Why am I being asked to have an engineer certify my design?
When assessing an application for a Construction Certificate, a Building Surveyor must be satisfied that the proposed building or structure complies with the Building Code of Australia (the BCA).
It is your responsibility to provide evidence that shows how the building complies with the BCA. Usually this done using plans and written specifications, but also may include test reports or certificates.
For many steel structures, the parts of the BCA requiring structural adequacy only provide a technical method of designing a compliant building. Unlike other kinds of structures (like a timber framed house), there are no ‘span tables’ or similar documents referred to by the BCA that can be used to easily check if the design complies with the BCA.
A structural engineer is the appropriate person to perform the calculations and checks needed to check a design meets the requirements of the standards that are referenced by the BCA.
The BCA lists a certificate from a professional engineer as an acceptable form of evidence that a design fulfils specific requirements of the BCA.
I’ve never been asked for this before, why now?
In the past, Council used span tables that had been assessed by an engineer. These span tables are now out of date (they are based on old versions of the relevant standards) and therefore cannot be relied on for compliance with the current requirements.
Can you recommend an engineer
As the regulatory authority, Council cannot recommend a business or person as this could form an improper influence in the decisions of others and could be seen to be a conflict of interest when assessing the application.
I cannot afford what the engineer has quoted me. What should I do?
Here are some options for you to consider:
- Ask another engineer/company for a quote.
- Ask the engineer if there is anything you can change that might reduce the cost (for example, reduce the size or complexity of the proposal).
- Source a design that is already certified (for example, from a kit manufacturer- see below).
- Redesign the proposal so it does not need an engineer (for example, many timber structures do not require an engineer to certify the design).
- Increase your budget for the project and source funds (for example, obtain a loan or delaying start of work to give you time to save the money needed- please seek independent financial advice).
What if I use a [Brandname] kit?
In most cases, kit suppliers for sheds, carports, verandahs and the like have had an engineer already certify their designs. Council will need a copy of the certificate (and the referenced plans/specifications).
If you have not been given a copy, you should contact your supplier to obtain these.
Some suppliers prefer to provide these directly to Council. If that is the case, ask them to send the documents to firstname.lastname@example.org and refer to your application number and address in their email.