Mandatory notification stages are the witness points in your build
By Alex Wood
By Danielle Warfe
27 June 2023
A building surveyor’s role is to confirm a building’s design and construction meet the minimum requirements for safety, health, amenity and sustainability and is fit for purpose. Part of this responsibility is executed by inspecting building elements as they are constructed and installed.
In Tasmania, building elements are checked at witness points, or “mandatory notification stages”, during construction. These stages generally occur at significant points during the build before being covered up as building work proceeds. For example, reinforcement to the footings and slabs needs to be checked before concrete is poured, and timber framing and bracing needs to be checked before the walls are clad and lined.
Mandatory notification stages generally require an inspection to take place and are generally dictated by the complexity and risk profile of the building project: they are nominated by the building surveyor on your Certificate of Likely Compliance. These inspections comprise the structural elements of your project, but can also include other high-risk elements such as waterproofing, fire-rated construction, pool barriers, glass balustrades, implementation of bushfire hazard areas and performance solutions, etc.
It is the building surveyor’s responsibility to nominate the elements requiring inspection and ensure these elements are appropriately inspected or witnessed. Consequently, the building surveyor can also nominate the most appropriate and qualified expert to carry out an inspection if they consider their expertise is warranted for the inherent risk of that particular element.
- For example, we require the structural engineer to undertake inspection of the installed structural elements because they are more appropriately qualified and experienced to do so.
- Similarly, for high-risk performance solutions we may nominate the performance solution designer to inspect the installation of their design and verify it has been appropriately implemented.
- And for projects with a high bushfire attack level (BAL) we may nominate the bushfire assessor to inspect and confirm the bushfire hazard management plan has been properly established.
Such an approach gives the relevant designer the opportunity to confirm their design has been correctly realised and allows them to modify their design to project-specific conditions if necessary. It ensures the best available expertise is relied upon for your project, enabling more targeted risk management and better insurance for your project in the long term.