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Orphaned Building Permits are unresolved building permits issued by a private building surveyor who cannot complete their role. There are many reasons why this may happen including, retirement, insolvency, lack of insurance, cancellation, or suspension of registration by the Victorian Building Authority, lack of insurance, imprisonment, illness, or in some cases death.

It is estimated that there are tens of thousands of orphaned building permits throughout Victoria, and the number is increasing. Pressure is often put on local Councils to take over these permits, but Local Councils may be reluctant to take on an incomplete building permit for several reasons, examples may include but are not limited to:


  • The potential of inheriting liabilities arising from earlier below-standard work which the Municipal Building Surveyor could personally become liable and subject to sanction by the Building Practitioners Board resulting in the possible loss of registration or civil litigation.

  • Considerable amount of work and effort required to resolve non-compliant issues or the possibility of destructive testing of the existing building works.

  • Lack of documentation makes the completion of functions difficult.

  • The potential rise of insurance premiums due to additional risk.

  • Conflict to charge the owner new fees and then carry out enforcement.

In the case where a building permit has not been finalised, the owner will be required to engage a private building surveyor to finalise the permit and issue a Certificate of Final Inspection or Occupancy Permit.

The owner can engage a private building surveyor by transferring the original building surveyors functions to finalise the building permit.

What BW&A National Can Do

We have the capability and team in place to take over incomplete building permits and can assist owners through the process of appointing BW&A National as their new building surveyor and accepting the transfer of functions.


Our Process

  • To begin we will request all information about the permit including all relevant documents, plans and records of all inspections (if applicable) already carried out.

  • If applicable/ as necessary a preliminary site inspection is carried out to assess what stage the project is at.

  • Once the documentation has been received and assessed and we are confident that we can assist you a fee proposal will be sent.

  • Upon acceptance of the fee proposal we will commence the transfer process

Depending on the circumstance there are two different ways this can be achieved:

Transfer of Functions

A Private Building Surveyor may transfer a building permit to another Private Building Surveyor this is called a transfer of functions.


The transferring building surveyor must gain consent to the transfer from both the new building surveyor and the person who appointed the original building surveyor.


Complete the Authority to Transfer form and provide it to the new building surveyor.


The new building surveyor will then complete their section of the Authority to Transfer and complete the Transfer of Function on BAMS (Building Activity Management System)


The transfer of building surveyor functions takes effect on the latest of:

  • the date a copy of the Transfer Form is given to the VBA

  • the date a copy of the Transfer Form is given to the relevant Council

  • the date specified in the Transfer Form on which the transfer is to take effect.

The alternative - in the case of the Building Surveyors Death, Cancelation or Suspension is for the owner to submit a Notice of Intention to Appoint a new Building Surveyor form to the VBA seeking the consent of the VBA to terminate the appointed building surveyor in order to appoint a new registered building surveyor.


Details to be provided include:


Building Permit and Owner Information

Property Address

Brief Description of the Work

Stage of Building Work

Details of the first Building Surveyor Appointed



The Building Surveyor taking on the appointment will need to sign the form and doing so agrees to take over the functions of the first building surveyor for the building work, including the enforcement of any and all outstanding building notices, building orders or direction to fix building work.

Once the transfer has been completed and accepted, we start a full BCA assessment to ensure the previous Building Surveyor has assessed the documents correctly. Essentially starting the whole process again to ensure compliance.


At this point depending on the stage of the project work can re-commence, and an occupancy certificate or a certificate of final inspection can be issued when satisfactorily completed.


For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Orphaned / Detached Building Permits

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