Starting a renovation means getting to know a whole lot of different professionals and tradespeople, and then receiving their bills, so it’s worth making sure you know why each one is important to the project. We talked to land surveyor James Thorpe of Beveridge Williams to get the lowdown on his role in your reno.

What does a surveyor do?

A registered land surveyor will provide information about the site’s features, ground and built levels and boundaries for your architects and builders to use to design the house.  The information will be used to assess the impact of the building on the site and neighbouring properties and ensure that the building works are carried out within the property boundaries.

The surveyor will also search the Land & Property information title and plan records to determine if the site is affected by easements or other restrictions that limit the height or type of construction you can erect on the site

How would you describe your role in a building project?

The registered surveyor is typically one of the first consultants involved as they measure the site features and levels to allow your architect to marry in with the existing structures.  They will provide a plan of the site for the architects and engineers to work from in their design works.

Later in the process, a registered surveyor will be one of the first consultants a builder engages when construction starts to mark out the boundaries and new building works to ensure that the structures are built within the boundaries and to the correct levels shown on the approved plans.

What can go wrong without a survey?

Without a survey, a building designer doesn’t have accurate site information on which to base the new works.  This can lead to costly extras and variations in the construction works.

One of the biggest ongoing problems that can occur in construction is rectification works if the builder does not engage a registered surveyor to provide boundary marks at the start of construction.  If the builder measures off the fences and guesses where the boundaries are the new works can be over the boundaries, or built too close to the boundary to achieve BCA compliance, and expensive rectification works are required to obtain building certification.

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