What does a Building Surveyor do?
Since the dramatic landslip at a construction site in Mount Waverley investigations have revealed that in the past six years dozens of surveyors have been reprimanded and fined or had their registration suspended or cancelled. So, what does a Building Surveyor do? Are they providing a quality, valued service?
There is an inherent conflict of interest in having private building surveyors assess building documentation and construction work while they are employed and paid by the builder.
The national president of the Builders Collective of Australia, Phil Dwyer said that in many cases there was a “cosy” relationship between developers and private building surveyors.
A recent report warned that private building surveyors may be unwilling to challenge substandard or illegal construction because they were reliant on the builder for ongoing business.
The report found building surveyors were more than seven times more likely to have their registrations cancelled than any other class of building practitioner.
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) conducts audits of building permits that “targets regulatory risks which have the potential to cause a detrimental effect to the public, rather than focusing on a target number of building permits to audit.”
Monash Council, the local council for the Highbury Road site said a building permit was granted by the surveyor, but the VBA is investigating all the practitioners involved, including the builder.
The Auditor-General recommended the state government review regulations to ensure surveyors provide “independent oversight of building and the building system”.
A Victorian government spokeswoman said the regulations were under review.
Those disciplined by the building board in the past six years have worked on job sites all over Victoria.
A Brighton building surveyor who was recently found guilty of issuing a building permit for construction he knew had already begun was able to keep his license.
In 2011, a surveyor had his registration cancelled after he was found guilty of 63 allegations, affecting 10 sites, including in Upwey, Berwick, Bright and Frankston.
Other cases demonstrate surveyors have issued building permits for works that did not have local council planning permission and failed to ensure neighbouring properties were protected during construction.
RFT Solutions always engages building surveyors that are independent from the builder.