FREQUENTLY 

ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Building Certification?


Building Certification is the process of engaging Registered Certifiers to independently check and approve building works to ensure they comply with the safety, health, amenity and sustainability standards specified in Legislation and Building Codes. The main role of Certifiers is to determine applications for Construction Certificates and Complying Development Certificates. Registered Certifiers may also be appointed as the Principal Certifier (PC) for the development. The Principal Certifier issues the Occupation Certificate at the completion of the development. The Principal Certifier carries out critical stage inspections during construction to ensure the building work is in accordance with the Development Consent and Legislative requirements. At the completion of construction, the property owner must apply to the Principal Certifier for an Occupation Certificate. The Principal Certifier will conduct a final inspection and issue this certificate if they are satisfied that the building is suitable for occupation or use. A building must not be occupied or used without an Occupation Certificate.




What is the Building Approval process?


For a rough idea on the Building Approval process, please click on the diagram below. If you intend to do any building work including new builds, renovations, demolition, developing or change of use, please contact our office office and we will guide you through each stage of the building approval process.




What is a Development Application (DA)?


A Development Application (DA) is a formal application for development that requires assessment and development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. It is usually submitted to your local council and consists of standard application forms, supporting technical reports and plans. The NSW government and local Councils have comprehensive and complex requirements for the lodgement of Development Applications. A Town Planner can assist you to prepare and submit all of the necessary information required by council and to avoid costly time delays which can obstruct your development project. Prior to lodging a development application (DA) with Council, you need to review planning policies that apply to your land, in order to prepare your plans and supporting documentation. To see what local environmental planning constraints, applicable planning policies and permissible uses apply to your land or property, you can use the New South Wales Government Planning Portal. If consent is granted for your development, a schedule of conditions will be issued with the notice of determination. The development consent is structured to assist in the project management of the development and these conditions must be complied with. The conditions should be read in conjunction with the stamped approved plans.




What is a Construction Certificate (CC)?


Once development consent is granted, a Construction Certificate is required to be obtained prior to the commencement of building works. Urban Certifying can issue a Construction Certificate after plans and specifications of the proposed works have been assessed to comply with Building Code of Australia and conditions of the development consent have been satisfied.




What is a Complying Development Certificate (CDC)?


A Complying Development Certificate is a combined planning and construction approval available for clients who want to build a new single or two storey home, renovate your existing home, add a granny flat, garage or a swimming pool. The Complying Development approval is fast tracked approval which does not require a development application at your local council. The Complying Development approval is issued when the proposed development meets the NSW Government’s Housing Code criteria and complies with the Building Code of Australia. If you require further information, please visit the NSW Planning Portal.




Are inspections mandatory?


Yes. The Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation (EP&A Reg) lists the required Mandatory Critical Stage Inspections that are required for each class of building. The Principal Certifier (PC) must advise the owner of the inspections that are required to be carried out during construction. If an inspection by a third party, such as an engineer, is also required, the PC will request written confirmation in the form of a report or certificate to verify that the inspection was carried out, and that work satisfies any applicable standards.




How do I book in a Critical Stage Inspection?


To arrange a critical stage inspection you can book by calling our office on 02 4960 8741 or email us at hello@urbancertifying.com.au. We recommend you liaise with your builder to ensure the works to be inspected are complete prior to contacting the office to book the inspection.




What is the role of a Principal Certifier?


The main roles of the Principal Certifier (PC) are to: - Ensure compliance with the Development Consent and the Construction Certificate or the Complying Development Certificate; - Ensure compliance with all Development Conditions; - Ensure compliance with the Building Code of Australia; - Carry out all the required inspections associated with the building works; - Issue the Occupation Certificate when all works are completed. Further information about the role of a Principal Certifier can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website and the following fact sheet.




Can I replace a Principal Certifier?


Yes. You can replace your existing Principal Certifier (PC) by completing an application form Transfer of Principal Certifier (PC) Application, this form must be signed by your current PC. Alternatively, should your current PC be unavailable or unwilling to sign you may apply through NSW Fair Trading by completing an Application to replace a Principal Ceritifer (PC). Further information and the appropriate forms can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website.




How do I get an Owner Builder Permit?


An application for an Owner Builder Permit may only be submitted to the Office of Fair Trading once a Development Application or Complying Development Certificate has been issued. You are required to provide the Certifier with a copy of the Owner Builder Permit at least 2 days prior to commencing works. For further information relating to Owner Builder Permits, visit https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/building-and-renovating




What is a Long Service Levy?


Long Service Levy is a NSW Government fee, payable for building and construction projects costing $25,000 and above (inclusive of GST). This is payable online at https://online.longservice.nsw.gov.au/bci/levy or at your Local Council office. The levy is paid into a fund administered by the Long Service Corporation, and from this fund, the Corporation makes long service payments to building and construction workers.




What is an Exempt Development?


Some minor building renovations or works don't need any planning or building approval. This is called exempt development. Exempt development is very low impact development that can be done for certain residential, commercial and industrial properties. Providing your building project meets specific development standards, approval from your Council is not needed. A few examples of development that can be exempt development are: decks, garden sheds, carports, fences, repairing a window or painting a house. The standards you must comply with for most complying development works are in the State policy for exempt and complying development. Further information can be found on the NSW Planning Portal.




What is an Occupation Certificate (OC)?


Before you can occupy the building, you must apply for and obtain an Occupation Certificate from your Principal Certifier (PC). An Occupation Certificate verifies that the Principal Certifier is satisfied that the building is suitable to occupy and satisfies the relevant requirements of the Building Code of Australia and the relevant conditions of your Development Consent (DA/CDC).




How do I obtain a quote?


If you would like a quote please email whichever applies to you below to - hello@urbancertifying.com.au. For Construction Certificates: 1. A copy of the approved DA Consent. 2. A copy of the Approved Plans. For Complying Development Certificates: 1. A copy of your plans.




Complaints or disputes about a development


Construction and development can sometimes cause concerns or inconvenience for those who live in close proximity to a building site. While it can be disruptive, it is important to recognise that most developments are constructed in a relatively short time frame. The most common concerns about development can often be avoided through early and regular communication and cooperation. Where possible, talking to the property owner about the development may help to alleviate any potentially unnecessary concerns, and can often lead to more harmonious and positive neighbour relationships. Please see the below information on the different roles during a project to help guide you on who you should contact if you have any concerns: What does the principal certifier do? The principal certifier is an independent authority that inspects the development at certain stages to ensure it meets legislative requirements and conditions of consent. They don't supervise or manage the work. If a development is non-compliant, a private certifier may issue a written direction to the owner and/or builder, requiring certain action be taken. The Principal Certifier can take action if work does not meet requirements. If the non-compliance is not addressed in the given timeframe, the certifier must refer the matter to the council for appropriate enforcement. Only the council can take further enforcement action. Powers of Local Councils: Councils have broad and discretionary powers of enforcement, and can act at any time, even if not the principal certifier for a development. A council may issue orders, stop work notices or fines if work breaches legislative requirements or conditions of consent, and can enforce issues such as hours of work, dust, noise and activities on footpaths/roads. Urgent matters such as dangerous excavations should be directed to the council for immediate attention. Responsibilities of property owners and builders: The property owner is responsible for meeting the conditions of the development approval. The builder is responsible for supervising the site and the work of subcontractors. The builder must make sure that work is done in accordance with the approved plans, the Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards. Please be aware that lodging a complaint about a construction site is treated as a serious circumstance. Each complaint is investigated, and feedback provided to the complainant. Your complaint should not be part of, or be fuelled by, an ongoing domestic dispute between yourself and your neighbour. As the Principal Certifier we should not be used as a mediator for existing domestic disturbances. In the majority of cases, we are unable accept an anonymous complaint. While every effort will be made to keep your details private, our investigation process may unavoidably disclose the details of the complaint and the complainant. If you wish to make a complaint about a development please send an email to hello@urbancertifying.com.au