If you are making improvements on your property, it is likely that you will need the services of a building consultant during the project. Building consultants include consultants, building inspectors, surveyors and engineers and their primary concern is that your home complies with legislation and is a safe place to live in. Following are some more details on building consultants.
Generally, you will need to speak with a building consultant if you plan to build, extend or renovate your property. Consultants can be architects, interior designers, surveyors, engineers, or project managers, amongst others. Essentially, the job of a building consultant is to give advice or to undertake tasks that are in relation to the building industry. Consultants are independent, however, they should always be willing to co-ordinate with you, the client, to ensure a satisfactory outcome.
Consultants have a good knowledge of the Building Code of Australia and can thus advise you on what your building requirements are. They can also advise you on what to do if you are suffering difficulties during the home improvement process.
A building inspector will thoroughly inspect your home for any possible defects and also assess the condition of your home. A building inspection looks for things such as asbestos, cracks in the walls, roof or floors, the condition of plumbing and electrical wiring, if there is any rising damp and also estimates the cost of any repairs. Building inspectors also check the work that has been carried out by your builder to ensure that it is not defective and that it complies with legislative requirements and the building contract. A building consultant can also carry out a dilapidation report, if you are concerned about the impact a neighbouring construction might have on your home.
The inspector will provide you with a report after the inspection is completed and the report should clearly state the condition of the property and what repairs or maintenance are needed.
Pest inspectors will check your home for any evidence of pests, especially termites and borers and the pest report will let you know about any current or past infestations to a building.
Surveyors are responsible for ensuring that buildings are safe, accessible and meet legal requirements. They also assess plans, inspect properties to determine their condition and safety and issue building permits. The building permits prove that a surveyor has approved the work that is to be carried out on a property and are essential for most projects.
The surveyor is involved with every stage of the building process as they conduct inspections, or have a building inspector to conduct inspections on their behalf, before giving the project final approval. If an inspection should fail for any reason, the surveyor is able to take action against the people responsible for the failure to ensure that the work is fixed and meets compliance standards.
An engineer is qualified to carry out investigation, analysis and design work. Engineers will meet with the client to find out what their needs and budget are in relation to a home improvement project and will then advise on what the best solution is for the client. They visit the site of the property in order to determine the best placing for any new foundations that may be required. If you are planning on knocking down any walls within your home, or other work that may affect the structural integrity of your home, you must consult with an engineer first to ensure that it is safe to do so.
Engineers also organise the delivery of the materials and equipment needed for the project and supervise the labour. They also coordinate with professionals such as architects, other engineers and environmental scientists.
Building consultants typically have a cost structure that is based on their level of service and calculated against the value of the project. Practically this may be expressed anywhere from 5 per cent (basic service) to 7.5 per cent (full service) of the total value of the job, with full service typically involving everything from client consultation to ongoing assistance throughout the construction process. A basic service may only involve client consultation with drawings that only conform to a minimum standard. The best way to get a better idea of costings is to approach businesses for quotes - get three for an idea of what building consultants charge for your project.
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