Applications for occupancy permits
March 11, 2019
Late last year HIA provided information for members about building surveyors demanding that builders sign certificates, declarations or similar documents before an occupancy permit could be issued. The practice of some building surveyors making unreasonable demands for documents, such as section 238 certificates, signed by builders regretfully continues.
VBA Practice Note 03-2018 clearly describes when section 238 certificates can be used. Some building surveyors seem to believe that forcing builders to sign statutory declarations or similar to state that the building work complies with the Building Regulation and the Building Code will relieve the building surveyor of responsibility if the work does not comply. The practice note clearly states that a builder cannot sign a section 238 certificate. HIA recommends that you inform the VBA if a building surveyor demands you sign such a document before they issue an occupancy permit.
It is understood that some building surveyors have been told by the VBA to stop demanding builders sign section 238 certificates or similar. A possible response from building surveyors will be to remove from their documents any references to section 238 or similar statements and then still insist that the builder sign the document. The builder is still entitled to refuse to sign this type of document and the building surveyor needs to justify demanding this document. If the documents were justified all builders would be asked to produce the document and this is definitely not happening.
For further information, please call an HIA Workplace Adviser on 1300 650 620.