Building surveyors assess building plans to ensure they are compliant with building regulations including the National Construction Code and Australian Standards. They audit and are responsible for making sure that buildings are safe, accessible and energy efficient and therefore building surveyors have an impact on the design, planning and functionality of buildings.
Building surveyors interact with other professionals such as engineers, architects and builders to ensure that buildings are designed and constructed to comply with building regulations and local government planning requirements. Building surveyors are experts in building legislation, technical codes and construction standards. They detect and diagnose problems with design issues, construction techniques and materials and undertake the inspection process from foundations through to completion. They interpret, advise on and enforce laws and regulations regarding building construction and safety.
One function of a building surveyor is to certify plans and structures in accordance with building legislation and to issue a building permit to start construction. In some states building surveyors are permitted to certify subdivisions and issue town planning certificates.
Building surveyors also carry out inspections of established buildings to determine their existing condition and the level of compliance with safety standards.
Building surveyors can be engaged as consultants, usually on large scale construction projects. Building inspectors are often engaged by the building surveyor in charge of a project to undertake some or all of the inspections the law requires. As building inspectors have particular expertise in the construction aspects of a building, they are well placed to advise the building surveyor on the level of compliance being achieved onsite. However, unlike building surveyors, a registered building inspector is not able to issue building permits.
Local councils, private firms, government departments, health authorities and fire services all employ building surveyors. It is possible for building surveyors to work in federal or state government writing building codes and legislation, in local councils enforcing local laws and building standards or for large or small firms certifying buildings for construction.
Building surveyors are employed in a multitude of disciplines such as:
- project management
- facility management
- access design and compliance
- fire and essential services compliance
- in specific industries such as aged care.
Building surveyors may specialise in one or more of the following areas:
- disabled access
- fire safety engineering
- energy efficiency and sustainable development
- construction law
- forensic inspection
- dispute resolution
- maintenance of essential services
- private certification
- building materials science
- code development & legislation
- alternative building solutions.
Building surveyors look at a wide range of buildings and structures including:
- shopping centres
- high rise office and residential apartment buildings
- train stations
- parking complexes
The myfuture website provides further information about building surveyors including duties and tasks, educational requirements, related courses and jobs.
Accreditation and licensing
To work as a certifying building surveyor in Queensland you must be accredited and licensed. There are different levels of accreditation which allows and limits the type of work building surveyors can undertake and reflects the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) National Accreditation Framework guidelines. The accreditation process assesses an individual's educational qualifications, work experience and commitment to continuing professional development (CPD).
The Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) is recognised nationally and internationally as the peak professional body representing building surveyors in Australia. The AIBS provides accrediting functions in Queensland and other Australian states. Further information about the accreditation process is available on the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors website.
People wishing to work in Queensland as a certified building surveyor must apply for accreditation and a licence as a building certifier. Licences are issued by the Queensland Building Services Authority (BSA). Further information about applying for a licence is available on the Building Services Authority website or you can phone BSA directly on 1300 272 272.
Part of the information required to apply for a certifier licence, is a copy of the applicant's certificate of accreditation for a particular level of licence from an accreditation standards body. Certifier licence applicants should apply for accreditation to an accreditation standards body such as AIBS, prior to applying for a licence.
General construction induction cardsare required by law for all people working in the construction industry in Queensland. Getting a general construction induction card involves successfully completing a course through a registered training organisation (RTO). A general construction induction card is issued to a person who successfully completes training in the unit of competency "CPCCOHS1001A Work safely in the construction industry". Further information about induction cards is available on the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland website.
Steps to skills recognition
To work in Queensland as a building surveyor
1. Overseas qualified building surveyors should first apply for accreditation to the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS). The accreditation process assesses an individual's educational qualifications, work experience and commitment to continuing professional development (CPD). Further information about the accreditation process is available on the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors website
2. After the AIBS has assessed your application and you have received your certificate of accreditation, you should then apply to the Queensland Building Services Authority (BSA) for a certifier licence. Further information about applying for a licence is available on the Building Services Authority website or you can phone BSA directly on 1300 272 272.
3. Overseas qualified building surveyors should apply for a general construction induction card prior to working in the construction industry in Queensland. Getting a general construction induction card involves successfully completing a course through a registered training organisation (RTO). A general construction induction card is issued to a person who successfully completes training in the unit of competency "CPCCOHS1001A Work safely in the construction industry". Further information about induction cards is available on the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland website.
Educational assessment for general purposes
Overseas qualified building surveyors may apply to have a general academic assessment of their overseas qualifications by the Overseas Qualifications Unit, Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment. Overseas qualifications assessments are free for people who live in Queensland and have permission to work or study in Australia.
The benefits of having your overseas qualifications assessed by the Overseas Qualifications Unit include receiving:
- a formal assessment of how your qualifications compare with Australian educational awards - this information can then be provided to potential employers, educational institutions and industry related associations or professional bodies
- information relative to your job area.
A step by step guide on an educational assessment of your overseas qualifications can be found on the overseas qualification recognition page.
Organisations to contact
Queensland Building Services Authority
GPO Box 5099
Brisbane QLD 4001
Phone: 1300 272 272 (available from 7am to 5pm Monday - Friday)
(International callers: +61 7 3225 2800)
Overseas Qualifications Unit
Department of Education, Training and Employment
Brisbane QLD 4001
Phone: 1300 369 935
Information about working, living and settling in Queensland
Queensland Government - employment and jobs