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Q.        My builder says he will appoint a Certifier to inspect his work. I’m worried that he may be a friend of the builder and therefore not be tough enough with his inspections. Should I have the Council or a Private Certifier do the inspections.

A.         There is little difference between the Council and a Private certifier when it comes to the knowledge they require for employment or accreditation, the Private Certifier however takes responsibility for his work where the council will deny all liability. This is changing however as Councils transfer their building departments into separate business units and the Building Surveyors are required to be licenced. 

The Council will inspect and certify only the mandatory stages of construction. You can ask your Private Certifier to do additional inspections however you should check the inspectors qualifications and experience to do the extra work.

These are the Critical Stage Inspections.

1.          At the commencement of building work
2.          After excavation for an prior to the placement of a new footings and
3.          Prior to covering any reinforced concrete building element and
4.          Prior to the covering of any framework for any or all roof or other building element and
5.          Prior to covering any stormwater drainage connections and
6.          After the building work has been completed then prior to any occupation certificate been issued in relation to the building

Mandatory certification is a trap because while it gives the appearance that it looks after the homeowners interest, it does not ensure your home is built well. It ensures that as a minimum, construction complies with the Performance Provisions of the Building Code of Australia and the requirements of the Development Consent. (See other questions about the Building Code of Australia.) Inspection time allowed for each job is too short to permit detailed inspection and report.

To ensure your home is constructed to a high standard you may be wise to firstly specify a better standard of finish that is required by the Home Building Act and the Building Code of Australia and then to appoint a Building Surveyor who is experienced in construction and quality assurance  to inspect the building so that quality is maintained.

Most builders are happy to have a second set of eyes to prevent problems being covered up only to appear during the defect liability period. In most instances defects are in their sub-contractor’s work and rectification is at no cost to them. Their on-going relationship with their subbies is not damaged when a third party delivers the bad news.

We could send more detail on our inspection service if you wish, please feel free to make an enquiry.