Certifications and Inspections

Principal Certifying Authority (PCA)

A Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) must be nominated prior to commencement of works if your building works are subject to a Construction Certificate or a Complying Development Certificate. The role of a PCA is to undertake critical stage inspections of the building work and upon satisfactory completion of the project, to issue an Occupation Certificate.

The Building Professional Board provide information on finding a certifier.  The PCA can be either Council or a private certifier.

How do I appoint Council as a PCA?

If you wish to appoint Council as the Principal Certifying Authority for your building work, please complete the Principal Certifying Authority Form.

What does Council need to know if I am using a Private Certifier?

If Council is not the PCA you still need to notify Council who the private certifier is and when you intend to start work. In part, this is to direct any enquiries relating to the project to the appropriate authority.

To notify Council please complete the Principal Certifying Authority Form.

What inspections are required?

Certain inspections during construction are required at critical stages of the development and as required in Clause 162A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000. These are called critical stage inspections and are to ensure that construction works have been undertaken in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and relevant standards. Your project may include any or all of the following:

  • after excavation for, and prior to the placement of, any footings;
  • prior to pouring of any in-situ reinforced concrete building element;
  • prior to covering of any framework for any floor, wall, roof or other building element;
  • prior to covering waterproofing in any wet areas;
  • prior to covering any stormwater drainage connections;
  • retaining walls with drainage in position prior to backfilling;
  • after building work has been completed and prior to any occupation certificate being issued in relation to the building;
  • after construction of the swimming pool is completed and the barrier (where required) has been erected and before the pool is filled with water; and/ or
  • after building work has been completed and prior to any occupation certificate being issued in relation to the structure/building.

Depending on the type of approval granted for your development, your critical stage inspections will be listed within your Principal Certifying Authority Agreement; Development Consent or Complying Development Schedule of Conditions.

A Principal Certifying Authority may also specify within your PCA agreement, a requirement for additional inspection types depending on the extent and type of works being undertaken. Again, this is to ensure that the work is being carried out to an acceptable standard to ensure the integrity of the development.

How much do inspections cost?

Council’s Fees and Charges set the cost for inspections.  The number of inspections required will depend on the size and type of project.

What if the work fails an inspection?

Additional inspections or re-inspections may be required as a result of non-compliant work. Each additional inspection undertaken throughout the construction phase will incur the appropriate inspection fee as outlined within Council’s Fees and Charges.  Council will provide a report on each inspection.

Can a Private Certifier inspect all work?

No. The following water, sewer and drainage inspections are required to be carried out by Council even if Council has not been appointed the Principal Certifying Authority for the building work:

  • underfloor drainage under hydrostatic test prior to covering;
  • internal stackwork under hydrostatic test prior to covering;
  • hot and cold water plumbing under pressure test prior to covering;
  • sanitary drainage under hydrostatic test prior to covering;
  • the installation of the septic tank and any sullage trenches prior to covering; and
  • final inspection of all plumbing and drainage works.

Typically these would be part of a separate local government approval (section 68 approval) already approved by Council.

How do I book an inspection?

If you would like to arrange an inspection please call Council’s Environmental Services team.

When booking your inspection, please provide the following information:

  • type of inspection (refer to Consent or PCA Agreement for the inspections required);
  • address of where the inspection will take place;
  • contact name and telephone number of the relevant person; and
  • application reference number: construction certificate number / development application number / complying development certificate.

What is an Occupation Certificate?

An Occupation Certificate verifies that the Principal Certifying Authority is satisfied that the building is suitable to occupy or use in terms of the requirements of the Building Code of Australia. There are two kinds of Occupation Certificates:

  • Interim Occupation - An Interim Occupation Certificate can be issued if the building is fit for occupation but there are still outstanding matters to be addressed. This authorises a person to commence occupation or use of a partially completed new building, or commence a new use of part of an existing building which is subject to a change of building use. Generally, any outstanding matters must be addressed within 12 months of the date of the interim occupation of the building. However, the Principal Certifying Authority may impose a lesser period of time in which to complete the outstanding items. An application for a Final Occupation Certificate must then be made to Council.

  • Final Occupation - This authorises a person to commence occupation or use of a new building, or to commence a new use of a building resulting from a change of building use for an existing building.

It should be noted that an Occupation Certificate is a lawful requirement in the conveyancing process when a property is sold and it is therefore essential that you obtain a Final Occupation Certificate for a new dwelling.

How do I apply for an Occupation Certificate?

An occupation certificate can only be issued by the PCA appointed for the particular building project. Therefore, if Council has not been appointed as the PCA, it will be necessary to discuss this issue with the PCA appointed for that project.

If Council is the PCA then a Final Occupation certificate is automatically issued upon satisfactory completion of the project and the final inspection. If there is outstanding work, an Interim Certificate may be issued. Once you have completed the outstanding work and would like a Final Occupation certificate, please contact council to request a final inspection.  You will also need to make application for an Occupation Certificate and a fee applies.

What do I need to do for an Occupation Certificate?

Before an Occupation certificate can be issued you should ensure:

  • a Development Consent or Complying Development Certificate (CDC) has been issued for the work;
  • a Construction Certificate (CC) has been issued for the work (not applicable where a CDC has been issued);
  • the conditions prescribed in the development consent that must be satisfied prior to the issue of an Occupation Certificate have been met;
  • the building is suitable for occupation or use in accordance with the Building Code of Australia;
  • the building does not constitute a hazard to the health or safety of the occupants; and
  • all BASIX commitments must be completed.