This list is a brief introduction to some terms used in the
planning, approval, and building of your home or renovations.
Local Council: Your
Local Council will need to approve of any development or construction work
carried out on your site. They will need plans and specifications prepared
showing what the works are that you are planning, whether it is a small extension,
a new family home, or a multi-unit development. Depending on the complexity of
the works, you may be able to provide a simple hand-drawn plan showing your
works. Otherwise either an Architect or Draftsperson will need to prepare plans
to the required standard for Council Submission.
person with a University Degree in Architecture. These people or firms are
generally experienced in preparing design drawings for houses and renovations.
They will usually meet with you and discuss what your ideas are. They will then
prepare plans for your review and will revise as needed. They are familiar with
Local Council development guidelines and will ensure that what you wish to do
complies with relevant requirements. If required they can provide a cost
estimate for your development, and even carry out construction supervision and
project management for the building. Architects are sometimes portrayed as producing
“fancy” designs (not your normal project home style building).
people are usually less qualified than Architects and will provide various
levels of detail in preparing your plans. For smaller or more straight-forward
projects they can be more cost effective than Architects. They will prepare
plans to comply with Local Council guidelines. They are generally less
expensive than Architects. They are usually more suited to preparing drawings
for more conventional “standard style” buildings or renovations.
Structural Engineer: They
are Engineers with a University Degree in Civil or Structural Engineering. They
will generally have experience in different types of construction, with some
engineers focussing on residential developments, some on Commercial
developments, and others on Industrial Buildings. Residential construction can
range from simple additions, to new houses, multi-unit town houses, and multi-story
apartment buildings. Structural Engineers will need to design such elements as
footings, beams, frames, retaining walls, etc. These elements will need to be
signed off to ensure that they are structurally adequate and safe, and will be
required prior to obtaining Council approval for your project. You should
ensure that your Structural Engineer is competent in the types of works you are
carrying out, has adequate Professional Indemnity insurance in case something
goes wrong, and that they are a Member of the Institution of Engineers
Australia. Depending on which state our are building in, the Engineer may also
require additional State-Specific Certification (ie, Registered Professional
Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ), Victorian Building Authority (VBA) Membership in
Private Certifier: During
construction, various building elements will need to be inspected and certified
to ensure that the construction matches the design plans. Such things as
footings, frames, waterproofing, drainage, and plumbing need to be inspected during
the works. This is the role of Council or alternatively a Private Certifier.
Once you have obtained your Development Approval from your Council,
you must decide whether you will engage the Council or a Private Certifier to prepare
your Construction Certificate (your “CC”) and carry out the require inspection,
before you commence building.
The Private Certifier will inspect your works at various
stages to ensure that the works are in accordance with the Architectural plans,
Engineers’ details, and other requirements. At completion of the project, they
will issue Certification that the works have been carried out in accordance
with the Approved Plan, Engineers Details, etc. They will then issue an
Occupation Certificate for the works, and you can move in or sell the property without
To be continued……