Building permits are issued by building surveyors. An application for a building permit may be made to the Municipal Building Surveyor or a private building surveyor.
Municipal or private building surveyor
Every council in Victoria is required to have a person holding the office of municipal building surveyor.
Property owners have a choice between using council services (through the municipal building surveyor) or utilising the services of a private building surveyor to obtain a building permit and to arrange inspections of building work.
A private building surveyor is a fully independent person and is not associated with or controlled by council.
Choosing a building surveyor
The choice of building surveyor for a project is often left to professionals such as architects, draftspersons or the builder.
The building surveyor (private or municipal) who issues the building permit is generally responsible for ensuring that the building work complies with the requirements of the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2006.
The Building Act contains provisions to promote that only one building surveyor, rather than a number, carries out the required functions in regards to issuing permits and carrying out inspection of building work for a project. That building surveyor may however engage qualified and registered building inspectors to carry out the building inspections during the course of construction.
A building surveyor who has been appointed to issue a building permit in respect of particular building work has power under Part 8 of the Building Act to enforce that building work to be brought into compliance with the Act and the Building Regulations through the issuing of various notices and orders.
A person who fails to comply with a valid building order may be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court for that failure. A private building surveyor in such circumstances is required to refer that matter to the Building Commission.