Fundamentals of Built Environment Law

Subject ABPL90290 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours (3 hrs per week, 2 hrs lectures, 1 hr tutorial)
Total Time Commitment:

170 Hours


Admission into a course at the Melbourne School of Design.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Valerie Francis


The Eastern Precinct (building 138)
(between Doug McDonell building and Eastern Resource Centre)

Current Student:

Subject Overview:

An introduction to the principles and legal concepts that apply to the built environment professions and how this law develops and changes. The subject covers:

  • the fundamentals of common law;
  • liability in tort law for injury or loss caused to other people or their property;
  • legally binding contracts, their terms, obligations and breaches. These concepts extend into construction contracts, standard forms of contract, liabilities, litigation and arbitration;
  • concepts of property and ownership in Australia. The legal nature of land, improvements, fixtures and chattels, land registration systems and encumbrances. Co-ownership: subdivision, joint tenancy in common. licenses and leases. occupier's liability;
  • planning law;
  • environmental law;
  • intellectual property covering copyright, patents and consultancy issues.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who have successfully completed this subject should:

  • have a sound general understanding of the principles and legal concepts of common law and tort law;
  • be aware of the different forms of construction contracts and the characteristic features and differences between each;
  • understand the land tenure systems in Australia including ownerships, subdivisions and property leasing arrangements;
  • be familiar with planning and environmental laws, the implementation systems and adoption by the professions;
  • have a basic understanding of ownership rights with respect to intellectual property.
  • Assignment equivalent to 1000 words (20%) due in week 8, focussing on the Property law and associated legislation.
  • Assignment equivalent to 1000 words (20%) due in week 11, researching different project delivery models and associated legal issues.
  • Three hour examination equivalent to 3000 words during the examination period (60%) focussing on a wide range of issues covered during the semester relating to all aspects of the Fundamentals of Built Environment Law. A minimum mark of 40% has to be acieved in the examination in order to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Comprehensive coursework notes including selected readings provided via the University book room.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • the capacity to analyse a range of legal environmental frameworks;
  • the capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • ability to find and apply legal principles within the environment professions.

Related Course(s): Master of Construction Management
Master of Property
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 300 point Master of Construction Management
300 point Master of Property
Melbourne School of Design multidisciplinary elective subjects

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