Question 1.a
The process begins when the potential house owner(s) contact the local council or any other local group dealing with land. The main aim of consulting any of these groups is to ensure that the building meets the local requirements of design and construction. The approving group will provide details such as: environmental and state plans and requirements of developing the site,, planning requirements  as stipulated by the local council, works that need to be done prior to the actual construction process, the methods through which the construction and development process will be assessed etc. However, the approval process is not a necessity for houses considered exempt (Building professionals board, 2011)
The next step is to apply for a development approval. The aim of this permit is to ensure that the building complies with the design as well as the local standards. However, this approval comes from the environmental and sustainable development directorate and the building should be in compliance with most, if not all, the principles of sustainable development (Charms & Bryant, 1984).Buildings that are approved should not have considerable damage on the environment (Kibert, 2016).However, some buildings fail to comply with the outlined standards and as such, the request is declined and only after proper design and redesign can the aggrieved party resubmit the request. There is an alternative certificate known as complying development certificate available and basically shows that the routine works comply with the local authority standards. All the design and construction is checked against the building codes of Australia. It is the certificate that basically initiates the construction process.
The other step is to apply for a building approval or a construction certificate. The building approval is a document that indicates that the authorities accept the construction methodology. The process is done by cross-checking the design against the codes and standards of the region (Victoria building authority, 2014). In this, the construction certificate indicates that the plans are in line with those outlined by the building construction authority. However, the process of obtaining a building approval is more complicated than that of obtaining a development approval and as such, there are various organizations and companies that tend to help people navigate through the process. Generally, the groups that have been mandated with the responsibility of helping people obtain a building approval are the Act licensed officers. The parties that have the power to issue an individual with a construction certificate are mainly the council and accredited certifiers. The accreditation gives the individual the power to obtain a certificate of accommodation but very well gives the green light for the construction works to commence.
After obtaining the construction certificate, the next step is to appoint any person with the capability of issuing a certificate of interim or final occupation (Building professionals board, 2011). Basically, the person has to be a principal certifying authority. In this, he has the jurisdiction and capability of acknowledging that the building follows all the construction and the safety procedures. However, only the landowner can appoint this person because there is a limits to the people recognized by the building counsel. There are three groups of people who may be classified as certifying authority and include counsel, consent authority and an accredited certifier (Building professionals board, 2011). The certifying authority has been mandated with the responsibility of ensuring that the construction complies with the building and construction authority codes but it is the responsibility of the land developer to ensure that all the other necessary measures required in home building and accommodation are met. The building needs to comply with every design step stipulated but if this is not the case, the counsel can impose a fine or may request demolition.
The second last stage is for the owner to ensure that the certificate of completion is acquired. In this, the landlord and the builders set a date on which the inspection by the principal certifying authority is to be carried out. The landlord may not be present at the time of inspection but the PCA has to be taken through the whole building to ensure that every aspect of safety and accommodation has been maintained. This is a rigorous process and if the inspection is not carried out, the building is not yet complete.
The final step and certificate to be issued is the occupation certificate. The certificate is obtained after the principal construction authority certifies that the building meets all the safety and building standards required. However, there is a possibility that the authority may decline to issue the certificate of occupancy but there are appeal procedures put in place to ensure that the certificate, if the house meets all the standards, is released to the homeowner.
All the above stated, it is important to outline the types of approval that apply in New South Wales. To begin with, there are two classes in which construction work may fall into: one may be approved while another may be classed as exempt. The latter includes all buildings that have minimal environmental impact and falls into a specific criteria. On the other hand, buildings that have considerable impact on the environment falls into the ‘complying development ‘category while those that have a huge impact on the environment are classified as ‘development consent.’ The council is mandated with the task of assessing the construction techniques and issuing the aforementioned certificates and it would be noble to say that the building falls into ‘complying development’ and besides the council, a private certifier would issue the certificate.
Question 1.b
The New South Wales government offers the clients the option of the Basix planning tool alongside the building certificates. This is a tool that is aimed at reducing the energy as well as the water consumption of most of the residents in New South Wales.However, it applies to all residential houses with the main aim to ensure an equitable as well as effective water and energy supply system across the State. On the other hand, the private certified approvals do not have any other requirement because of the ability to follow up on the requirements and the laws.
Another major difference is the amount of power that the two bodies possess. The private sector has very limited powers compared to the government. The authority that the private body possess is limited to ‘issuing an order’, ‘issuing a notice of intention’ or the declining in issuing of a certificate (Lambert, 2015). On the other hand, the government counsel has powers beyond this and as such, may override the decision made by the private sector. The approvals by the government cover every aspect of design, construction and occupation from issuing the development approval to the certificate of occupancy.
The other difference between the private sector and the government authority is the ability to issue a certificate of intent. In this, the private sector has been described to be very reluctant in issuing these notices because of the fear of conflict with the builder. Therefore, there is a limit to the extent to which the private sector may issue a certificate of intent. However, the local government, through laws, has no limitations on issuing a certificate of intent.
Question 2.
Some building defects as a result of the workmanship, others because of the component materials while others are just because of the aging process and environmental conditions (Merritt & Ricketts, 2001). Therefore, it has been recommended to potential land buyers to ensure that they employ the services of a building inspector or an architect prior to the purchase of a building (Charms & Bryant, 1984). Furthermore, these defects may pose a serious problem because of the risk of collapse. As in our case, the buildings close to the site have various defects and as such, it is necessary to establish the impact of our building operations
Buildings and their defects
The first defect may be attributed to column or slab settlement. There are various settlement patterns that may be evidenced by cracks but the shown case is as a result of post settlement. The rule of thumb is that the column should be in direct contact with the floor slab/foundation but this is not the case in the picture above. The column does not have the necessary contact with the floor slab and as such, there is no effective transmission of loads to the foundation (Ladd, 1991). Transfer of loads from the building elements is a pivotal factor for the stability of any building and if the condition above is not rectified, there is bound to be considerable damage. Post settlement is indicated by the presence of a gap between the beam/column and slab. The result of the construction works may be an increase in the gap mainly due to the lack of a pier underneath or because of weak soil conditions. Furthermore, the soil conditions may determine the extent of post settlement. The proximity of the construction site may determine the amount of soil that fluidized from the location of these buildings which consequently will determine this defect.
The cracking as can be seen in the second figure is as a result of structural defect. In this, the defect may be as a result of the impairment of the structural element of the building as well as the structural behavior of the building. As can be seen, the crack extends from the slab to the walling unit. One theory is the concrete curing may be less than the 28 days requirement or the mix proportion (Rounce, 1998). However, it is important to determine the crack width in order to determine whether the crack is as a result of structural or non-structural defect. Studies have shown that cracks which are 0.1 mm wide are as a result of structural defect while those that are 5.0mm wide are non-structural defects. As with the construction nearby, the width limit will determine the need for repair. Cracks less than 0.1mm are classified as hairline cracks do not necessitate repair but those that are greater than 5.0mm necessitate repair (Bevelyn, 2015). The result of the construction activities may result in structural failure, depending on the width. Cracks which have a bigger width may result in total failure of the building while those of smaller widths may increase in size. Prior to the construction, the crack width needs to be determined and as such necessary measures need to be taken.
The last is as a result of serviceability defect. All this should be in accordance with the design with the defect a result of: the windows and doors not opening properly or as a result of water leaking into the window, which should not be allowed. The width limit of such a crack is 5.0mm and the doors and the windows may not stick to the building walling. Without proper repair and with the ongoing construction works nearby, the result may be sticking out of the window. Vibratory effects from the construction site may furthermore extend the crack from the windows to the structural elements such as the ringbeam.If this occurs, the roofing elements may collapse which may lead to catastrophic outcomes.
Question 3
The critical path of project management focuses on the most effective route required for project completion. Therefore, the routes taken are basically those that consume a lot of time than the alternative (Filwv, 2017). Two activities are present in any project: float activities as well as critical activities (Reh, n.d.). Float activities may be rescheduled for completion without affecting the overall completion date while critical activities cannot be rescheduled.
Grant chart

Activity/weeks 4 11 15 18 22 26 30 33 37 40 44 47 51
Preliminary works  and obtaining certificates                          
Site preparation and surface preparation                          
Concrete preparation for slab, footing and path                          
Formwork design and removal                          
Timber and steel construction for walls, roofs and trusses                          
Brick and block construction                          
Timber fixtures                          
Plumbing and drainage                      
Electrical and mechanical installation                          
Fences and external walls                          
Paving and roads                        

Critical path







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Charms, A. B. & Bryant, D. T., 1984. Studying the client’s role in construction management. Construction management and economics.

Filwv, A., 2017. Critical path method in project management is as easy as 1,2,3. [Online]

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[Accessed 30 11 2017].

Hibbert, C. J., 2016. Sustainable construction: green building design and delivery. s.l.:s.n.

Ladd, C. C., 1991. Stability evaluation during staged construction. Journal of geotechnical engineering.

Lambert, M., 2015. Independent review of the building professional act 2005, s.l.: s.n.

merritt, F. S. & Ricketts, J. T., 2001. Building design and construction handbook. s.l.:s.n.

Reh, F. J., n.d. Critical path project management (CPM). [Online]

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[Accessed 29 11 2017].

Rounce, G., 1998. Quality, waste and cost consideration in architectural building design management. International journal of project management.

Victoria building authority, 2014. Permits and paperwork before during and after construction, s.l.: s.n.