The Australian Building Control System #bregs #JohnOSullivan

by bregs blog admin team


The Australian building control system is like many things Australian similar but different. The National Construction Code (formerly the building code of Australia) are the regulations across all states with some variations for different states. There is only one class of professional who can certify, these are Building Surveyors, they can be public or private sector and in some states they issue the building permits too. Building Surveyors must be independent, they cannot be the designer, engineer, and owner or otherwise financially involved. There are different levels of registration across all states in Western Australia (WA) where the author is currently based there is Level 1 – Unlimited, Level 2 – Two Story up to 2000m² and Technician – Two Story up to 500m². Registration is controlled by the Building Commission and is subject to having certain qualifications and experience.

The only international qualification recognised for registration as a Building Surveyor in Australia is a Chartered RICS in Building Control Surveying.

WA was the last state to adopt private building surveying in May 2012. In the WA system the final plans are certified for compliance with the BCA by a registered building surveyor and then submitted to the Local Council for a building permit to be issued. The application must contain the name of the builder who where the works are valued at over $20,000 must be a registered builder. A home owner may apply to the Building Commission to be an owner builder so self building is permitted when approved.

All residential building projects over $20,000 must have mandatory Builders Warranty insurance, owner builders must provide it if they sell within seven years of completion.

There is no mandatory inspection required by permit authorities or by building surveyors during construction in WA so generally it is not carried out.

On completion of a building the builder must serve a notice of completion stating that they have completed the works in accordance with the approved plans, etc.

For non domestic buildings an occupancy permit is required prior to occupation which must be accompanied by a Certificate of Construction Compliance for new buildings or a Certificate of Building Compliance for existing buildings. These must be signed by a registered Building Surveyor.

The system does work reasonably well even though the lack of mandatory inspection will invariably lead to abuse or failure of the system and based on some poor experiences in the eastern states may well be reviewed.


About the Author

John O’Sullivan is a Chartered Architectural Technologist MCIAT who qualified in 1993 with a BSc in Architectural Technology and worked in Ireland until August 2012 including 12 years running a small practice in the west of Ireland. Following a WA government jobs expo he was recruited to the position of Senior Building Surveyor in the City of Kalgoorlie Boulder in Western Australia. He is currently undergoing the RICS professional Experience route to MRICS to allow registration as a Level 1 Building Surveyor in WA. Under the SI80 he will not be allowed certify in his own right in Ireland as an Architectural Technologist without going through a conversion process