There may be various forms of “building inspections” but when it comes to building a new house, the inspection typically refers to the assessments done at various stages of the construction. The primary goal here is to make sure that everything is done right and in accordance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and other relevant Australian Standards.

Of course, constructing a new building is no small feat. In fact, a lot can go horribly wrong if tiny details are overlooked at any stage of the actual construction. And worse, those overlooked faults that have been deemed insignificant early on can wreak untold havoc on the property.

Even if you’re working with diligent and meticulous builders, never discount the chance of something going not quite the way you want it to. It is for this reason that independent building inspections have to be part of any construction project.

Pre-purchase vs. new home inspections

Although most people think of the latter at the mention of “building inspections”, it isn’t the only option to assess properties. Technically speaking, buyers commission pre-purchase inspections for existing estates to check the structure for damage caused by pests, water or moisture levels, and natural wear and tear. It’ll give them a general idea of the state of the house they’re about to buy.

What if you want a property built from the ground? In this case, this kind of inspection may not be suitable. Instead, you’ll need the help of new home inspectors and surveyors since this is their cup of tea.

Building surveying

Tasked with understanding the building control process, a building surveyor has the authority to assess building plans to see if they comply with the Building Code of Australia, the Australian Standards, and other Building Acts or legislation/requirements of the jurisdiction the property is in. For the most part, these professionals can either be municipal (or working for the government) or private in their operation.

In their pursuit to ensure the building being constructed is safe, accessible, and energy-efficient, the surveyor will get involved in the design and planning phases. In fact, he or she will be around for the entire length of the building project, from start to finish, and conduct inspections to sign off on every stage of the construction. Only one surveyor will be typically appointed to a project, however.

At the end of the construction work, it is the surveyor who issues the certificate of final inspection or occupancy permit. Beyond that, he or she can also be commissioned to do inspection for dilapidation reports or compliance audits for insurance.

Quality assurance

Besides surveying, property investors also have the option to oversee every stage of the construction. To do so, they may want to commission a quality assurance inspection, which can give them a professional opinion on the quality of the build at each phase. In other words, the building consultant checks each stage of the project and provides feedback whether it is done right or not.

A common reason people get this kind of inspection done is that the client may not have full confidence in the ongoing building process and they want a third party to assess the workmanship of the builder. In most cases, property investors would want a licensed building inspector to see if the work that is carried out adheres to the relevant Australian Standards.

Another common reason property investors will ask for a quality assurance inspection done is that they want to avoid disputes with a builder who claims stage payments for the construction project. Such disputes occur when a builder claims to have accomplished a certain stage of the construction and consequently requests for payment even though the actual work hasn’t reached that agreed milestone.

Are these building inspections mandatory?

For the most part, the inspections required for a construction project are listed on your building permits/approvals. The type of inspections may vary depending on the state you’re building the property on. Generally speaking, a building surveyor will be legally required to sign off on the following inspections:

  • Footings inspection – This inspection is done to check the excavation work done and before concrete is poured for the dwellings foundations.
  • Framing inspection – The surveyor inspects all the framing work of the property being assessed.
  • Waterproofing inspection – While only mandatory in New South Wales and Queensland, this particular assessment checks the waterproofing in wet areas e.g. laundry, kitchen, shower, bath, etc.
  • Final inspection – The building surveyor thoroughly inspects the completed house, from top to bottom. He or she checks if everything has been done in compliance with regulatory requirements.

The surveyor must approve the work done for each mandatory inspection stage and he or she will issue a building permit if the output meets the standards. Afterward, the builder can now proceed to the next stage in the construction process. If anything has been deemed wrong or insufficient at any stage, the work has to be rectified to the satisfaction of the building inspector before an approval will be issued.

While commissioning building surveyors are mandatory, QA building inspections are often commissioned by the builders themselves to coincide with every progress payment. It’s actually a good way for the property developer to assure investors or clients that everything has been going according to plan and that they deserve to be paid.

Inspections Are Critical During the Construction Phase

People often confuse surveyors as inspectors and vice versa but both actually play different roles. Building inspectors are brought to the construction site to assess the general quality of the workmanship and provide advice on contractual issues. Meanwhile, surveyors deal with regulatory issues and issue permits and approvals every step of the project.

It might seem excessive to pay for their services but having a qualified set of eyes to oversee the building work is always a practical decision. The more building inspections you can get done, the more confident you’ll be at the quality and safety of the structure getting built.

To get the right new home inspections for your ongoing property development, give our experienced team a call! We’ll be glad to be your eyes and ears throughout your construction project.