There are numerous inspections required during construction of a build or renovation project, such as:

Electrical, plumbing, drainage and gas inspections are undertaken by Access Canberra.

Building inspections for the purpose of building certification are not undertaken by Access Canberra. Under the law, licensed building surveyors are the only entity authorised to inspect buildings for the purpose of certification.

Regulatory inspections

The ACT Government may conduct inspections at various stages of construction or after construction is completed. Inspections are also undertaken in response to complaints about building and planning related matters. The purpose of inspection is to check compliance with legislative requirements and standards. An inspector may determine and action non-compliance by doing inspections. Inspections may result in:


Access Canberra inspectors make up a key part of the way in which the ACT Government regulates the construction industry. Inspectors have powers under the following legislation:

An inspector may:

While undertaking their duties an inspector must:

Powers of inspectors on obtaining entry

If entry to a premises is obtained, and where required with the written consent of the occupier, then the inspector can do any of the following provided that it is related to possible or actual conduct subject to the inspection:


An inspector or a person assisting an inspector must take all reasonable steps to cause as little inconvenience, detriment and damage as practicable. If an inspector, or any person assisting an inspector, causes any damage, the inspector must give written notice of the particulars of the damage to the owner, or person reasonably believed to be the owner.

Information requirements

If the inspector suspects a person has knowledge or information required for the administration or enforcement of the legislation, they may give the person a notice to provide the information or documents. The inspector may make copies of, or take extracts from documents produced and must return the original to the person who produced the document as soon as practicable. It is an offence to intentionally contravene a requirement of an information requirement.

Entry under a search warrant

If an inspector needs to enter premises to investigate a possible offence under the Act that is currently occurring or may occur in the next 14 days, then the inspector may seek a 'search warrant' from the Magistrates Court. The search warrant may allow the inspector to:

Inspectors are responsible for carrying out certain actions before entering premises under a search warrant. An inspector must make certain things available to an occupier or their representative if present during the execution of a search warrant. An occupier or their representative is entitled to be present during the search unless that person would impede the search or the person is under arrest and allowing the person to observe would interfere with the objectives of the search.

Powers of inspectors who obtain entry under a search warrant

If entry is obtained under a search warrant, then the inspector may take samples or seize objects for evidence as well as inspect, examine, and give directions to the occupier. It is an offence for the occupier to refuse to comply with directions.

Items seized under a search warrant may be removed for examination or processing if there are reasonable grounds to believe they relate to the warrant and it is significantly more practicable to remove them. Seized items may be moved to another place for no longer than 72 hours. Application can be made to a magistrate for an extension of this time. An inspector must give notice of such an application to an occupier and the occupier is entitled to be heard on the application. An inspector who seizes an item must give a receipt for it to the person from whom it is seized. A receipt secured conspicuously at the place of seizure may suffice in certain circumstances.

If practicable, an inspector must tell an occupier where and when examination or processing will happen and allow the occupier or their representative to be present during the examination or processing. A person who would be entitled access to an item seized may inspect it and, if it is a document, take extracts or make copies of it. It is an offence to interfere with a seized item to which access has been restricted.

Items must be returned or reasonable compensation paid to an owner for the loss of items, irrespective of whether an infringement notice is served or withdrawn, if there is no prosecution within one year after seizure or if prosecution is commenced within the one year and the offence is found not proved. Items must also be returned or reasonable compensation must also be paid where liability for a thing is disputed and the offence is not proved. Any items that need not be returned or compensated for are forfeited to the ACT Government and may be sold, destroyed or otherwise disposed of as directed by the Chief Planning Executive.

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