Glossary of Terms for Building or Renovating (continued):

Following on from our recent post, some more terms used in the Building process are:

Council Certifier:             A Council Certifier (or Building Inspector) is employed by your Local Council to perform the same tasks as a Private certifier. They will inspect various stages of the building construction and then provide Certification on completion that the building works comply with the Approved Plans and Specifications.

Prior to 2000, Council Building Inspectors were the only people approved to inspect and certify works. Following the introduction of Private Certifiers, responsibility has been moved away from Local Council with more developers choosing to use Private Certifiers for their projects. Most inspections and certifications are now carried out by Private Certifiers (2019)

Geotechnical Engineer: A Geotechnical Engineer will carry out investigation (usually by drilling bore-holes) on your site, and provide a report that will determine the “Site Classification” of the soil on your site. This Site Classification will then allow the Structural Engineer to prepare a footing design that suits the specific conditions on your site. Footing designs need to be carried out either in accordance with the specifications set out in the Australian Standard AS2870 – Residential Slabs and Footings, or in accordance with Engineering Design principles.

In any case, the Structural Engineer needs to know what the ground is like that the building will be sitting on. They need to know if there is rock underlying the site that may make excavation difficult, if there is sand, or if there are clays on site that may expand and contract depending on moisture conditions (ie, clays will contract during period of dry weather). Each of these different soil types will require different footing designs to ensure that the building will remain stable and will reduce the likelihood of damage occurring to the structure.