Protection Works and Insurance: make sure you are appropriately protected before Building Works commence

Protection Works

Part 7 of the Building Act 1993 (Vic) legislates measures that are to be in place to safeguard adjoining properties from potential damage caused by building works on a neighbouring site.  These are known as Protection Works.

Responsibilities of Owners Regarding Protection of Adjoining Property

  1. Requirement to Carry out Protection Works:

  • If an Owner’s Relevant Building Surveyor determines that building works may affect an adjoining property, the owner must carry out Protection Works.  These may include underpinning, shoring up, or other measures to maintain stability and prevent damage.

2. Notice Requirements:

  • The owner must serve a Protection Works Notice on both the Relevant Building Surveyor and the Adjoining Owner, detailing the proposed Protection Works.
  • The Adjoining Owner has 14 days to respond to the notice.  Failure to respond within 14 days means the Adjoining Owner is deemed to have agreed to the proposed Protection Works.

3. Disputes:

  • If the Adjoining Owner disagrees with the proposed Protection Works or requests further information, the Relevant Building Surveyor evaluates the proposal and makes a determination.
  • Both parties have the right to appeal the Building Surveyor’s decision to the Building Appeals Board within 14 days.

4. Survey Requirement:

  • Before commencing Protection Works, the owner must conduct a survey (Dilapidation Report) of the adjoining property.  This report documents existing cracks and defects and must be agreed upon and signed by both parties.

5. Access Rights:

  • The owner has the right to enter the adjoining property between 8am to 6pm to conduct the Dilapidation Report and subsequently to carry out the approved Protection Works, provided they give at least 24 hours notice and do not cause damage.

  6. Expenses:

  • The owner is liable to reimburse the Adjoining Owner for costs related to assessing the Protection Works proposal and for supervising their implementation.
  • Additionally, compensation must be provided for any inconvenience, loss, or damage suffered by the Adjoining Owner due to the Protection Works.

7. Insurance:

  • Under Section 93 of the Building Act, the owner must ensure a contract of insurance is in force to cover:
    • Damage caused by the Protection Works to the adjoining property.
    • Liabilities likely to be incurred by adjoining occupiers and the public during the works and for 12 months after completion.
  • The insurance amount should be agreed upon by both parties or determined by the Building Appeals Board in case of dispute.
  • A copy of the insurance policy must be provided to the Adjoining Owner before commencing the Protection Works.
Responsibilities of Adjoining Owners

  1. Rights and Limitations:

  • Adjoining Owners have the right to receive notice of proposed Protection Works and to dispute the proposal if necessary.
  • They must allow reasonable access to their property for surveying and carrying out Protection Works, provided proper notice is given.

  2. Expenses and Compensation:

  • Adjoining Owners are entitled to reimbursement for reasonable expenses related to assessing the Protection Works and for any damage or inconvenience caused by the works.
Implications for Builders and Property Developers
  • Compliance: Builders and property developers must ensure compliance with the Building Act and Regulations regarding Protection Works.
  • Coordination: Proper coordination with the Relevant Building Surveyor and Adjoining Owners is crucial to avoid delays and disputes.
  • Insurance: Builders and developers should ensure that appropriate Protection Works Insurance is in place to cover potential liabilities arising from the Protection Works.

In conclusion, essential measures must be in place to prevent damage to adjoining properties during building works.

If you are required to issue a Protection Works Notice or have received one, or have any concerns about whether the Protection Works Insurance policy covers you as an adjoining owner, you should not hesitate to contact our office via Enquire now or (03) 9311 8511.