The Role Of A Private Building Surveyor In Victoria

Private Building Surveyor Assessing Plans

Private building surveyors play an important role in the Victorian construction industry, supporting home owners, developers, designers and builders to achieve compliance in their designs and fix issues before they become problems on the construction site. Private building surveyors deal with both the small and the more complex projects and can help avoid delays to your important project.

Instead of waiting around for council communication and approvals, a private building surveyor can quickly help you diagnose any potential issues in your design development, giving you more time to adjust your designs and get building faster. But the services of a private building surveyor don’t end there!

In this article, we’ll take a look at the role of a private building surveyor in Victoria, the services they provide to the construction industry and how you can utilise their expertise to increase the efficiency of your next build.

Victorian Private Building Surveyors: Helping You Streamline Your Next Project

Anyone who has applied for a building permit before knows that it can be a convoluted process, with complex legislation to read, hoops to jump through and terminology that even experienced construction industry professionals may not fully understand. Achieving compliance and obtaining a building permit doesn’t need to be difficult, particularly when using the services of an experienced and professional private building surveyor.

In Victoria, private building surveyors are able to assess and approve building permit applications independently of a local council, essentially streamlining the application process by removing additional communications with a third-party. Private building surveyors are registered building practitioners who are overseen by the Victorian Building Authority and bound by a professional Code of Conduct. Once you have formally appointed your building surveyor, they are able to notify the council of their involvement and take over the regulatory compliance aspects of your project, from issuing permits to conducting inspections and issuing occupancy permits or certificates of final inspection.

If an aspect of your project does not comply via the deemed-to-satisfy route, then you’ll need to pursue a Performance Solution. This is something your private building surveyor will need to review and approve. Their knowledge of the National Construction Code could prove invaluable for your build, quickly able to determine if your solution meets the requirements and issue a building permit accordingly. Instead of waiting for busy council workers to get back to you, you’ll have direct access to a building surveyor who can efficiently provide expertise and assessments where needed on your projects. This can be said for nearly all aspects of the design development process for your next construction project, making a private building surveyor a potentially invaluable part of your build!

Private Building Surveyor checking property

Private Building Surveyor Services You Can Utilise

Building permit assessments are a significant part of the work private building surveyors can perform, but are by no means their only role in the construction process. The Victorian Building Authority has very clearly outlined the tasks building surveyors are able to perform, which covers both private and municipal building surveyors:

  • 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 for non-compliant building work
  • Serve building notices and orders.

This essentially makes your private building surveyor your authority for all things safety and compliance in the construction process. From your initial building permits to inspections during the construction process, your building surveyor can be utilised as a trusted advisor to provide expert guidance where required throughout the lifetime of your build. Their extensive knowledge of building regulations, industry standards, and emerging trends allows them to provide valuable insights that will enhance the efficiency and overall success of any construction project.

Private building surveyors are particularly useful for home owners, builders and designers looking to ensure all aspects of their projects are compliant. If there are any issues during the build, then a private building surveyor is also able to issue enforce safety standards with the stakeholders before issuing any occupancy permits or certificates of final inspection.

There are limits to the roles of a private building surveyor who have been appointed for statutory obligations. By law, builders cannot appoint a private building surveyor, this must be done by the property owner or another authorised agent. Private building surveyors can also not be involved in design work, nor act as supervisors on a worksite, nor are they to act as a project manager guiding the work of a construction team. They are engaged as independent professional bodies guiding the regulatory compliance of your construction process, and should importantly be appointed before the commencement of any build. Those who do not do this will likely find themselves in hot water, as the Building Act lists specific penalties for any person or company that completes building work without a valid building permit. Should you find yourself in this position you will likely be issued a Building Notice that requires you to show cause why the works should not be demolished, with a private building surveyor likely required to determine any potential fixes or reasons why this structure is compliant. Better to appoint a building surveyor early to ensure correct procedures are undertaken, than risking having to remove the structure!


Clarifying Your Appointment Obligations And Key Terms

One of the more important aspects of appointing your private building surveyor is to ensure you appoint the right person, as you may find it difficult to change building surveyor once that person has been appointed. The Building Act 1993 prevents property owners from terminating or transferring the appointment of a building surveyor without the consent of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). The three circumstances in which you are allowed to apply to the VBA for the ending of the appointment of your appointed building surveyor are:

  • The building surveyor can no longer perform their duties – this could be because they have died or their registration has been cancelled or suspended.
  • You want to change your building surveyor – this is only possible in limited circumstances.
  • You intend to cancel your building work as you will not continue with this project.

Note, that if you do wish to pursue one of these three options, you and the building surveyor will need to prepare appropriate documentation and the building surveyor’s appointment will continue until after the VBA advises you of their assessment of your application. Additionally, the VBA cannot terminate the appointment of a municipal building surveyor if you have pursued that path. Learn more about your obligations and termination options in this page available on the VBA website.

A final, important distinction for you to remember, are the differences between a consulting building surveyor who may be able to give you advice on design work and relevant building regulations, and the statutory building surveyor who will act as the legal authority assessing your design and permit applications. Once employed as a statutory building surveyor, this person or company has to act as an independent, third-party authority, ensuring all aspects of relevant building code are enforced and that your building will meet all applicable building standards. They are not able, once appointed, to consult with you on design work or act in any construction management roles throughout your design. They are solely appointed to ensure regulatory compliance and will issue building notices and orders if required.  

Achieving Compliance With Deemed To Perform Consulting

Having worked in the construction industry for over 17 years, Deemed To Perform Consulting director Laura Terrnova has seen it all in the building permit application process. Her knowledge of building codes, regulations and guidelines is extensive, now working to support home owners and their authorised agents to achieve compliance and complete their projects with efficiency.

Deemed To Perform Consulting is able to provide private building surveyor services at every stage of the building process, from initial planning through to post-build inspections and issuing occupancy permits. If you need expert guidance on your next build, be sure to contact us today on 0404 300 268 or reach out via email at

work with us

Click below to partner with our building surveying team for your next project.

Recent articles