Building Certifiers

I've had my fair share of dealings with building certifiers and I still cannot see why they charge so much. When building inspections moved out of council hands to private certifiers some 20 years ago it generated its own empire, now a lisence to print money, with no responsibility. The responsibility falls onto the builder in the end who has to cover the works for 6.5 years, certifiers have this little disclaimer its the builders responsibility to ensure the works meet relevant standard etc etc. So why have certifiers? if its the builder that is still going to be holding the bag.

From my point of view certifiers are just another expense put into the construction process.

My recent experience was my patio roof I installed, now the roof is 9 m long by 3.9 wide did not go outside the existing building envelope basically filled in an area between two walls. A certifier wanted a survey of the boundry, I had the existing plans showing the location of the boundry and house position, house was 2.4 metres from boundry, still not good enough, wanted it done again what you think the house moved to the prettier house next door in the last 25 years. His cost was $1200 plus survey, I moved on to next certifier, he was also $1200 he did not worry about the survey but still wanted to charge me $85.00 for rate search, I had 3 recent rate notices showing I own the place etc but still not good enough.

Moved to another he was $770 STILL TO DEAR as far as I was concered. Engaged this certifier after I asked a number of questions, but he got me when all the paperwork arrived with approval to commence work, I was reading the requirements he wanted a pest controller to spray around the post I was installing, it was a steel 6mm walled post welded both ends nowhere near walls 2.4 metres high out of ground to a metal beam to metal sandwished insulation roofing. I questioned this but he wanted it done, the pest controllor just shook his head but was happy to extract $200 from me anyway

Worse was to come when I called to say it was all complete he said just send the paperwork and I'll sign it off :eek: I asked, what you don't want to see the job, no need, if the pest controllor has sprayed and I get the certificate and your happy, its not worth while to come out for such a small job :eek:. So one must ask why have a certifier? To me it was $770 tossed away, apart from when I sell.

I have asked a number of my building friends for a certifier with common sense and reasonable with fees they just say when you find one let me know.

I was chatting to a friend a few week ago and he paid just under $10000 for his reno to be certified :eek:

So what is your view on building certifiers, have you had any fun an games to speak about good or bad.

Of course they are like death and taxes, unavoidable at this stage and here to stay I guess.

hello brian,

in my past life, i was a BC. i am speaking from my own experience and may defer from any other BCs.

It is true that if the structure certified fails or goes faulty, the builder usually bears the major grunt on it. However, the BC still needs to operate to comply with the relevant Act and Regs. And the state/territory building acts and regs
do stipulate that drawings submitted for building permits/licence is required to consist of site plan, floor plan, elevations and sections etc., not to be any greater than a certain scale e.g. 1:200 etc. adequate enough to issue a permit.

in addition, where i used to work, our permits/licences are constantly audited administratively and technically, by a government board. Administratively- adequate information on the forms and drawings e.g. footing details and connection details etc. Technically, well, as it says, whether the whole design is suitable and sound for approval. this government board can take action if and when they see a BC is not operating within those Acts and Regs including revoking the BC's licence.

The rate search (some parts of Aus call it land title search) is again, part of protocol. The details on the application form (for the proposed structure) are all legal documents and they can be use to sue the BC. it is only best for the BC to check it themselves. However, I think $85 for rate search is expensive. Is that how much the council charge for it?

for the pest control spray, are there timber structures in the house? if not, can't see why the BC requested it.

As long as there's a tendency to get sued from a client or action by the governing board, there is no common sense in the job. Experience BCs will exercise risk management and BCs with local knowledge always help.

A question for you. Does the cost include inspections?