Building certificates are one of the most critical parts of your home remodeling or renovation. Without the proper building certificates, the entire construction process can be delayed. In fact, failure to obtain the proper certificates can lead to not only delays, but also substantial fines. Below is a step-by-step guide to obtaining building certificates for your next housing project.
When is a building certificate required?
While the certification process may seem challenging or time-consuming, following the certification laws of local jurisdictions will ensure that your project is completed correctly and in accordance with code. Ultimately, the building code was created to protect homeowners and the community.
Before starting your next project, you'll got to determine if a certificate is required. Simple interior cosmetic changes, such as painting or carpet replacement, do not require a certificate. However, when a remodel involves adding square footage to your home or other structural modifications, then you will need to obtain a certificate. Checking with your local building jurisdiction, or one of our professionals at Buildcert, will help you figure out when certificates are required for your potential remodel plans and when they are not.
Submit your certificate application.
To get the right certificate for your project, you must have a clearly defined plan of what your project entails. Having a well-defined plan will ease the submission process to the local building department. In certain planned development communities, a homeowner’s association approval letter may also be required with your application submission.
Once the construction department obtains all the necessary documents, they will review the application and the plans for your project. The approval process can generally take two to six weeks, depending on the scale of the project. Planning departments should review their proposed project plans and make sure they comply with the rules governing land use in their community.
Once the planning department gives its approval, the construction department must review your plans. The building department is responsible for reviewing plans for building code compliance and reviewing necessary electrical, mechanical, and structural modifications. It is normal for the construction department to request additional information or recommend modifications to the plan.
Comply with the building code.
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is the building code implemented in the Australia. It may vary in certain regions, but the BCA is the general rule of thumb for remodeling or building. The plan reviewer or building inspector from your local building department will let you know if something in your plan does not comply with the BCA regulatory codes. Homeowners should hire a building professional with in-depth knowledge of their local code to ensure a smoother certificate approval process.
However, the BCA is not the only building code intended to protect homeowners and the community. Many communities also have green building and energy codes to comply with. Green building codes set the standards for a project's construction efficiency, water consumption and management, material toxicity, air quality, and waste reduction. Energy codes, on the opposite hand, involve regulating the energy efficiency of a home.
The inspection process.
Once you have completed the certification process, received approval from the building department, and construction on your home remodeling project has begun, preliminary inspections will take place. It is then when it is imperative that the construction has followed the approved plans; Failure to do so can lead to the project failing to pass inspection. Ultimately, this will cost the owner time and money. At Buildcert, we always recommend that you or your design professional check the certificate requirements, as local building departments have different policies.
A project may be subject to a set number of inspections, generally determined by the scope of the project. Depending on the project, special inspections or structural observations must also be approved. Many building officials rely on other professionals who can perform structural observations to confirm that an entire structure meets the building code and approved building plans. A registered design professional, such as our CDC pre-assessment service, can be contracted to visit the project site and visually observe that the building's earthquake resistance system generally complies with approved construction documents. Remember, the inspector is there solely to ensure that all work is done correctly and follows the local building code to keep homeowners and communities safe. Once the inspector approves the preliminary inspections, the final project can be completed.
The final inspection.
Final inspection is the easiest part of the process if all work follows plans secured through building code and certificate approvals. The final inspection is the last time the inspector will review the construction work and determine that your project is complete. If you are unsure of everything the building certificates require, contacting your contractor is the surest way to confirm that the final inspection will pass. It is your job to handle all building certificates and inspections and provide the owner with a project that is built to code.
Hiring a reputable professional is the best way to ensure success in obtaining building certificates. Contact Buildcert specialists today for your building and certification needs.