Survey Certification under Building Regulation 2021

It has been brought to our attention that as of 1 September 2021 the new Building Regulation 2021 commenced. Building Approvals and Certifications issued/prepared prior to this date are not affected by this change in Regulation.

The new Regulation (BR2021) introduces 3 forms for inspection certificates, this has implications for surveyors. We should now use a Form 12 for most of our ongoing Certifications.

Form 12

Aspect Inspection Certificate (Appointed Competent Person) - addressing s74 & 77 BR2021

  • s74(3)(a) - stipulates that if a Certificate is for a boundary clearance aspect of a building, a competent person is a Cadastral Surveyor.
  • Other matters to be certified can be completed by a competent person, determine by the building certifier (s33), to which there is an approved Guideline for the certifier to adhere to.
  • It is suggested that the SBQ (Surveyor Board Queensland) competency assessment and accreditation be adopted as the benchmark. For certificates associated with AHD etc these can be certified by a Registered Surveyor. It would be prudent to confirm what is going to be acceptable to the individual certifier prior to certifying. If it is not clear that certification by a Registered Surveyor is going to be accepted by certifier, it is recommended that certification be by a Cadastral Surveyor.

Form 15 – To be used in limited situations

Compliance certificate for building design or specification – addressing s73 & 77 BR2021

  • This form addresses design and not inspections, and surveyors are not designers.
  • An example of the only time this form should be used is when requested to confirm that if the architectural dimensions are adopted the proposed Building Height will conform with the regulatory height above ground level.

Form 16

Inspection Certificate – addressing s53 BR2021 (inspection of a stage)

  • Definition of a stage – stage of work, prescribed by regulation (s44 BR2021), at which the work may be inspected.
  • s44 is located under Part 8 – Inspections of assessable building works, Division 1 – Building certifier inspections.
  • This form may only be completed by a Building Certifier regarding the completed stage not just an aspect of a stage, surveyors are general requested to certify an aspect of a building.
  • This form as been revised to potentially remove previous ambiguity of Cadastral Surveyor issuing a Form 16 for boundary clearances (being an aspect of a building rather than a stage), they should now use a Form 12.

Form 43

Aspect Certificate QBCC

  • This new form can only be completed by a QBCC Licensee for an aspect covered by their license.
  • This form should not be used.

General Notes

  • The new process ensures it is the Building Certifier’s responsibility as the issuer of a Form 16 to notify a noncompliance notice if and when required and to take any necessary enforcement action. The issuing of a noncompliance under this regime has implications on the right to appeal.
  • It remains an offence to issue a Certificate that is false or misleading.
  • The onus of proof has been amended from person knew the document/certificate was false or misleading to a person knew or reasonably suspected the document was false or misleading.
  • BR2021 redefines “natural ground surface”, the new definition does not include the ability for a certifier to determine natural ground level as is contained within QDC.
    • natural ground surface, for a building, device or structure, means the ground surface located at the site of the building, device or structure on the day the first plan of survey showing the relevant allotment was first registered
  • It is important to ensure that when considering natural ground level, one considers both the above definition and the definition contained within the relevant local planning law. For example, BCC introduces “Prescribed level” in an attempt to clarify their definition of “Ground level”

Alistair Byrom