{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Housing industry insights Economics Data & forecasts Tailored research and analysis Advocacy & policy Advocacy Policy priorities Position statements Submissions News and inspiration Industry news Member alerts Media releases HOUSING Online
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host a HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder & manufacturer program Industry insurance Construction legal expenses insurance Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies & tool insurance Member perks Toyota vehicles The Good Guys Commercial Fuel savings See all Planning & safety solutions Building & planning services Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) Solutions for your business Contracts Online Advertise jobs Trusted support & guidance Contracts & compliance support Industrial relations
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials & products Concrete, bricks & walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects Getting approval to build Sustainable homes See all
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer Frequently asked questions Study with us Find a course to suit you Qualification courses Learning on demand A job in the industry Get your builder's licence Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Find jobs
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Mates rates Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Our initiatives HIA Building Women GreenSmart Kitchen, bathroom and design hub Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Support for you Charitable Foundation Mental health program
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Awards program People & Business Awards GreenSmart Australian Housing Awards Awards winners Regional Award winners Australian Housing Award winners 2024 Australian Home of the Year Enter online Industry events Events in the next month Economic outlook National Conference Events calendar
HIA shop
HIA shop $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Most popular products National Construction Code Vol 1 & 2 Waterproofing wet areas AS 3740:2021 HIA Guide to Waterproofing HIA Guide to NCC Livable Housing Provisions Top categories Building codes & standards Contracts & documents Guides & manuals Safety products Signage For your business Contracts Online Digital Australian Standards Digital Resource Library Forecasts & data
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Change location
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Improve domestic building contracts and dispute resolution

Improve domestic building contracts and dispute resolution

All domestic building work in Victoria is controlled by the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995. This legislation is overdue for a major review.

The legislation is out of date and imposes a number of unnecessary or poorly targeted restrictions on both owners and residential builders. The requirements around cost escalations, progress payments and timing of signing contracts are not fit for the purposes of builders or consumers.

In addition should a building dispute arise between a consumer and a builder, both parties are poorly served by the existing measures to resolve matters.

The mandatory domestic building dispute resolution process run by Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) is complex, time-consuming and inappropriate. The process should be abolished.

The agency was to provide a “fast, free and fair” dispute resolution process for disputes between consumers and domestic builders. Yet since its inception the process has failed on all accounts.

The process is slow, taking months for matters to be listed for conciliation. The outcome is often no settlement and subsequently delays the commencement of legal proceedings in VCAT.

If a matter proceeds from the DBDRV to be resolved at VCAT, there are now also significant delays to have matters heard, which is stressful for all parties. This backlog is clearly a result of the initial process being inadequate.

Builders seeking final payments for domestic building work are especially disadvantaged by these delays and given the current aggravated cash flow pressures on builders, it is inappropriate to have regulatory processes that perpetuate the delays.

Finally, the current legislation treats disputes between developers and builders as if it were a dispute between a consumer and a builder. This is not necessary, as consumer protection in these instances is not required where the client is a business.

These disputes should be heard in court, not DBDRV or VCAT, as they are business to business matters and do not directly involve consumers.


HIA calls on an incoming government to


Undertake a major review of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 to ensure that its requirements are fit for purpose, modern and do not impose unnecessary burdens on builders and consumers

Abolish the DBDRV and allow builders and consumers to efficiently conciliate building disputes through VCAT

Allocate current funding for the DBDRV to VCAT and the court system to allow these existing bodies to continue to hear domestic building disputes

If the DBDRV cannot be abolished, the conciliation process must be optional and not mandatory

Provide more resources to VCAT to address the backlog of cases in the Building and Property List to save time and money for builders and consumers

Introduce different regulatory requirements for contracts between developers and builders and end unnecessary restrictions on this building activity.