The role of the building surveyor is to verify that your building work meets the minimum regulations and standards.

An appropriately qualified Victorian building surveyor can explain the regulations to you and will inspect the construction at various mandated stages.

The surveyor is an extremely important member of your building 'team'. They’re ‘on the ground’ and independently checking that you’re getting what you pay for. If you want to verify what you’re being told by the builder, talk to the surveyor. 

In Victoria, since September 2016, builders are not permitted to appoint a building surveyor on behalf of an owner (though they can recommend one). This regulation is an excellent intervention by government that ensures you can appoint a surveyor who is entirely independent from the builder. There have been some celebrated building failures in Victoria in the past 5 years, which has attracted significant media attention, and underlines the need for a clear separation between builder and surveyor.

The Regulator

The role of the Surveyor as described by the Victorian Building Authority

A building surveyor is a professional trained in understanding the building control process.

There are two types of building surveyor:

- Private building surveyors &

- Municipal building surveyors.

Building surveyors are authorised to assess building plans with a view to ensuring they comply with the Building Act 1993, the Building Regulations 2018 and the National Construction Code.

Building surveyors are responsible for ensuring buildings are safe, accessible and energy efficient, and therefore have an impact on the design, planning and functionality of buildings.

A building surveyor remains involved for the duration of the building project. They carry out inspections – or have a building inspector carry out inspections on their behalf – to sign off each mandatory notification stage of construction.

You can only appoint one building surveyor to a building project. Once building work is complete, the building surveyor is responsible for issuing the occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.

A registered building surveyor is authorised to:

- Assess building permit applications for compliance with the Building Act 1993, Building Regulations 2018 and National Construction Code

- Issue building and occupancy permits, and certificates of final inspection

- Conduct building inspections at the mandatory notification stages

- Serve Direction to Fix non-compliant building work, and

- Serve building notices and orders under the Building Act 1993.

Appointing a Building Surveyor

  1. Municipal Building Surveyor

If you decide to engage a municipal building surveyor, you do not need to formally appoint them, simply apply to them for a building permit. To do so, contact the Municipal Building Surveyor's office at your local council.

  1. Private Building Surveyor

You can search for a local building surveyor using the –

Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) website.

Victorian Building Authority (VBA) website, or

- Use Google, “Building Surveyor & Your Suburb”. Importantly you need to check that the Surveyor is appropriately registered with the VBA.

A private building surveyor must notify the relevant council within seven days of being appointed to a building project. Once building work is underway, the person in charge must ensure that the building surveyor's registration number and contact details, as well as the details of the building permit, are displayed on a site sign on the property in a visible location

by Brendan Watkins - 2019


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