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Building Certifiers and the Project Specification?

This information applies to any Australian architectural, building, interiors, landscape project, no matter the project size, classification, or type, be it housing, multi-residential, industrial, or commercial.

Building certifiers are an essential part of the documentation process and play a critical role in maintaining construction documentation standards, ensuring regulatory requirements are met. But the designer needs to be careful about certifier selection.

Even though the certifier’s responsibilities are set by law, each certifier has varying interpretations on different things within their profession.

These differences, if unknown to the designer beforehand, can cause confusion and lead to some frustrating approval application rework, which has financial costs and a ripple-on effect delaying other projects the designer has on. It is also embarrassing for the designer to explain the delay to their client.

With increasing stories of litigation and building failures, and the resulting knee-jerk over-the-top reactions from building regulators, certifiers can feel under a lot of pressure to perform.

The designer needs to select their certifier carefully to avoid extra work and delays. Once the designer finds a suitable certifier, they should stay with them because they can be valuable allies.

In looking for a suitable certifier, the designer needs to approach as many certifiers as it takes until the right one is found, starting with certifiers who work in the designer’s local area, as personal contact is good for maintaining relationships.

A good certifier will not be panicked by regulators panic. Perhaps older certifiers have more self-control in handling this sort of thing but that is not a rule. Often, the designer talking about these things face to face, can judge communication better and learn a lot about how the certifier works.

Find out the certifier’s requirements for the Specification, that is, the sort of detail the Spec needs to have to satisfy them. Usually, the certifier will be happy with small clerical-type additions, perhaps even put on the drawings and not in the Spec. Resolve these issues before you submit your first project to them for certification, and the going should be a lot smoother.

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