Why do I need a building surveyor?
By Alex Wood
17 October 2020
As a community we expect our buildings to be safe, healthy, useable and sustainable: there are numerous recent examples of buildings that can’t be used due to safety concerns, and owners left with large and unexpected rectification costs.
Our governments require building work to meet national standards of construction, and it is the job of the building surveyor to make sure this happens. And by making sure your building work meets these standards, building surveyors provide protection for both you and the community at large.
In Tasmania, you are required to use a building surveyor for most building work, so we are essential to your project. (The exception is low-risk, small-scale work summarised here and detailed here). A building surveyor assesses both the design and construction of your building work – whether it’s a house renovation, a shop fit-out or a major medical centre – to make sure the finished product will be safe and fit for purpose. If your project meets (or jumps over) the minimum standards required, we certify that is is likely to perform as intended.
Before building work begins, a building surveyor will go through your design documentation in fine detail to ensure it is consistent and provides sufficient detail for construction. If everything looks good, we issue a Certificate of Likely Compliance and then, in many cases, the council will issue your building permit (sometimes you can skip the building permit – you can read more here). Then we’ll issue your Start Work Authorisation and you’re away.
We monitor construction as it progresses, and on completion we inspect the building work to check that it matches the approved design. If it does, then all good and we can certify it is suitable for use and will issue your Occupancy Permit and final documentation.
Our greatest value…
But the greatest value of a building surveyor is often considerably earlier in the process. We work across legal, architectural and engineering disciplines and our knowledge can be exceedingly useful to help set project parameters early in the design or even the feasibility stages. We can inform you of the consequences of design decisions early on, helping you decide among development options or building materials, and potentially saving costs (and heartache) down the track. Ultimately, your building surveyor helps reduce risk for both owners and the project team, and gives you the knowledge to settle on the best solutions for your project.