The Victorian Building Authority believes negligence or error likely played a role in a massive collapse at a building site in Melbourne's Mount Waverley.

Investigations into a Melbourne building site collapse will look at the role played by a surveyor who was also involved in the provision of a building permit for the Docklands apartment that caught fire in April.

The wall collapse occurred at a construction site on the corner of Highbury and Huntingdale Roads in Mount Waverley, where excavation work was being conducted to build a three-storey building with an underground car park.

The resulting 15-metre deep pit has compromised the foundations of two adjacent townhouses as well as compelled the evacuation of more than a dozen local residents, including a family of four from their own home and a group of 10 students residing next to the building site.

According to Victorian Building Authority Chief Commissioner Bill Kusznirczuk the collapse was almost certainly the due to human factors, with investigations currently underway to determine the precise cause.

“The investigation will be conducted by the building authorities – there’s already an investigation underway by the relevant municipal building surveyor at Monash Council and also WorkSafe,” said Kusznirczuk to 774 ABC Melbourne.

“What we can most probably say it that a man-made hole of this magnitude should not collapse and even if mother nature might have assisted it, it wouldn’t have been fully to blame.”

The investigation undertaken by the Building Authority will give considerable attention to the role played by the surveyor for the site – a Gardner Group employee who has been involved in numerous projects around Melbourne, including the Docklands apartment complex that caught fire in April.

Evacuated residents may have to wait some time before they can return to their homes, with even inspection work for adjacent houses delayed until the construction site itself is secured.

“Until the hole’s been filled up, until it’s been made safe, we can’t inspect the homes,” said Sergeant Adrian Stafferton. “It’s too dangerous to go into them at the moment, certainly the rear home.

“No work can be done until it is made safe. They’ve got to shore up the walls of the excavation so that nothing else falls down.”