Category Archives: Owner Builders

Building Defects and Faults

The following examples may provide a little chuckle to those in the know but they should be taken seriously. Thankfully, our inspectors don’t come across this calibre of work every day but we are thrown a curly one every now and then.  If you are a Builder we hope you pick the faults before reading the explanation; if you are an

Owner Builder we hope you don’t follow these examples and if you are an Owner contact us immediately if your Builder’s work resembles what you see below!
No matter who you are, we hope you can appreciate that all examples were constructed with the best intentions, if only a little misguided in their execution.

1. Joints in top plates

No top plate connection at the time of mandatory frame inspection.

The top plate connections has not been installed as per AS 1684.2 Section Joints in top plates.

Joints in top plates and concentration of load support adequately blocked.

Correct top plate connecters placed central to timber top plate this reduces the chances of spliting the timber top plate.

2. Bracing faults

To rectify: sheet ply bracing boards should be attached to each end and reduce the distance between cross metal angle braces

Walls must be permanently braced to resist horizontal racking forces applied to the building. Wall bracing must be designed to resist racking forces equal to or greater than the forces calculated in AS 1686.2 section 9.

3. Inadequate footing support

Incorrect stumps and ground bearing pressure cannot be achieved by a brick!

Changed your mind and decided you want a built in robe after all? No worries, just please get your designer to document it and submit it for a variation to the building permit before you commence changes on site, at the very least to spare our inspectors some sanity.

4. External stair compliance

Steps have inconsistent risers with a slippery area near the edge of the going nosing. Slope relationship (2R+G) complies with BCA Vol 2 Section

This may seem a bit pedantic but it can be the biggest headache at the final inspection, for the inspector and Builder/Owner alike. It’s very rare that we identify issues with internal stairs but just as important is the external access to the new works. The nominal dimension of goings and risers of a stair must be constant throughout each stair flight and treads must have a slip-resistant finish or a suitable non-skid strip near the edge of the nosing these steps do not comply with NCC Vol 2 Section

5. Pre-pour support for suspended slabs

We like the initiative on this one and it’s also a resourceful approach, however it is major safety concern.

Log propping supports and standard “acro-props” may or may not hold up during concrete pour and could endanger pump operators / concreters and associated workers.

The correct tools for the job keeps workers SAFE!! (Commercial bondeck bracing)

What building surveyors do

Building Surveyors are experts in a range of building legislation, technical codes and construction standards. They are in high demand by other allied professions like Architects, Engineers, Town Planners and Builders for their knowledge and expertise, and are often called upon to sit on design teams in the early stages of projects to provide their expert advice.

Building Surveyors have extensive knowledge of the Building Act and Regulations, Building Code of Australia and over 90 Australian, New Zealand and International construction Standards called up in legislation. They have a broad knowledge of Town Planning issues and in some states are permitted to certify subdivisions and issue town planning certificates.

The Building Act creates the roles of private and municpal Building Surveyors. A municipal Building Surveyor is a person who is employed by a Council, whereas a private Building Surveyor is a person who operates as a private entity. Nearly all Building Surveyors are also qualified Building Inspectors.

While Building Surveyors are educated to practice across a number of disciplines, many are now specialising in one or more of the following areas:

  • disabled access
  • fire safety engineering
  • energy efficiency and sustainable development
  • construction law
  • forensic inspection
  • dispute resolution
  • maintenance of essential services
  • private certification
  • building materials science
  • code development & legislation
  • expert witness situations
  • alternative building solutions

One function of a Building Surveyor is to certify plans and structures in accordance with building legislation and to issue a building permit to start construction.

The role of a Building Surveyor is to assess design documentation for compliance with the Building Act, Regulations and National Construction Code to ensure a safe, healthy and sustainable built environment.


There are few buildings these days that are not required to have the expertise of a Building Surveyor to assess and approve a building for construction and occupancy.

Building Surveyors also approve plans in accordance with building legislation, issue a building permit to commence construction and then manage the inspection process from foundations through to completion.

Building Surveyors look at a wide range of buildings and structures including shops, high-rise office and residential apartment buildings, train stations, parking complexes, towers, masts and antennas, schools, hospitals, prisons, factories, storage buildings, marinas, laboratories, aged care buildings, pools and dwellings of all shapes, sizes and materials.

Their role is different from that of a Land Surveyor who surveys subdivisions of land, taking into account the slope, geography and topography of land or a Quantity Surveyor who estimates the costs of materials and can provide taxation schedules for buildings.

While it can be viewed that their role is primarily to issue and maintain building permits, a Building Surveyor has functions beyond this.

Building Surveyors can assess existing structures for compliance in a number of different areas such as passive and active fire services, structural soundness, fit for purpose assessment of the suitability of a building for a particular use, pre-purchase and owner-built inspection audits of existing buildings and bushfire risk assessment services.

One of the most important functions of a Building Surveyor is the qualified and experienced advice they can offer your next project. They are valuable member of your project team from day one that can help you achieve Regulatory compliance in a cost-effective and efficient manner.