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On the spot fines for building offences

May 12, 2019

Members should be aware that as of 27 April 2019, infringement notices can be issued under the Building Act 2011, Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011, Building Services (Registration) Act 2011 and associated regulations.

Infringements can now be issued for offences that are prescribed in building legislation. No new penalties have been created.

Infringement notices allow alleged prescribed offences to be addressed quickly without engaging in prosecution through the courts. Paying an infringement notice does not form an admission for the purposes of any civil or criminal case.

There are restrictions on who can issue infringement notices, and those issuing a notice must collect evidence to substantiate the offence and must serve it within 21 days of the offence occurring.

If you receive an infringement notice, you have three options:

  1. Pay the modified penalty within 28 days; or
  2. Sign the notice and return it within 28 days to elect to have the matter prosecuted through the courts; or
  3. Seek an extension for payment by contacting the issuing officer.

An infringement notice may also be withdrawn by the issuing office. Details of the reasons for a withdrawal must be kept by the issuing office.

If you fail to pay the infringement, a licence suspension order can be made and further enforcement fees imposed.

Of particular note is the option for a $500 infringement notice to be issued following the failure to give notice of completion, which is done by submitting the BA7 form to the local government within 7 days of completion of the project.

BA7 forms are required to be submitted for all residential works. The forms can be downloaded from the Building and Energy website.

Guidance exists which suggests local governments should ensure that there is sufficient evidence on the date of completion of the building works and that the alleged offender’s compliance history should be considered. It is also suggested that it may be more appropriate to issue advice requesting submission before issuing any infringement notice.

Some of the key infringements that could lead to an on the spot fine include:

  • Failure to give notice of completion (BA7)$500
  • Encroachment beyond boundaries without consent, court order or other authority $2500
  • Removal of fence, gate or other barrier to land without consent, court order or other authority $1000
  • Failure to erect adequate temporary barrier $1000
  • Failure to notify board of change of address $250
  • Failure to display sign – building contractor $200

See Industry Bulletin 116 for the full list of fines.