(03) 5366 6900
0419 224 440
Land Owners, please take the time to read through the following slides, click on the first tile and scroll from there.
Why do I need an Independent Building Inspection if I have a Surveyor that finds nothing wrong?
The Building Surveyor is only obligated to find items under the Building ACT 1993. That limits the building Surveyors responsibility to a very narrow number of items that they can check.
The Building Act 1993 is governed by the Victorian Building Authority who regulates and Licenses the Surveyor. The Surveyors are Governed by the Building Act 1993 which restricts them to what is in the National Construction Code. This code is limited to mainly structural and health elements only.
Darbecca operates under the Building Act 1993, but also the Domestic Building Contract Act 1995 which is administered by Consumer Affairs not the Victorian Building Authority, as such Section 8 of the Domestic Building Contract ACT covers all of the things Darbecca looks for as well as double checking anything that the Surveyor may have missed. Not everybody is perfect and some items do slip through. Darbecca is like a second line of defence backing up the mandated obligations.
The Building Surveyor does not have the Domestic Building Contracts Act obligation and hence the reason why customers are compelled to engage a third party inspection.
This is a part of the system in which we operate under and until it changes, the system it what we must work with.
If your builder is attempting to steer you away from our services, ask yourself. What is their motive?
1) Do you offer any discounts if we use your services for multiple inspections?
Yes, we most certainly do! Please contact our office for a free quote tailored to your requirements, or alternatively, please use our contact us form.
2) What is the most important stage?
Darbecca recommends that all stages of inspection are important to ensure peace of mind throughout your build. However, we can inform you of the most common inspections that are conducted for your particular build when we send through a tailored quote to you.
3) What documents do you require to conduct my inspections?
Depending on which stages of inspection you require, we require a PDF copy of the following documents prior to your first inspection:
All of these documents can be obtained directly from your builder.
4) Can the builder deny access to the property to conduct inspections?
Provided that you hold a Domestic Building Contract with your builder, the builder cannot deny you access to your property to have an independent inspection conducted.
Please note that if you give the builder more than two working days’ notice of your requirement to enter the home, the builder MUST open the dwelling under the "Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995", part 2 section 19 (Victoria). You can lodge a complaint with the DBDRV if they refuse. In other words, if the builder has been notified, then he or she must open the dwelling.
Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995
Act No. 91/1995
Part 2—Provisions that Apply to all Domestic Building Contracts
Penalty: 20 penalty units.
For all areas outside of Victoria, please contact our office.
5) What is the difference between a HIA and Master Builder’s contract?
The Housing Industry Australia and Master Builder’s Australia are two major industry associations that builders may choose to affiliate themselves with. Each of these associations have a standard contract that they provide to builders to use for domestic building projects. Each of these contracts have similar features, however differ in their content. The terms contained within these contracts are also able to be changed by their users, making every contract unique. Darbecca Pty Ltd are able to assist you with a Contract Review service with a solicitor prior to signing your domestic building contract if required. Please note that any modifications made to the standard HIA contract are superseded by the Domestic Building Act, which does not acknowledge changes made to any contractual clause.
6) I’m not happy with the works to date and I have received an invoice from my builder. Am I required to pay this invoice?
As Darbecca Pty Ltd are not legal practitioners, we are unable to offer any advice in relation to progress payments. Please seek advice from your chosen legal practitioner. It is essential to ensure you are not in breach of your contract.
7) What happens if the builder doesn’t rectify the defects that Darbecca have identified?
If the defects are non-compliant under the Building Act, Building Regulations, National Construction Code, the relevant Australian Standards, Guidelines and Tolerances then we recommend that you contact your builder to discuss your concerns. You will be able to request to have your concerns escalated to the Construction Manager or the Building Manager. If you are unhappy with the response from your builder and need more information on actions you can take, we would recommend that you speak with Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria. They can be contacted on 1300 557 559 or via their website at www.dbdrv.vic.gov.au
8) I have been sent photos of rectifications from my builder in response to your report. Can you please comment on these photographs?
Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on photographs that have not be taken by one of our consultants. Please be mindful that these photos are for your records only and we are unable to comment on any photos that are provided to you by the builder with a level of complete certainty. At any stage of your build we have no guarantee that a photo provided relates directly to your build or the actual defect. To be fully confident all defects identified within our reports are correctly rectified we require adequate visual assessment. With the short time frames with slab pre pour inspection we normally don't have a chance to reinspect before the slab concrete is poured. We can however arrange a time for one of our consultants to come out to your property and conduct a re-inspection to check that all items of concern have been rectified from our previous report.
9) Can I have the same consultant throughout my build process?
Darbecca Pty Ltd endeavour to assist our clients with the same consultant throughout the build, however in order to offer you the inspection at the appropriate time, it may be necessary at times to assist with an alternative consultant.
All efforts are made to accommodate customer requests for particular consultants where possible but we are unable to guarantee consultant availability at the time of booking your inspection. The allocation of consultant will not be finalised until 24 hours prior to the scheduled appointment time. We are therefore unable to confirm at the time of scheduling which consultant will be in attendance to conduct your inspection.
At Darbecca all of our consultants work to the same high standards stipulated by our director Darren Love and we are confident that you will be satisfied with any of our expert consultants.
10) Are there any items that you don’t check throughout varying stages of the build?
Our engagement is confined to that of a building consultant and not that of a building surveyor as defined in the Building Act of 1993. We therefore do not check the structural integrity of the building, title boundaries, location of any easement, boundary setbacks, room dimensions, height limitations and/or datum's, glazing, alpine and bush fire code compliance, or any other requirements that is the responsibility of the relevant building surveyor, unless specifically requested and agreed upon in writing. Due to OHS restrictions, our consultants are unable to climb on top of any roof or crawl through any confined spaces.
11) Who can I speak to if I am experiencing difficulties with my builder?
We are sorry to hear that you are experiencing such difficulties. We recommend that you contact DBDRV who will be able to assist you. Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) is an independent government agency that provides services to help resolve domestic (residential) building disputes. They can be contacted on 1300 557 559 or via their website, at www.dbdrv.vic.gov.au
12) Are you a registered building inspector? What qualifications do you hold?
Yes, we are fully licensed in Queensland. See the registration tab.
The legislation is very different in Victoria, there is no such definition, the courts and tribunal define an expert as someone who by virtue of experience or qualifications has specialised knowledge in the area. There is no requirement to be registered or accredited if giving an expert report.
Our consultants come from various backgrounds within the industry and all bring unique skills and a wealth of experience to the team as well as a wealth of qualifications and registrations. Our director regularly conducts training with all of our consultants to keep up with industry changes and ensure that our team always works to the highest of standards. Please feel free to give our office a call on 03 5366 6900 to discuss our consultants experience and qualifications in more detail.
13) My builder said that your report is opinion based. Is this true?
No. As your independent building consultants, we provide a report on all defective items identified with references to the relevant regulations and codes alongside photographic evidence.
14) How soon after my inspection will I receive my report?
It remains the policy of Darbecca to release the defect report the day of the inspection. When the attending consultant has completed his inspections for the day he will commence with the completion of his reports. It would be envisaged he would have your report completed and released in the afternoon or early evening on the day of inspection. All reports will be withheld until payments is received, excluding Pre-Pours, unless a previous agreement has been reached.
15) What is your scope of practice?
Darbecca Pty Ltd specialise in the inspection of new homes, as well as those within the 10 year warranty period.
We can assist you at all stages of your build, including:
If you require assistance with any other building requirement not listed here, please feel free to contact our office to see if we can assist you.
16) Can I nominate Darbecca as my Relevant Building Surveyor?
Darbecca are independent building consultants and are under no legal requirement to be registered. Some of our consultants hold the relevant qualifications and are eligible for registration as building surveyors, however we choose not to. We can however conduct your independent building inspections on your behalf.
17) My builder uses the term “lockup” and Darbecca refer to “pre plaster”. What’s the difference?
The terminology ‘lock up’ is an industry expression to describe a stage claim and does not necessarily mean the home is securely ‘locked up’. Darbecca prefer not to use the term ‘lock up’ as this term can be defined differently by each builder. We prefer to state the term pre plaster, as this reinforces the fact that we need to inspect the property prior to plaster installation. In some cases, the plaster will be installed prior to brickwork, which can also make the term lockup confusing!
18) What is a performance solution (previously known as an alternate solution)?
Is my builder able to use this for my home?
It is not uncommon for a builder to use a performance solution during the build.
A performance building solution is another way of building that is not outlined in the relevant code or standards. It usually means that it is outside of traditional methods currently in use. A performance building solution is acceptable as long as it meets all the performance requirements as outlined in the national construction code and any other relevant standards, and approval has been granted by the relevant building surveyor as part of the building permit.
We strongly suggest you request a copy of all performance solutions against your permit and ensure all the performance provisions are met. All too often they are not. We would also welcome you to provide Darbecca with copies.
19) Why do I need the final invoice and Notice of Completion to do my final inspection? (HIA contract only)
Once your builder issues you with a Notice of Completion they are saying that the work has been carried out under the contract and has been completed in accordance with the plans and specifications set out in your contract. We then conduct our inspection based on this and inspect your home as a finished product as per your contract.
20) Can I attend the inspections with the consultants?
You are more than welcome to attend any inspection conducted by Darbecca Pty Ltd, however for the Pre Pour inspection, you will not be able to access the slab preparations due to health and safety requirements.
We do require you to notify us if you are attending as your consultant will inform you if there are any time changes due to cancellations or an unavoidable delay, however unlikely.
21) How much notice is required to schedule an inspection?
As soon as you have been provided with an indicative date from your builder in which to schedule in your inspection, kindly please advise our office accordingly. As much notice as possible is preferable to ensure that your requested date/time can be accommodated. We will always try our best to accommodate the date/time requested and work with you on organising a suitable solution in getting your inspection scheduled within a timely manner. Please note, we highly recommend you advise your builder in writing that you are using our services and which inspections you are wanting inspected, to enable your builder to advise you when each inspection will be ready for each inspection.
22) Does my builder need to be onsite at the time of inspection?
We do not require anyone to meet us onsite for any stage inspections, however we will require access inside the dwelling once the dwelling is locked. This is generally once the plaster has gone up and you are nearing your Fixing stages. Some builders will meet our consultants onsite to open the dwelling and then leave, or some builders will leave a door unlocked for our consultant to gain access. Please note, our consultants are not issued with a set of builder’s keys. At a Site Supervisor’s discretion, our consultants may periodically be provided with a set of builder’s keys for their own use and access will need to be provided through your communication with your builder only.
23) Can Darbecca organise my inspections with my builder?
Please understand that whilst we are able to provide you with the knowledge and information that will assist you with ensuring that your build is completed to the Australian Building Codes, Standards and industry regulations, all directives must come directly from yourself as the contract holder. Darbecca Pty Ltd does not have any discretion or capability to instruct or dictate to the builder in any way, this responsibility falls solely on yourself as the contract holder. Where we are contacted directly by the builder to schedule in an inspection, we are more than happy to liaise with them, and will advise yourself accordingly in this event.
24) What can I do to ensure my slab does not get poured prior to my Pre Pour/Steel Inspection?
Our Pre Pour Steel Inspections are generally conducted the afternoon prior to the slab pour. This is to ensure the client and builder receives enough notification to have ALL defects rectified prior to the slab pour the following day. We can often accommodate for last minute Pre Pour Inspections, however to ensure that there are no outstanding documents or information required, kindly please ensure that our office has received the below PDF documents and your stage 1 Site Supervisor’s contact details prior to this inspection:
If you happen to be driving past your site and you see the plumbing pipes sticking up out of the ground please notify our office. This can mean you are only one or two days away from your first inspection. In some cases it will be longer.
25) My question isn’t answered here. Who can I speak with?
If you would like to discuss your build with one of our staff, please give our office team a call on 03 5366 6900 during our operating hours (Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org at any time and we’ll happily provide you with the information you need.