Increasingly, Building Surveyors are answering the question “why are you not inspecting to ensure that the finish of the house is in immaculate order?”

Of course, everyone would like their house to look like what they see on “The Block”.  However, it is not the Building Surveyor or Building Inspectors role to ensure that the finish of the house is perfect. Building Surveyors are responsible for checking that building projects meet the minimum standards of the building regulations.

Stages the Building Surveyor is Involved

There are 3 key stages where the surveyor will play a major role in the build:

  • At plan checking stage: the building surveyor will assess plans for compliance and assess whether protection works are required prior to issuing a building permit.
  • Conducting mandatory inspections: the surveyor or a registered inspector will conduct the inspections (we’ll go through this in more detail).
  • Issuing the occupancy permit: at the final inspection if everything is compliant the occupancy permit is issued.

The Mandatory Inspection Stages

The Building Regulations (Interim 2017 – Reg. 901) set out the mandatory stages of a build that the Building Inspector must visit a site.  These are;

  1. Prior to placing a footing;
  2. Prior to pouring of concrete, or an insitu member as nominated by the Relevant Building Surveyor;
  3. Completion of the framework;
  4. Final, upon completion of the building work.

Each of these stages of the building work is inspected to ensure the structural integrity of the build and life safety; or in layman’s terms so the building won’t collapse.  We also enforce written directions to fix building works, building orders and building notices. However, the building inspector is not on site to ensure that the builder takes pride in their work and presents a quality finish.

What do we mean by quality finish? Well, the inspector doesn’t check if the walls are all painted or if the right colour of stone benchtop was installed. Other things like waterproofing, insulation and more are the responsibility of the builder.

Heightening Consumer Protection

Consumer protection is of the utmost importance, and the upcoming revised Building Regulations (due June 2018), propose to provide further mandatory inspections, including visual inspections of waterproofing and fire separating walls.  This will enable Building Surveyors and Inspectors to continue to ensure the highest quality of structural adequacy, amenity and protection is afforded to the occupants of the building.

With defective building work still an issue within the construction industry in Victoria and nationally, the additional mandatory inspections are aiming to reduce some of the consumer complaints.