When you build or renovate in the ACT, you’ll deal with lots of businesses and practitioners.
You may also have to organise approvals for your project and final certificates when the work is complete.
Once you get started, there are things you can do to keep the project running smoothly during construction.
Who does what
Licensed design and construction practitioners in the ACT can help you navigate your building or renovation project.
When you appoint someone who must be licensed or registered, always ask them to show you their licence or registration. You can also ask if practitioners have any professional accreditations and insurance. Licensed construction practitioners must provide you with evidence of any insurance they hold.
Keep in mind that sometimes you may appoint a builder or building company that provides more than one of these services.
You may need to deal with the following practitioners
Architect, draftperson, building design and engineer
Provides plans and advice in relation to the design, planning or construction of buildings. The ACT has a voluntary registration system for architects. Ask people designing your building for evidence of their qualifications and experience in the type of building you want.
Provides a building service and will be required for any building work that requires a building approval. Builders generally manage and coordinate the building of your home or renovation. Builders can only do certain projects based on their class of licence. If you’re hiring a company or partnership to be your licensed builder, get to know who the licensed nominee will be supervising your building work. It is in your best interests to outline your agreement in a detailed written contract.
A building certifier (must be a licensed building surveyor)
Is appointed by the land owner and makes sure the building plans and work completed is in accordance with building legislation. A building certifier can’t have a conflict of interest in the building work.
To install and fix wiring work, electrical equipment and switchboards. They may provide disconnection and reconnection of fixed electrical equipment, including refrigeration, air conditioning, type B gas appliances and electrical machinery – these electricians require restricted electrical licences. Electricians may work alone but are usually employed as a sub-contractor by the builder. You may also employ an electrician directly for repairs and new installations. Electricians must give you a copy of a certificate of electrical safety once they have tested their electrical work for compliance. Any electrical equipment you have or provide that an electrician needs to install must comply with minimum safety standards.
Plumber, drainer or gasfitter
For plumbing, draining or gasfitting work. They are usually employed as sub-contractors by builders, but you may employ one directly for repairs and new installations.
Gas appliance worker
Provides a gas appliance service, which is to service or supervise the service of a type A or type B gas appliance. They are usually employed directly for servicing, repairs and maintenance.
Provides energy efficiency assessments and ratings for the construction of new homes and advertising the sale of a home.
Plumbing plan certifier
Provides plumbing plan certification by checking the plumbing and drainage plans comply with the standards required before the work is completed.
Other practitioners who may be involved include:
- asbestos assessors or removers
- carpenters and joiners
- brick layers
- roofing contractors
You may also engage the services of conveyancers or solicitors to help you with the purchase or a property or negotiating a contract.
What to expect
Building approvals, certifications, licences and contracts exist to protect you.
While the process for sourcing approvals can take time, it’s important that all the necessary checks have been made before work starts.
It’s up to you as the owner to make arrangements – or appoint an agent – to:
- employ practitioners with the right class of licence for work that needs a licence
- understand your obligations and rights in relation to your project read about Fair Trading for consumers
- have all building and other works specified, in writing, in a contract
- engage a building certifier, if required
- organise any additional approvals relevant to your project
- organise finances and pay suppliers on time
- pay relevant fees
- communicate regularly with your builder
When the project is complete
When the building, electrical, plumbing and gasfitting work is complete, there may be a range of inspections required, including:
- the building certifier’s final inspection, where they will decide if the building work complies, or substantially complies, with the building approval and associated technical requirements, and issue a certificate of completion and lodge any final certificates or paperwork
- electrical, plumbing or gas approvals, which are often lodged by the licensed practitioner contracted by you or your builder and then their work may be inspected by an ACT Government inspector
Once all inspections are cleared and the certificate of completion is lodged by the building certifier, you may also require a certificate of occupancy or use.
If things go wrong
In the unfortunate situation where there is a dispute between you and your builder or other professional, there are options for you to resolve your dispute or make a complaint.
Find out more about:
- land rates, duties and schemes
- residential land for sale
- checklists to help you plan your build, renovation or home purchase
Contact us for more information.