Building inspections and approvals

Building certifiers inspect and approve building work and make sure it complies with the relevant aspects of approved building plans and appropriate building standards.They can work for local government or as a private certifier.

Regardless of who a licensed building certifier works for, they must always act in the public interest when performing building certifying functions.

The duty to act in the public interest when performing building certification is a certifier’s primary duty. If there is an inconsistency in a certifier’s obligations, acting in the public interest prevails. 

A building certifier’s failure to act in the public interest may result in disciplinary action being taken. 

Examples of a building certifier failing to act in the public interest include:

  • seeking or accepting a benefit to themselves or others for acting contrary to their statutory functions
  • acting contrary to their statutory functions
  • falsely claiming to hold the appropriate licence needed to carry out building assessments of a particular type
  • acting outside the scope of their legislated powers
  • contravening the Code of Conduct for Building Certifiers
  • acting in a grossly negligent or incompetent way. 

Building certifiers can:

  • assess and approve plans relating to new or altered buildings
  • inspect stages of work, aspects of stages or aspects of assessable work, including mandatory stages for class 1a single detached buildings:
    • foundations and excavation (footings) – before footings are poured
    • slab – before concrete is poured
    • frame – before the cladding or lining is fixed, or masonry construction begun
    • final – when the building work is completed
  • provide certificates of inspection to the homeowner, builder and local authority
  • issue enforcement notices where required
  • give final approval for a building to be occupied.

Building certifiers must keep copies of all building inspection documents for at least 7 years after the building work is completed.

What is the building certifier not responsible for?

  • ensuring a builder is complying with the contract
  • quality control
  • job site supervision.

Appointing a private certifier

Homeowners can directly appoint a private certifier. However, in most cases you are responsible for engaging the private certifier on your client’s behalf.

Regardless of who engaged the private certifier, all relevant parties must be aware of the certifier’s engagement, role and responsibilities, including when:

  • you are the person engaging the certifier (the client) and you are not the owner – you must give the private certifier the name and contact details of the owner within 10 business days after the certifier’s engagement
  • if the owner’s details change, you must notify the private certifier of the change within 5 business days after becoming aware of it.

The owner can request inspection documents relating to the stages of work prior to the final stage.

The owner can also, through you (as the certifier’s client), request a private certifier to perform additional inspections and other certifying functions – that is, in addition to the standard stage inspections already required to be carried out under the building development approval.

See our factsheet for a summary of the entitlements and requests building owners can make regarding certification of their property. 

If you receive a written request for additional certifying functions, you are required to inform the certifier of the request within 5 business days. However, the owner is liable for reasonable costs associated with the additional functions requested.

You can then reach an agreement between yourself, the owner and the building certifier about an agreed day for performing the additional certifying functions. This agreement needs to be reached within 10 business days of the certifier receiving the request. Otherwise, the certifier will nominate a day or a method for determining the day.

Forms to facilitate your obligations in dealing with building certifiers are available from the Business Queensland website.