The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) announces the launch of its 2014-2015 audit program for building permit levy to ensure the collected building permit levies are forwarded to the VBA every month. The annual audit program is likely to audit new building surveyors and lodging organisations.

Compliance and Performance Director Murray Smith said the VBA has an annual audit program to ensure building permit levies are forwarded to the VBA each month, and building surveyors provide an accurate report of the building permits issued by them.

According to Mr Smith, under the Building Act 1993, anyone applying for a building permit for works costing more than $10,000 must pay a levy before the permit is issued. This levy is collected by the building surveyor, who then forwards it to the VBA each month.

The VBA employs a risk-based approach to select the reporting entities to be audited. The 2014-2015 levy audit program will focus on building surveyors and lodging organisations that have recently begun issuing building permits; issue high-value building permits; have not been audited since 2008; have recently been audited, but problems were found with their reporting and levy returns; and have a history of non-compliance.

Mr Smith explains that it is important for VBA to work with building surveyors and their administration staff to help them understand their obligations and to identify weaknesses in their business controls and systems.

Building surveyors who issue high-value building permits are also on the VBA’s radar for this year’s levy audit program. These building permits are associated with larger commercial and residential building projects.

Mr Smith comments that the average value of stage permits issued during 2012-2013 was $1.2 million for each permit; this area will therefore be considered high-risk during the audit program.

He adds that the purpose of the audit program is to confirm the good practices of building surveyors and identify those that need to improve their processes and compliance.