Building Surveyors are involved in both statutory and consulting work.
Statutory building surveyors have legislative authority to assess and evaluate plans and designs for proposed buildings (including proposed alterations and improvements) and proposed regulated building use (including proposed changes in use) to ensure the plans, designs and use comply with the relevant building standards and statutory regulatory requirements.
Building surveyors also ensure that buildings are constructed in accordance with approved plans and in accordance with the National Construction Code and Australian Standards to ensure that they are safe and compliant. The intention of the authority provided in the legislation in relation to building standards and regulations is to ensure that work done is completed in a compliant manner and that buildings, because they are compliant, are safe and suitable for occupation.
The result of statutory building surveying work should be that the end users of buildings (owners or occupiers) are less likely to be exposed to personal injury or liability for injury, are less exposed to additional costs of repair or excessive maintenance work in order to enable use, and that the value in use of the asset (the building) is not adversely impacted due to non-compliance.
Whilst statutory building surveyors work with other building professionals involved in the building process (builders, architects, civil engineers, electrical engineers, fire engineers, developers, manufacturers etc.), the work of statutory building surveyors is discreet, separate and independent of those other parties, particularly as it involves the exercise of a regulatory function which other professionals are not able to perform.
Building surveyors acting in statutory roles undertake the following functions:
a. assess and determine or certify the extent to which application documents comply with technical building requirements;
b. issue approvals, consents or building permits as applicable under relevant State and Territory laws;
c. inspect building work to audit compliance with relevant laws;
d. inspect health and safety aspects of existing buildings to verify ongoing compliance with approval or occupation requirements;
e. where authorised by State and Territory laws, take appropriate compliance and enforcement actions to ensure building work complies with regulatory requirements;
f. certify inspected works as complying with regulatory requirements and/or approved documents; and
g. approve the use and occupation of buildings or parts of buildings in accordance with relevant laws.
Consulting building surveyors work with a broader range of industry professionals, bodies and clients than statutory building surveyors as there are no legislative constraints to the engagements they accept. Provided consultant building surveyors are acting within the limitations of their qualifications and experience, there is a broad range of occupational work that can be undertaken.
The result of consulting building surveying work should be that the end users of buildings (owners or occupiers) are less likely to be exposed to personal injury or liability for injury, are less exposed to additional costs of repair or excessive maintenance work in order to enable use, and that the value in use of the asset (the building) is not adversely impacted due to non-compliance.
Building surveyors acting in consulting roles undertake the following functions:
a. providing design advice to assist in the provision of compliant proposal documentation;
b. provide advice to building owners and builders in response to statutory inspections of building work in progress to advise on how to achieve compliance with relevant laws;
c. inspect building work on behalf of a building owner to audit agreed aspects such as compliance with relevant laws and contractual requirements including in relation to fitness of purpose and consumer law related aspects of work by the owner’s builder;
d. inspect buildings to ascertain and report on the reasons for failures, defects or other aspects of unsatisfactory performance, on behalf of the building owner, builder, design consultant, insurer, a regulator or as an expert assisting a legal process;
e. provide advice to owners and operators of buildings about achieving ongoing compliance with approval or occupation requirements designed to protect health and safety aspects of existing buildings and also but not necessarily on work health and safety legislation compliance;
f. provide advice to owners and builders responding to compliance and enforcement actions related to how to remediate building work that has been performed otherwise than in conformity with regulatory requirements;
g. provide expert evidence to a Court, Arbitrator or Tribunal;
h. provide compliance assessment services to product and material certification accreditation bodies to be used as part of certification of products;
i. provide opinions or assessments of the adequacy of work performed by other building surveying practitioners to inform an audit process operated by a regulator or other body.
Building surveyors may also work for Federal & State Territory Governments in the area of building policy development.