Construction certificates

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What is a construction certificate?

Once you have development consent for building work, you will need to obtain a construction certificate (PDF).

A construction certificate is required before the commencement of building work subject to a development consent (except when a complying development certificate has been issued). A construction certificate certifies that:

  1. the detailed construction plans and specifications will comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) including relevant associated structural standards and codes;
  2. the detailed construction plans and specifications are "not inconsistent" with the development consent; and
  3. all outstanding conditions of the development consent such as the payment of local infrastructure contributions (under section 7.11 or 7.12 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), security deposits, bonds, and conditions of consent must be finalised before a construction certificate is issued.

A construction certificate may be issued by Council or by a private accredited certifier.

When should I submit my application for a construction certificate?

We are able to process your construction certificate application after your development application has been determined. Changes to submitted plans may occur during the assessment process, in response to community consultation and conditions of consent. For this reason, you should lodge your application for a construction certificate after your development application has been approved. You will then be able to demonstrate compliance with your development consent and avoid further costs and delays. A construction certificate cannot be issued unless it is consistent with the development consent.

Lodgement

Your application must be submitted on the Construction Certificate application form (PDF) provided by Council or a similar form provided by an accredited certifier. You should personally lodge your application so we can check it to ensure that all of the necessary information has been provided. Applications sent by facsimile are not acceptable. The applicable fee must accompany your application.

Requirements

The plans and specification have to demonstrate compliance with the development consent, conditions of consent, BASIX commitments, the BCA and adopted Australian Standards.

What information is required with a construction certificate application?

To decide whether your proposed building will comply with the development consent and the BCA, we need to see the detailed plans and the building specifications. This is a legal requirement set out in section 6.7 of the EP&A Act. Note that, a reference to an Australian Standard or a requirement of the BCA in the specification is sufficient for us to determine compliance with the BCA but may not be sufficient for us to determine compliance with the development consent.

If you are an owner-builder seeking approval for residential building work exceeding $3,000 you must apply for a permit at NSW Fair Trading. A copy of the permit must be provided with your application.

If you are using a licensed builder for residential work exceeding $5,000 you must obtain Home Building Act insurance. A certificate of insurance must be provided with your application.

Specifications

Specifications are required to describe the standard to which a building is to be constructed in terms of structural, operational and aesthetic aspects. The specification must include:

  • a reference to the approved DA plans
  • a description of construction materials for the walls (internal and external), floors, windows, roof including its lining
  • the relevant standards for constructing the following building components:
    • footings/structural elements
    • timber framing
    • drainage-water/sewage
    • oil or solid fuel heating appliances
    • termite control
    • fire safety measures, eg. fire resistance levels and essential fire safety services
    • wet areas
    • lighting/ventilation
    • sound transmission class rating
    • stair construction and balustrades
  • evidence of any accredited component, process or design to be relied upon, where relevant
  • site preparation; and
  • finishes.

Plans

The plans are required to define the extent of building works by outlining its configuration, use, appearance and fire safety provisions, including:

  • full dimensions, drawn to a suitable scale
  • a plan of each floor section
  • a site plan
  • each elevation of the building levels of the lowest floor and any yard or vacant area belonging to that floor and the levels of the adjacent ground
  • the height, design, construction and provision for fire safety and fire resistance; and
  • identification of any alterations and additions to an existing building

Supporting information

Supporting information is often required to supplement plans and specifications. Likely examples are:

  • copies of compliance certificates relied upon;
  • if relevant, the provisions made for fire safety and fire resisting construction; and
  • alternative solutions, if your proposal does not satisfy the deemed provisions of the BCA.

Building inspection services

A certifier is either Council or an accredited certifier. You have an option of using either Council or an accredited certifier to assess your application for a construction certificate or complying development certificate, as the type and scale of work may require.

What else do I have to do before commencing construction?

A principal certifier (PC) must be appointed prior to the start of any building work. The PC can either be a Council accredited certifier or a private accredited certifier. The owner decides who they
want as the PC. Council must be notified at least two days before the start of the building work. For more information, see Principal certifiers and Council.

If you require any advice or assistance with preparing and submitting your application for a construction certificate please call us on 9391 7000, weekdays between 8:00am to 4:30pm.