Behind every dream home, passion project and much-needed renovation is a keen-eyed certifier ensuring everything is up to scratch and by the book.
For thousands of the works that have taken place in Wagga over the past two decades, that attention to detail has been delivered by Stephen Baker, who became the city's first ever private certifier in 2000.
After a long and rewarding career, in which he has seen Wagga transform from an ambling regional city to one of the fastest growing regions in NSW, Mr Baker has decided to hang up the tape measure and prepare for retirement.
"When I first started the pace was really quite reasonable and I was always happy to dot the i's and cross the t's," the 67-year-old said.
"These days you think of all the residential subdivision at Gobba, Forest Hill and everything out there ... well things are a bit more haphazard and crazy, so I'm happy to have some time to figure out what to do with myself."
Mr Baker's career saw him deliver the stamp of approval to over 200 local projects each year, covering everything from backyard sheds and pools to two-storey homes and an entire four star hotel.
After working for nearly three decades at Wyong Shire Council on the Central Coast in administration and as one of the council's certifiers, Mr Baker saw the NSW Government's introduction of private certification in 1998 as an opportunity for a change in scenery.
"It was a brand new thing in NSW at the time so no matter where you started you just might have been the first there," he said.
"I thought Wagga was big enough to earn a living while competing with council and for the first ten or so years it was pretty much just between me and council - which was fine for me."
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As his business grew, Mr Baker developed a reputation for his astute knowledge of the standards and regulations which all projects must abide by, though he concedes staying on top of these ever-changing rules was one of the biggest challenges of his career.
"Having to keep up to date with all the changes in legislature is just amazing," he said.
"The National Construction Code, which used to be called the Building Code of Australia, used to change every six months and even now it changes every 12 months.
"There's the building regulations, state government regulations and the whole suite of Australian Standards ... it's not easy to keep up to speed."
Mr Baker has spent the past few months urging his clients to use a different certifier, while he focused on ensuring the ongoing projects he has been involved in were complete in time for him to issue the occupation certificate.
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