Council’s building certification team is available to assist with building relating enquiries and lodgement of development applications for building work. Our team is based in Toowoomba however issue development approvals for building work throughout the region. They also handle jobs across other local government areas in Queensland.
A 'duty building certifier' is available in the Toowoomba Customer Service Centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays or otherwise by appointment during office hours.
Finding a certifier
Council’s preferred certifier
Council’s affiliated certifier is Total Range Certification, who provide a range of building approval and consultancy services for the construction industry, from large commercial projects, industrial projects and residential project (including new dwelling, extensions, alterations and additions, sheds, carports, pergolas and the like). Please visit their website for more information.
To find a private certifier please search business directories such as the Yellow Pages or via an online search. You could also contact any registered local builder for advice on private certifiers that they know of or would recommend.
Alternatively QBCC can provide you with a list of licensed certifiers. You will need to download and print off the application form (‘Obtaining a list of licensed operators’ PDF) from the QBCC website.
The role of building certifiers
A building certifier is also known as a 'building surveyor' or 'building inspector'. Their role is to ensure all approved buildings/structures to which they are licensed to endorse comply with all relevant standards and codes. In Queensland, building certifiers can issue development approvals for building work, undertake mandatory stage inspections and issue formal documentation and inspection certificates relating to the building development. Building certifiers can be either employed by Council or private industry.
Scope & limitations of building certifiers
Building certifiers are involved in assessing and inspecting building work to ensure compliance with the Planning Act 2016, Building Act 1975, Building Regulation 2006, National Construction Code (Building Code of Australia) and relevant Australian Standards and building assessment codes (i.e. Queensland Development Code). They do not undertake plumbing or planning related approvals or inspections. Building Certifiers may be licensed to:
- Certify all buildings and structures (building surveyor unlimited)
- Certify buildings and structures up to maximum 3 storeys and floor area of 2000m2 (building surveyor limited)
- Certify buildings and structures of domestic buildings (Class 1 &10) up to a maximum of 2 storeys and floor area of 500m2 (assistant building surveyor/ building surveyor technician)
The role of building certifiers
Building certifiers assess and inspect that building and structures are actually built to approved plans. During inspections they physically check that structures are constructed accurately, in the approved location and to approved standards; based on the approved development approval and plans issued by the building certifier. For example, they measure the height of handrails, assess the assembly of stairs/walkways, structural framing, fire safety, energy efficiency etc. If they detect a matter that is contrary to the approved plans, standards or relevant codes; changes to buildings and structures or further development approvals or compliance permits are required.
Building certifiers do not supervise work quality. The primary function of the certifier’s inspections is to confirm that the construction work complies with the approved plans and relevant building standards at pre-determined stages i.e. footings, slab, frame and final and any other required stages or aspects.
It is the responsibility of the contractor and owner to work together to ensure that the building work is carried out to an acceptable standard of quality and finish. Some owners may engage their architect or designer to supervise these aspects of the work.
Building certifiers code of conduct
All accredited building certifiers, both Council and private based, are bound by a strict code of conduct and have an obligation to always act in the public interest. Severe penalties can apply if they fail in their duties. The Queensland Building and Construction Committee (QBCC) website carries out audits of building certifiers and private certifiers work, investigates complaints and can take disciplinary action against building certifiers and private certifiers found guilty of professional misconduct. Any person may lodge a complaint with the QBCC against the action of a building certifier or a private building certifier.
Common problems faced by building certifiers
A familiar issue that building certifiers discover is that parties involved in a building development do not thoroughly read the conditions of the relevant approvals for the development and what is required for a specific project. Specifically, the times of required inspections are a common oversight which may result in potentially expensive and time consuming ramifications. For example, framing inspections are scheduled before insulation, lining and cladding is placed on walls – if sheeting is installed before inspections it will have to be removed so the required inspections can be carried out.
Solving disagreements with building certifiers
Usually, disagreements between building certifiers and parties involved in building/altering structures occur due to misunderstanding a particular issue to a specific project. Such disagreements are commonly solved by simply clarifying the matter – as per the approved plans. Disagreements could also occur at the assessment stage of a project, before construction has started. As the project at assessment stage is a ‘concept-on-paper’, changes are much easier to make than after pouring the cement! Therefore differences are easily solved by open communication between parties.
Parties to a development have a right to appeal a decision of the building and development approvals and conditions therein are available under the provisions of the Planning Act 2016. Building and development matters may be heard by the Building and Development Dispute Resolution Committee or the Planning and Environment Court.
In the event of a ‘falling-out’ with a building certifier, parties can refer the matter to the Queensland Building and Construction Committee (QBCC) for mediation and if they are not satisfied with a decision they can refer the matter to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
How building certifiers are certified
All building certifiers who issue approvals in Queensland, both Council and Private are required by law to be licensed with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission. They are also required to be registered with the appropriate accrediting body such as Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
You can confirm a building certifier's licence and accreditation history online at the Queensland Building and Construction Commission search.