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On the issue of drawings developed for home modifications

I recently contacted the Qld Building Services Authority to clarify the OT position with respect to doing drawings for minor and major home modifications work. I contacted the QBSA to confirm that OTs can do “concept” drawings of some home modifications but that OTs needed to advise the client to seek professional assistance from someone with a building design license when needing drawings for certain types of major home modifications.

Mr Cameron Murphy, Manager of Regulatory Services, QBSA, provided the following reply:

As an OT, you may, without a BSA licence, do concept drawings of the work required to bring a dwelling up to the standard required for any therapy. That means you may nominate positioning of grab rails and locations of ramps, steps and the like. You may even do concept layouts of kitchens and bathrooms etc. If, however, the work involves any structural or loadbearing building member, a BSA design licence is then required.

Additionally, I can advise that interior designers are exempt from holding a BSA design licence where their preparation of plans and specifications for building work does not relate to a part of the building that is loadbearing or a structural member.

If you wish to obtain a BSA design licence, the most appropriate licence class is Building Design Low Rise. To obtain this licence you will need to: hold the technical qualification of Certificate IV in Residential Drafting; have 2 years’ experience in preparing plans and specifications for class 1 and 10 buildings; and meet BSA’s financial requirements for licensing. The cost of a BSA licence will be $582.45 for a turnover up to $300k and then $265.20 yearly fee after that (fees based on 10/11 financial year).

If you do not hold the BSA design licence and a particular dwelling requires an architect or BSA designer to prepare the plans, then the designer will need to be engaged by the homeowner – you are not able to engage the designer on the owners behalf.

If a BSA licensed builder has been engaged to do this work then he does not also need a design licence. Builders can design the work they install (but not design for 3rd parties).

Government employees – government employees (not contractors) doing work in their government role (eg QBuild, Health dept, communities etc.) do not need to hold a BSA licence to do designs including structural designs. The same government employee doing private work (outside of their government role) do need a BSA licence where appropriate.

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