What is the difference between a Building Surveyor’s inspection and an Independent Quality Assurance Inspection?

 
 

When building, we can either put all our faith into the builder and their quality control measures or we can take some of the control back and engage independent advice.  

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A common misconception from new home owners is that a Building Surveyor will ensure the overall quality of their build, including contractual specifications. This is in fact not the case.  

As the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) states, Building Surveyors “have a statutory responsibility for ensuring buildings are safe to occupy, energy efficient, accessible and meet all legal requirements. They review, analyse and assess plans for compliance to current standards, conduct inspections and issue relevant legislative permits, certification and approvals”. 

While a Building Surveyor will conduct inspections at ‘mandatory notification stages’ to ensure the building work satisfies minimum requirements of the relevant legislation i.e. Building Act 1993, Building Regulations and the Building Code of Australia, they are not responsible for ensuring the building work is carried out to an acceptable standard of workmanship. In short, Surveyors work towards the compliance of the build – not so much the quality.  

Those who have spent years saving to build a new home, months planning for it and countless hours dreaming about it, obviously want to ensure that it will be built to an acceptable standard that will ensure less problems in the future. This is where independent Quality Assurance inspections are vital.  

Stage-by-stage inspections ensure quality control on site and give peace of mind to owners. While it does depend on who is engaged to complete the Quality Assurance audits, these inspections are typically more thorough than those of a Building Surveyor due to the differing roles and nature of the services. Whilst there are some overlap of items inspected, there are significant differences. Some examples are: 

  1. Pre-pour stage: An independent inspection will involve overall dimension checks, footing locations and pipe locations checks. While Building Surveyors/Building Inspectors check set-backs, the responsibility is up to the builder/contractors to ensure correct dimensions. 

  2. Frame stage: An independent inspection will check walls are plumb (level). Unless the wall is related to a structural wall and is only noticeable by eye, it wouldn’t be noted by the Building Surveyor/Building Inspector. 

  3. Pre-plaster stage: There are no mandatory inspections completed by a Building Surveyor/Building Inspector at this stage. An independent inspection will check that services installed by other trades with holes/notches through load bearing studs and walls haven’t undermined the signed-off Frame. Walls and cornice lines are also checked for straight to ensure the finish is in line with the VBA’s Guide to Standards and Tolerances. 

  4. Final inspection: Building Surveyors/Building Inspectors will rely on certification from the builder that the insulation has been installed in the ceiling, whereas an independent building inspection will check the roof void to identify any insulation non-compliances. 

Along with the above examples, contractor workmanship is examined during an independent inspection to ensure that items which could have time/cost implications and affect the quality are identified and monitored to ensure they are closed out accordingly. 

Other elements that differentiate a Building Surveyor/Building Inspectors and Independent Quality Assurance Inspector’s role include items in the contract and specification. This is important to ensure you are getting what you paid for, examples include: 

  • 40mm stone bench compared to laminate finish 

  • Additional electrical items are installed as per the plan locations 

  • Square set cornice in lieu of 75mm cove 

  • Cold water point for fridge 

  • Gas point for future BBQ/Heater 

  • Noggings installed for future ceiling fans, T.V.’s, grabrails 

Keep in mind that inspection services differ between businesses so be sure to ask these 4 questions before making your selection: 

  1. What are the qualifications of the individual that will be completing the inspection? 

  2. Do you have Professional Indemnity and Public liability insurance? 

  3. What are the specific items that will be inspected at each stage? 

  4. How long does each inspection take? 

Independent inspections by Manse Group are conducted by a Registered Building Practitioner and fully qualified Carpenter. For client peace of mind, we're fully insured with Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance and mostly importantly very experienced in a wide variety of aspects in the Building and Construction industry.

Want more information? 

Speak to our friendly team about your build. Call 03 5200 9210 or email info@mansegroup.com.au