What role should risk-based inspections play in construction?

Author: Doing Business
Publication: Doing Business 2014
Download Now


Construction accounts for a large share of GDP in most economies and is often used by governments to stimulate economic activity because of its benefits for people across socioeconomic strata. There has been growing consensus in the construction industry on the need for supervisory bodies to consider the potential risks imposed by a building, rather than applying the same inspections standards to all buildings, however introducing risk-based inspections is challenging. Among the many prerequisites are sound legislation, accurate categorization of buildings and effective agencies with sufficient resources, well-trained workers, and legal mandates to conduct inspections. Economies that have successfully implemented such systems have seen more efficient inspections of their construction industries without compromising the safety of workers, the public or buildings.

Australia and France are two examples of good practice: Australia privatized its inspection system, while France strengthened and clarified its liability regime. Technical controllers must be licensed, and technical control agencies are held accountable for building safety. And while Australia categorizes buildings based on their uses, France categorizes its buildings based on their occupancy. Though the two countries took different approaches, both emerged with far more efficient construction inspection systems.