Understanding Council and Private Certifiers

If you have a construction project, you might hear that you need a certifier. A certifier is simply a specialist who ensures that your building/structure meets the necessary structural or legal requirements. What are these requirements? They include Australian building plans and standards located in the Building Code of Australia, the Planning Act, your state's building legislation and plumbing regulations, etc.

Council Certifiers

Typically, you should use council certifiers (certifiers that work for the government). However, some individuals claim that council certifiers are usually slow and might not guide you effectively or fully through the building certifying process. This means that if you are new to the building certification process, you might come across several problems.

You are required to know what forms to fill out, where to lodge them, how to follow up on them and how to make sure you do not run into building certification problems during your construction project. All these responsibilities are the reasons why you might find private certifiers being recommended.

Private Certifiers

You should first know that all documents or reports generated from a building-certifying process must be lodged with a council. Private certifiers are, therefore, specialists who carry out building certification but lodge the building certification reports to a council on your behalf. They are considered to be faster and can guide you through the process effectively. If you are new to the building certification process, you might find it more convenient to use private certifiers. Their fees might, however, be higher.

What usually happens is that the council trusts private certifiers. If there is a certification problem with your building, the private certifier is the one to be blamed. A private certifier, therefore, usually takes up the responsibility of ensuring your building or structure follows the Australian building plans and standards.

You might, however, need to fill out a form titled "Notice of Engagement". It usually informs the relevant council that a particular private certifier is taking care of your building certification needs.

Where You Might Not Get Assistance

Even if you use a private certifier, you might not get help everywhere. You need to notify the private certifier that you need his or her services at particular days and times. You should also be in a position to supervise your builders to make sure they are complying with the building regulations as they build and you should be in a position to perform quality control measures (verifying that regulations are met).