When you hear the words Building Surveyor, the image of a land surveyor often gets conjured up. This is probably because a lot of people don’t know what a building surveyor is! There’s an outdated belief that the council still issues building permits, when in fact most permits are issued through a Private Building Surveyor. Before we explain the importance of a building permit, lets start by understanding the role that the building surveyor plays in the construction industry.

What does a Building Surveyor do?

Building Surveying is a key force in terms of legislating the building industry. The Building Surveyor is responsible for issuing your building permit. The Building Act (1993) requires a building permit to be issued for the majority of building work in Victoria.

The Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) describes the role as “having a statutory responsibility for ensuring buildings are safe to occupy, energy efficient, accessible and meet all legal requirements. They review, analyse and assess plans for compliance to current standards, conduct inspections and issue relevant legislative permits, certification and approvals”.

Building surveyors issue building permits, conduct audits and employ Building Inspectors to carry out mandatory inspections. There are many reasons why consumers can be confident when they engage a building surveyor:

  • Building surveyors and inspectors are registered with the Victorian Building Authority, the government body charged with overseeing the integrity of the building industry.
  • Each assessment that takes place requires several pieces of information including soil reports, structural engineering and energy rating requirements. The National Compliance Code (NCC) sets the standards for a surveyor to complete the assessment.
  • In Victoria, mandatory inspections are undertaken at different stages of the building work. The 4 legislated stages are prior to placing footing (pre-slab), prior to pouring (steel), completion of framework (frame) and final inspections.

So why take out a Building Permit?

Many people will ask the questions “why do I need a permit, it’s just a carport?” or “I don’t need a permit, it’s my land so I’ll do what I want”. Well the obvious answer is – it’s the law! But there are many reasons it’s beneficial to take out a building permit:

  • Building permits ensure all measures of compliance required by the Building Act (1993) and Building Regulations (2006) are assessed by a qualified Building Surveyor.
  • Adjoining properties are protected by the service of Protection Works, preventing damage to that land as well as enforcing siting restrictions and protecting the amenity of neighbourhood dwellings.
  • The dwelling is protected from risk of fire and spread of fire to and from neighbouring fire sources.
  • A mandatory penalty of up to $10,000 can be applicable when permits are not obtained.

The regulations and standards are in place for a reason and aid in preventing unsafe or uninhabitable buildings. The Building Surveyor plays a vital role in ensuring the future of buildings for years to come by enforcing the requirements of Australian standards, as well as state government legislation. Before you consider your next home renovation or new build, remember to ensure that you have a building permit in place to ensure the highest level of building code and compliance.