The process of building or extending a home is a team effort, with checks and balances made over the course of construction.
Building surveyors are independent of the builder and have responsibility to check all aspects of compliance with planning laws, the building regulations and the Building Act. They must be qualified and registered with the Victorian Building Authority.
- A legislation-compliant opinion
The Australian Institute of Building Surveyors says professionals in this field must “be competent in local government, State and Territory legislation, guidelines, codes, policies and ministerial directions, as well as the National Construction Code and associated Australian Standards.” Qualified business surveyors are required to have a sound understanding of legislation in the construction industry, as well as being up-to-date on the latest technology and advancements in the building industry. As this is an ever changing field, being a building surveyor is no easy task.
- A step-by-step quality check
Before construction even commences, the building surveyor will have reviewed all relevant documentation pertaining to the project. This is to check that what is proposed is allowed under the relevant planning scheme and does not breach any of the site coverage or height or boundary set-backs without council permission.
This assessment has to occur before the surveyor issues the building permit. In addition to the preliminary work of issuing the permit, they also attend the site during construction to inspect works at critical stages to ensure the builder’s works comply and are of an acceptable standard.
- Problem-solving focus
Building surveyors can also be consulted for alternative solutions to challenges encountered in the building process. Where there are pre-existing structural issues or problems on a construction site, it may not be practical to comply with the building regulations. The builder will often work with the building surveyor to come up with an alternative solution, which while it may be divergent from the building regulations, still complies with the requirements of the building act.
Recent changes to the Building Act provides immunity to landowners for illegal building works, provided that they have engaged a building surveyor to work on the project. This in turn puts considerable responsibility into the hands of the building surveyor as they need to monitor the legality of the building works.
If during the course of construction any issues come up that make the build non-compliant, the building surveyor has the power to stop the building works until compliance is achieved.