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Building Surveyor

Building Surveyors

Whenever you build or renovate, a building surveyor will be involved to issue building permits and ensure the property is safe and liveable.

Building surveyors help builders and homeowners with building plans to avoid any problems. They also assess the plans to ensure regulations are met, and can carry out pre-purchase inspections. Other tasks include:

  • Conducting inspections during construction
  • Reporting on the construction and any breaches or alterations
  • Providing evidence when regulations are breached
  • Issuing compliance certificates after construction

Licensing of Building Surveyors

Each state and territory in Australia is responsible for registration and licensing of building surveyors, who are sometimes referred to as building certifiers. Most registration authorities require surveyors to hold a minimum qualification, as accredited by the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors.

Below you will find all the important information about surveyor licensing in your area.

Building Surveyors – NSW

In New South Wales, the Department of Planning Building Practitioners Board is responsible for surveyor registration and licensing. The independent body also oversees building and subdivision certification in the state.

Surveyors are accredited by the Building Practitioners Board, under categories A1, A2 and A3. This allows the surveyor to issue compliance certificates for “most small-scale residential development”. They can also inspect swimming pools and spas.

The Board recommends checking the surveyor’s level of accreditation before bringing them on board. You should also check they have a relevant qualification, such as a Diploma or Bachelor in Building Surveying or a related area.

Building Surveyors – Victoria

The Victorian Building Authority states that a building surveyor is “generally responsible for ensuring that the building work complies with the requirements of the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2006.”

In Victoria, the VBA requires surveyors to become registered building practitioners. This involves an application process, during which the applicant must demonstrate skills and knowledge in these key areas:

  • Work practice
  • Professional practice
  • Construction technology
  • Legislation

You can contact the VBA to find out if a surveyor is registered.

Building Surveyors – Queensland

In Queensland, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) takes care of the registration and licensing of surveyors.

Surveyors fall under the Completed Residential Building Inspection licence class. This involves “inspection of a completed building, including an inspection and preparation of a report in accordance with Australian Standard 4349.1; 'Inspection of Buildings-Property Inspections-Residential buildings'.”

To qualify, surveyors must have a current licence in one of three ‘builder’ licence classes. They must also be accredited by the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors as a building surveyor, assistant building surveyor or building surveyor technician. As an alternative, they must have completed a relevant accreditation and an approved building inspector’s course.

Furthermore, they must have at least five years’ experience as a surveyor, assistant, technician or builder.

Building Surveyors – SA

In South Australia, surveyors are also known as building certifiers. A surveyor must be registered with the South Australian Government. Registration is granted if the surveyor can show relevant experience, qualifications and a professional indemnity insurance policy. Registration ensures that the surveyor complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). To find out if a certifier is registered, you should ask to see their Certificate of Registration. You can also view a list of registered surveyors from the Building Policy Branch, Department of Planning and Local Government.

Building Surveyors – WA

In Western Australia, surveyors are hired to ensure a building complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA), manage building approvals, and enforce compliance with building standards.

Building surveyors must be registered under the new Building Act 2011, which came into effect on 2 April 2012. Under the new act, registered building surveyors can certify properties on a private basis to the public, as well as local government permit authorities. The Building Services Board registers building surveyors in one of three classes:

  • Building Surveying Practitioner: Level 1
  • Building Surveying Practitioner: Level 2
  • Building Surveying Practitioner: Technician

Level 2 surveyors can only certify buildings with a maximum floor area of 2000m2 and no more than three storeys. Technician surveyors are limited to a floor area of 500m2 and two storeys. There is no limit for level 1 surveyors.

You should check the surveyor’s registration level before engaging them. You can check this with the Building Services Board.

Building Surveyors – Tasmania

In Tasmania, the Department of Infrastructure, Energy & Resources, is responsible for the registration of building surveyors. It sets out two licence or accreditation classes for surveyors – open and limited.

To be accredited or licensed, building surveyors in Tasmania must complete an application form and choose a relevant class. They must also hold a relevant qualification. For a limited licence, they must have completed an advanced diploma and three years’ experience. For an open licence, they must hold a degree and three years’ experience.

Surveyors must also possess a current professional indemnity insurance policy up to $1 million.

Building Surveyors – ACT

If you are building or renovating a property in the ACT, you may be wondering whether building surveyors need to be licensed.

Also known as building certifiers, ACT surveyors must assess a building in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and building legislation.

In the ACT, surveyors must be licensed. They can be licensed in one of three classes:

  • Principal building surveyor: can certify any building work
  • General building surveyor: can certify a building up to three storeys and a floor area up to 2000m2
  • Plumbing plan certifier: can certify plumbing or drainage plans for commercial developments

The surveyor must also act independently of you and your builder. The Planning and Land Authority recommends getting several quotes from surveyors before choosing.

Building Surveyors - Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, building surveyors are registered by the Building Practitioners Board, Department of Lands and Planning.

Under the category of Building Certifier (Residential), surveyors can issue building permits and occupancy permits for class 1 to 10 buildings. This is in accordance with the NT Building Act, Building Code of Australia and Building Regulations. To be registered, they must demonstrate a degree or other qualification accredited by the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors. They must also have worked as a building surveyor for at least three years.

A surveyor registered as a Building Certifier (Unrestricted) can issue permits for all classes of buildings. To gain registration, the surveyor must hold a degree or another qualification recognised by the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, as well as a minimum of four years’ practical experience.

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