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Building consultants for residential building work

This policy states that HIA supports licensing of building consultant who provide advice to consumers with respect to residential building work.

HIA’s Position statement

  1. HIA supports the licensing or registration of building consultant.
  2. A building consultant is a person engaged directly by a client, or through an agent acting on behalf of a client to review building work completed.
  3. A building consultant provides the services of a building, pre-purchase and/or handover inspection including:
    • carrying out residential building inspections
    • preparing inspection, pre-completion, defect or similar reports, and
    • providing advice on remedial/rectification work/costs.
  4. A building consultant should:
    • have experience appropriate to the type of work they are inspecting
    • hold qualifications and competency appropriate to the type of work they are inspecting
    • hold appropriate PI insurance
    • be able to be held accountable for the observations, conclusions and recommendations outlined in their reports
    • be required to maintain knowledge of current building codes and standards, and
    • comply with all regulatory safety standards.

    Inspection reports

  5. When defects are identified by a building consultant during an inspection on behalf of a consumer they must be substantiated by reference to supporting documentation and evidence.
  6. Supporting documentation and evidence includes, but is not limited to, details on the relevant requirements from:
    • The National Construction Code and referenced Australian Standards.
    • Manufacturer’s instructions or specifications.
    • Government or industry guides to standards and tolerances.


    • Building consultants are now common place in the residential building industry, providing a range of services to purchasers of new and established homes, and contracting directly with consumers.
    • While building consultants provide pre-purchase property inspection reports for existing homes, a large portion of their work relates to the provision of pre-purchase inspections and reports for partly constructed or recently completed homes.
    • Building consultants are regularly engaged by clients during the building process, to act as the client’s representative in inspecting stage completions, to provide a defects/inspection report at practical completion, and/or to prepare a report prior to the expiration of the cooling off period.
    • Their influence on both the payment claim process and a client’s confidence (state of mind) can be substantial, despite many not having appropriate qualifications or experience in a relevant building, construction or engineering trade or profession.
    • There is currently no requirement in any jurisdiction that a building consultant be licensed or hold any formal qualifications, meaning there is limited regulatory control in relation to quality of advice, service standards, business conduct and discipline.

Policy endorsed by HIA National Policy Congress: May 2015; Re-endorsed with amendments 2020 (title change).

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