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Appointing a Building Surveyor

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Nathan Pain, Building Surveyor looking at frame during Building Inspection


It is a common misconception that your builder appoints the Building Surveyor on your behalf.

Changes to the Building Act in 2016 mean you (the owner) are responsible for selecting your own Building Surveyor. Your builder may provide suggestions however, ultimately it will be you, as the applicant who is responsible for engaging someone.

Many builders will give you an option of Building Surveyors that they work or have worked with in the past. You are under no obligation to choose from those provided and should indeed do your own research to find the right Building Surveyor to meet your projects needs.


A Building Surveyor is involved throughout the duration of the building work. They ensure the building work complies with legal requirements and issue the building permits that allow work to commence.

Building surveyors carry out inspections (or have a building inspector carry out inspections on their behalf) to ensure building work is being undertaken correctly.

The mandatory inspections that are required are:

- Completion of excavations, before placing footings

- Before pouring the concrete footings or slab

- Completion of framework, and

- Completion of all building work (also known as a ‘Final’)

Other mandatory inspections may include piers, subfloor, retaining walls, fire separation walls, waterproofing (in NSW) and more.

Your builder may also request additional non-mandatory inspections such as pre-plaster.

The Building Surveyor will also issue an occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection when the work is completed.

For more on the Building Permit Process click here

A registered Building Surveyor is authorised to:

- assess building permit applications for compliance with the Building Act 1993, Building Regulations 2018 and National Construction Code

- issue building and occupancy permits, and certificates of final inspection

- conduct building inspections at the mandatory notification stages

- give directions to fix non-compliant building work

- serve building notices and orders.

There are two types of building surveyors:

- private building surveyors

- municipal (local council) building surveyors.

You can choose whether you use a municipal or private building surveyor and can only appoint one building surveyor to a building project.

It’s important to note that a Building Surveyor checks that work meets the minimum building regulations, but does not check that the work:

- meets the standard agreed in your contract

- required by your contract the work has been completed.

How to find the best Building Surveyor for you?

All owners should be doing their own research to consider the most appropriate building surveyor.

A quick Google search can bring up a lot of useful information but also talking to people who have had experience dealing with a particular building surveyor can be really helpful.

Owners should also consider the past domestic and commercial building works which the building surveyor has been involved in to get a better understanding for who is most suitable for the appointment.

You can search for a local building surveyor using the Look up a practitioner tool or by visiting the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors website

For more information or to find out how we can help you with your project don’t hesitate to get in contact


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