Project: Building Surveying

Stage 1
Project commencement
and planning
Stage 2
Consultation on
Draft 1
Stage 2

The Advanced Diploma of Building Surveying will be updated to ensure it complies with National Construction Code 2019 and reflect key developments in the construction industry.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) has also approved the deletion of CPC80215 Graduate Diploma of Building Surveying.

Summary of development

Building surveyors play a key role in ensuring the safety, energy-efficiency and accessibility of the built environment. Recent building failures and tragedies in Australia and overseas have highlighted the importance of the profession and of the need for rigorous and comprehensive training.  

Consequently, the Construction, Plumbing and Services IRC has appointed a technical advisory group (TAG) to review vocational education and training for building surveyors. The group has met on six occasions over the last few months, and its members have worked closely with their industry networks. They’ve made a number of recommendations.  

Key outcomes

Please note, this project is a review of vocational qualifications as listed on the national VET register. It does not encompass university qualifications. 

Deletion of graduate diploma

Currently, there are two qualifications for building surveying on the national register, an advanced diploma and a graduate diploma. The graduate diploma, however, has not been delivered by any training organisations for four years. It is recommended for deletion.

Changes to the advanced diploma

The current qualification consists of 14 core and 3 elective units. The proposed new qualification will consist of 19 core and 3 electives

Limiting the scope of the advanced diploma

Currently, buildings of up to three stories and 2000 m2 can be inspected, assessed and certified by someone with an Advanced Diploma of Building Surveying. For larger buildings, a university degree or higher qualification is required.

The TAG recommends that this delineation be adjusted to two storeys and 500 m2. The reasons are outlined below.

Performance solutions

Building that are larger than this size tend to have more reliance on performance solutions. Assessment of performance solutions requires higher-level engineering skills, skills that can only be partially addressed in an AQF6 qualification such as the advanced diploma. Poor application of performance solutions is routinely found to be a major cause of building deficiencies.

While the advanced diploma covers some aspects of performance solutions—and these are being strengthened—the proposed two-story and 500 m2 limit is designed to reduce the risk of building surveyors signing off on work without the required background knowledge and skills.

Regulatory requirements

Firefighting requirements become more stringent for buildings larger than 500 m2. At this size, commercial buildings require active firefighting provisions, including hydrants and hose reels. Hydrodynamic calculations of friction and flow rate are required. Again, these calculations are beyond what can be fully covered in an advanced diploma.

Regulatory requirements for disability access, energy efficiency and waterproofing also become more stringent for buildings over two storeys.

Impact on skills shortages

Local governments report that there is an undersupply of building surveyors, particularly in regional and remote areas. However, the proposed size restrictions will not have a negative impact, as the majority of work needed in these areas involves residential and small commercial buildings. In fact, trainers and assessors have reported difficulties in finding sufficient three-storey buildings to meet the needs of the current qualification.

Assessor requirements

The existing qualification requires assessors to have 'current membership of a relevant industry association and have current registration on the National Building Professionals Register in the Building Industry Control category (level 1) or be accredited under the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) National Accreditation Scheme at Building Surveyor level’. The TAG would like to know whether you feel this is an appropriate requirement.

Addition of construction units

Trainers and assessors report that some students enter this qualification without sufficient background in the construction industry. To address this issue, the TAG recommends that four units covering essential background skills and knowledge be added to the core. These units have been updated/developed as part of the Building and Construction Project and are awaiting endorsement by the AISC. The final versions of these units are available below:

It is expected that many students will already have these competencies and will be granted recognition of prior learning.

Other units added

Ethics and performance solution units have been added to the residential skill set, and elective units have been added encompassing bushfire attack levels, reading plans, energy efficiency and thermal performance.

NCC alignment

Unit content has been updated to align with the National Construction Code, and titles have been changed to align with appropriate building classes.

Consultation strategy

Our consultation strategy is based on the principles of:

  • open and inclusive industry participation 
  • allowing industry to drive and influence change
  • transparency in communicating changes and the reasoning behind them
  • transparent, fair and evidence-based systems for addressing conflicting views

We allow at least a four-week time frame for consultation on draft one (the current stage of this project) and at least two-weeks for the final (validation) draft.

Your feedback is being reviewed

Thank you to those who recently provided us feedback through our online consultation. Your feedback will be presented to the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) who will review and further advice us on the way forward. The next opportunity to provide feedback is likely to be at the validation stage, pending the outcome from the next TAG meeting.

Last updated: April 2020
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Public consultation and feedback
We provide public feedback opportunities in various forms, such as public forums to online surveys. When these opportunities arise they will be listed here and announced through our newsletter. If you would like to provide continued feedback on this project, please use the contact details as listed below.
Project Downloads
CPC60120 Advanced Diploma of Building Surveying
CPCSS00004 Provide building surveying services for residential buildings up to two storeys
TAG Composition and Meetings
Units of Competency - Building Surveying
Project Contact
Contact: Charles Donnelly