of four risk categories[1]

Work in Category 1 and Category 2 is considered low risk

  • A technical certification, inspection, or approval is generally not required.
  • An owner or competent person may undertake Category 1 work.
  • All Category 2 work must be undertaken by an appropriately licensed building practitioner, and satisfy the National Construction Code.
  • A permit authority must be advised when some forms of Category 2 work have been completed.

Work in Category 3 is considered medium risk. 

  • There is no requirement for a permit.
  • However, a Certificate of Likely Compliance (independent technical assessment for compliance to National Construction Code) must be obtained from a building surveyor for all building and demolition work, and from a permit authority for all plumbing work.
  • All Category 3 work must be undertaken by an appropriately licensed building practitioner, and satisfy the National Construction Code.
  • All work must be inspected, and signed off by the building surveyor or permit authority if completed in accordance with Code.

A permit authority must be notified when work is completed, and must keep a record for the details of all Category 3 work.

Work in Category 4 is considered high risk. 

  • A permit is always required from the permit authority.
  • A permit may be refused if the risk issues have not been adequately addressed.
  • A Certificate of Likely Compliance (independent technical assessment for compliance to National Construction Code) must be obtained from a building surveyor for all building and demolition work, and from a permit authority for all plumbing work.
  • All Category 4 work must be undertaken by an appropriately licensed building practitioner, and satisfy the National Construction Code.
  • All work must be inspected and signed off as completed in accordance with the Code by the relevant certifier. 
  • A permit authority must keep a record for the details of all Category 4 work. 

The Burnie City Council has a number of roles to play under the new system. 

  • We must assess, inspect, and approve medium and high risk plumbing work. 
  • We must assess and determine whether to grant a permit for high risk building and demolition work. 
  • We must maintain a register of, and record the details for all building, demolition and plumbing work in the Burnie municipal area. 
  • We must advise owners of their responsibilities in relation to the construction and maintenance of buildings.
  • We must enforce compliance to the rules which apply for building work and maintenance.

The Council has adopted a set of fees in relation to these services effective from 1 January 2017. All applicable fees must be paid before the Council can perform the required function.

There are many aspects of building work for which the Council is not responsible.

Most building, demolition and plumbing work must be designed by a licensed designer.  The assessment, certification and inspection of building and demolition work must be undertaken by a licensed building surveyor.  Almost all building, demolition and plumbing work must be performed by an appropriately licensed building practitioner. 

The Council cannot provide advice or information in relation to design criteria, likely compliance of proposed building and demolition work, or the manner in which work on a building should be performed.  You will need to talk to a relevant private licensed building services provider or practitioner.

This is new for all of us

The administrative and technical arrangements for application and operation of the new building control system are still being developed by the State government.  All of the information which is required in order for a building services provider or a building practitioner to perform their respective functions may not be available before 1 January 2017.  Many of the processes and considerations for approval, conduct and certification of work are different to those which applied prior to 1 January 2017.

Building service providers and building practitioners are advised there is to be a new set of approved forms for all relevant applications, notifications, and certification.  The forms in use prior to 31December 2016 will not be applicable from 1 January 2017.

The Council will do what it can to be ready to perform its functions from 1 January 2017.

However, this is a new system, and we, like all others involved, currently have limited knowledge and no experience in how it is to operate.

We ask that you appreciate that it may not always be possible to answer all your enquiries or to be certain on what is required.  We are committed to improve this position as the new system settles into place and more information and experience becomes available.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

For further information on how the system is to operate, and for copies of the relevant rules, go to the Department of Justice website www.justice.tas.gov.au/building/regulation/building_act_2016_resources

Responsibilities of a Building Owner

The following advice is provided pursuant to the obligation on the Burnie City Council under section 41 of the Building Act 2016 to ensure that the owners of a building, or of a site on which building work is to occur or is occurring, are informed of their duties under the Act in relation to any building work or plumbing work, and for the maintenance and use of a building. 

The Building Act 2016 imposes on the owner or owners of a building a primary responsibility to ensure any work on the building, and the subsequent maintenance of that building, is always in accordance with the applicable standards and processes.  

From 1 January the owner of a building –

    1. Is responsible to ensure any work on the building, whether building, plumbing, demolition or protection work, and including any internal or external alteration or addition to an existing building, will comply with the National Construction Code;
    2. May only perform Category 2, Category 3 or Category 4 work on a building which is their principle place of residence if the owner holds an owner builder’s license issued under the Occupational Licensing Act 2005, such license being limited to permit only two projects in any 10 year period;
    3. Must ensure all Category 2, Category 3 and Category 4 work on the building is performed by a person who holds an appropriate license issued under the Occupational Licensing Act 2005;
    4. Must ensure Category 3 and Category 4 work on the building is designed by an appropriately licensed building designer;
    5. Must engage an appropriately licensed building surveyor to certify plans, to carry out inspections, and to issue such certificates as may be required before any Category 3 and Category 4 building or demolition work can occur on the building;
    6. Must ensure the permit authority for the relevant municipal area has approved, inspected and certified all Category 3 and Category 4 plumbing work on the building;
    7. Must obtain a permit from the relevant permit authority for all Category 4 building, demolition and plumbing work on the building;
    8. Must ensure all work on the building complies with the terms and conditions in any applicable certificate, approval and permit;
    9. Must ensure to the best of the owner’s knowledge that any information provided to any person engaged to perform work on the building is complete and correct;
    10. Must clearly identify the building on which work is to be performed;
    11. Must immediately advise the relevant permit authority of any change in the person identified in an approval or permit as the engaged building surveyor for the building work or the person responsible for performing work on the building;
    12. Must perform any specific protection measures required if any work on the building is likely to cause risk of harm or damage to an adjoining building;
    13. Must commenced approved work on the building within 12 months from the date on which the approval was issued and must complete such work within 24 months from such date unless an extension has been granted prior to the expiration date;
    14. Must ensure any change to the approved design or construction method for Category 3 and Category 4 work on the building has been approved;
    15. Must not occupy any new building on which Category 3 and 4 building work is performed until an occupancy permit has been issued;
    16. Must obtain a Completion Certificate from the permit authority to confirm all requirements in relation to Category 3 and Category 4 works on the building have been satisfactorily finished;
    17. Must not occupy a building for any purpose other than the purpose for which it has been approved and certified under the Act;
    18. Must maintain the building, including any essential building services, in accordance with any requirement under the Act or imposed by an approval or permit;
    19. Must provide a new owner of the building with sufficient information for the other owner to be aware of what is required in order to maintain the building to any standard or requirement of the Act or of an approval, permit or Code;
    20. Must immediately report any defect in building work or building maintenance on the building to the permit authority for the municipal area;
    21. Must comply with any instruction issued by a council, a general manager, a permit authority or a building surveyor in relation to building, demolition and plumbing work or to require defective or non-compliant work on the building to be rectified; and
    22. May be liable to legal proceedings and orders, payment of fines, or to reimburse the cost of any rectification work required to be undertaken by a council or permit authority if they do not comply with a compliance instruction in relation to a breach or for a failure to satisfy any one or more of the responsibilities of an owner of the building.

       

      The Burnie City Council has a statutory obligation to ensure that building, demolition and plumbing work is carried out in compliance to the applicable building regulations, codes and standards.

      The Council must make itself aware of, and keep a record of, the building and plumbing work occurring within the Burnie municipal area. 

      The Council must initiate proceedings against a person who has undertaken building, demolition or plumbing work without a required approval or permit to ensure the work is made compliant to the Act.  Penalties may also apply.

      While there is a process for bringing unlawful work into compliance, retrospective approval can be expensive, and does not provide the building with the same level of confidence in relation to structural, accessibility, health, safety, efficiency and sustainability matters as is achievable if all required approvals or permits are obtained before work begins and all inspection and certification is conducted as the building, demolition or plumbing work progresses.

      It is suggested that prior to committing to any building or plumbing work a person intending to authorize or undertake building or plumbing work on their property make enquiries of the Council or of a building surveyor in regard to what design, permit, and inspection processes may be required in order to ensure that such work can be carried out lawfully.

      If you are unsure as to whether an approval or permit is required an enquiry may assist to quickly resolve any uncertainty.

      It is our objective to assist you wherever possible -  

      • You can telephone us for further information on 64305700  
      • Make an email enquiry to burnie@burnie.net
      • Write to us at PO Box 973, Burnie TAS 7320; or
      • Make an appointment to see a Permit Officer

      [1] Details for the nature of work in each category may be found in the Directors Determination for Building and Demolition Work and the Director’s Determination for Plumbing Work at www.justice.tas.gov.au/building/regulation/building_act_2016_resources