Building Certification

NSW planning legislation sets out the approvals needed for building work and the stages of work that must be inspected and certified.

It also places responsibilities on builders and developers - called ‘principal contractors’ - who carry out the overall coordination and control of the building work on the site.

Complying Development Certificates

Complying Development 

Complying development is a fast-track approval process for straightforward development proposals such as home renovations and additions or a new home up to two storeys and other types of development under the relevant State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs). Providing the proposal meets specific criteria then it can be determined by a Council or private certifier without needing a full development application and a Construction Certificate. 

Useful links for the Exempt & Complying Development, Affordable Housing and the Infrastructure SEPP's can be found at the NSW Legislation website.

Construction Certificates

This is a certificate that states that building work can commence on an approved development, and that it complies with the terms of the consent and the Building Code of Australia. 

No work can start before you obtain a construction certificate. 

This certificate can be issued by Council or an private Certifier. You must have development consent to obtain a construction certificate. 

You must nominate a Certifier for your construction certificate and appoint a Principal Certifier (PC) to manage the works during construction and issue an occupation certificate. 

Home Owners' Warranty Insurance is needed before your construction certificate can be issued. If you are an owner builder, you will need to provide Council with your Owner Builder permit. 

You must also appoint a Principal Certifier (PC) and notify Council 2 days prior to work commencing by completing the Notice of Commencement of Works and Appoint a Principal Certifier. 

Access our Building and Development Forms and Fact Sheets page.  

Building Inspections

The role of the Principal Certifier 

Qualified professionals need to oversee any development, and certify that the work is safe and compliant with relevant standards and conditions at various stages. You can choose council or a private Certifier as your Principal Certifier. 

Mandatory Inspections and Certification 

There are certain inspections throughout the course of construction that Council needs to carry out. Council will notify you of these (check your construction certificate). 

For Council inspections of works, you or your builder will need to call Council's Customer Service Centre on 9725 0222 to arrange an inspection, at least 24 hours before the inspection. Or alternatively you can request an inspection online

If works are not ready for inspection, you are encouraged cancel or postpone the inspection, as incomplete works may require a re-inspection and additional fee.

Council does inspections Monday to Friday and you are required to have your stamped plans on site (they should be available on-site throughout construction).

After the inspection is completed, you will be given a written record of results. It is important to keep a copy of each of your inspections.

If the inspection finds works to be defective, you will be required to rectify the fault and arrange for a re-inspection before proceeding to the next stage of construction.

Once Council has completed all mandatory inspections and is satisfied that the work is compliant, you can apply for an Occupation Certificate. 

Access our Building and Development Forms and Fact Sheets page.

Occupation Certificates

An occupation certificate, issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 allows a person to occupy and use a new building or change the use of an existing building. 

An occupation certificate verifies that the principal certifier is satisfied that the building is suitable to occupy or use in terms of the requirements of the Building Code of Australia. That Code sets required standards for the design and construction of various classes of buildings to protect health, safety and amenity. 

A final occupation certificate allows commencement of either the occupation or use of a new building (including alternations/extensions) or the new use of an existing building resulting from a change in its use. 

An occupation certificate is required for any new building work, or change of use of a building, that has development consent or a complying development certificate. 

Occupation certificates are not required for buildings which are exempt development. 

Access our Building and Development Forms and Fact Sheets page