Victoria

Emergency Orders

Emergency Orders System: Building Act 1993

Under various sections of the Building Act 1993, the Building Surveyor has a significant role in the ‘enforcement procedures’ (emergency orders) to ensure compliance is achieved or public safety and health are not endangered. A building surveyor can issue emergency orders, building notice, building order to stop work and a building order for minor works under the Building Act 1993.

A private building surveyor can issue all the above building notices and building orders except for emergency orders, which only a municipal building surveyor can issue under the Building Act 1993.

Emergency Orders: Issuing

Emergency orders cannot be issued by a private building surveyor only by a municipal building surveyor under the Building Act 1993. Emergency orders are issued by the building surveyor only where a danger to life or properly exists because of the conditions or use or proposed use of a building, the land on which building work is being or is proposed to be carried out.

The Building Act 1993 in section 102 covers emergency orders:

102 Emergency orders

(1) A municipal building surveyor may make an emergency order under this Division, if he or she is of the opinion that the order is necessary because of a danger to life or property arising out of the condition or use or proposed use of a building, the land on which building work is being or is proposed to be carried out or a place of public entertainment.

(2) The municipal building surveyor must cause an emergency order under subsection (1) to be served on the owner and the occupier of the building, land or place concerned without delay after it is made.

Emergency Orders: The Document

Emergency orders must contain specified information as set out in the Building Act 1993. Emergency orders must clearly spell out why the emergency order was issued and clearly define the building work or other work to make the building or land safe.

Emergency Orders: Serving

The Building Act 1993 is precise in the methods to be adopted in issuing emergency orders. Section 236 of the Building Act 1993 for serving of emergency orders states:

236 Service of documents – generally (emergency orders)

(1) Any document to be served on or given to a person under this Act or the
regulations may be served on or given to the person by-

(a) delivering the document to the person; or

(b) leaving the document at the person’s usual or last known place of residence or business with a person apparently not less than 16 years of age and apparently residing or employed at that place; or

(c) sending the document by post addressed to the person at the person’s usual or last known place of residence or business or in any other prescribed manner.

(2) A building order made under section 112 may be served on any person apparently in charge of the site on which building work is carried out.

(3) If a document (emergency orders) is to be served on or given to the owner or occupier of any land and the name of that person is not known the document may be addressed to “the owner” or “the occupier”.

(4) If a document (emergency orders) is to be served on or given to the owner or occupier of any land, the document may be put up in a conspicuous position on the land if the name and address of the owner are not known and there is no occupier of the land.

(5) If the owner has authorised a person to act on behalf of the owner under this Act or the regulations, any document (emergency orders) served on or given to that person under this Act or the regulations is deemed to have been served on or given to the owner.

(6) If a document (emergency orders) to be served on or given to an owner or occupier of any land is properly served on or given to the owner or occupier of the land the document is binding on every subsequent owner or occupier of the land.