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FAQs

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions around building approval and certification. If you don’t find the answer you’re after, feel free to fill out the short form on the Contact page and we will get back to you.

Does all building work require a Council development consent ?

No. Some building works fall within the definitions of “Exempt” or “Complying Development” and require no approval or may only need a Complying Development Certificate (fast tracked approval). New Dwellings, Additions & Alterations, Granny Flats and Swimming Pools are common examples of developments that may only require a Complying Development Certificate, which BuildCert are fully accredited to issue.
The details of building works that is either “Exempt” or “Complying” can be found by reference to State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Codes) 2008.
Alternatively, if you email your plans or sketch to us we can provide you with some clarification.

What needs to happen if approval is required for building work ?

If building work is to be carried out as “complying” development, no building work is to commence until a Complying Development Certificate has been issued and a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) has been appointed. Council must be given at least two days notice of the commencement of the building work, which will be completed by BuildCert on your behalf. Council does not require any notification when “exempt” work is carried out.
Where development consent (Council DA) is required for building work, no work can commence until Council has granted consent, a construction certificate has been issued and a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) has been appointed. Council must be given at least two days notice of the commencement of the building work, which will be completed by BuildCert on your behalf.
BuildCert can approve Complying Development Certificates, Construction Certificates and provide Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) services for your development.

What is a Complying Development Certificate ?

A Complying Development Certificate is a combined planning and construction approval available for clients who want to build a commercial/industrial development, 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 from our office when the proposed development meets the NSW Government’s Housing Code criteria and complies with the Building Code of Australia. Refer to our Resources page or visit State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Codes) 2008 for further details.

What is a Construction Certificate ?

Once development consent is granted, a Construction Certificate is required to be obtained prior to the commencement of building works. BuildCert Consultants 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.

Applying for Construction Certificate or a Complying Development Certificate ?

Contact our office by phone or click on request a Quote for a free, competitive service proposal. For Construction Certification we will require a copy of the proposed Architectural Plans and a copy of the Development Consent. For a Complying Development Certification we will require a copy of the proposed Architectural Plans and a copy of the Council Section 149(2) Planning Certificate of the property. If you are happy to proceed with our quote please visit our Applications page to download application form and a checklist of the documentation we require for lodgement.

Are inspections mandatory ?

Yes. The EP&A Regulation sets out the number of mandatory inspections for all types of buildings.
The PCA must advise the owner what inspections are required to be carried out by the PCA. Where an inspection by a third party, such as an engineer, is required, the PCA 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 arrange a Critical Stage Inspection ?

Visit our Inspection Booking page, call or email us to arrange inspections. 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. Our accredited certifiers will provide a written report following each inspection to confirm the compliance or the requirements to achieve compliance.

Who may be the Appointed Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) ?

Our experienced Accredited Certifiers may be the appointed Principal Certifying Authority (PCA). Our appointed PCA will work efficiently with the builder/developer and will undertake mandatory critical stage inspections at different stages during construction to ensure that the proposed building works comply with the building regulations and are generally consistent with the approved plans. At the completion of the project, the PCA will confirm the building is to fit to occupy and will be responsible to issue the Occupation Certificate.

What is the role of the PCA ?

The main roles of the PCA are to:
  1. Ensure compliance with the development consent and the construction certificate or the complying development certificate;
  2. Ensure compliance with all development conditions;
  3. Ensure compliance with the Building Code of Australia;
  4. Carry out all the required inspections associated with the building works;
  5. Issue the occupation certificate when all works are completed.

Do I need a PCA ?

Without a PCA you will be deemed to be carrying out unauthorised building work and council can stop work on the building. If work is stopped you will need to apply to council for a Building Certificate to authorise the completed building work. You may also be required to modify your development consent and Construction Certificate. You may also be liable to a large fine under the EP&A Act.

Can I replace a Principal Certifying Authority ?

Yes, you can replace your existing PCA by completing an application form ‘Notice to appoint a replacement principal certifying authority (PCA)’, this form must be signed by your current PCA. Alternatively, should your current PCA be unavailable or unwilling to sign you may apply through the Building Professionals Board by completing an ‘Application to replace a principal certifying authority (PCA)’.

What is 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) and is payable online at https://online.longservice.nsw.gov.au/bci/levy . 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. For owner builders you may be entitled to a refund up to 50% after the levy is paid in full.  The LSL Exemption application form is on our resources page.

Building Approval Process

If you intend to do any building work including new builds, renovations, demolition, developing or change of use, then contact a BuildCert office and our experienced accredited certifiers we will guide you through each stage the building approval process.

How do I get Owner Builder Permit for Complying Development Applications?

An application for an Owner Builder Permit may only be submitted to the Office of Fair Trading once the 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 – 
http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tenants_and_home_owners/Home_building_and_renovating/Becoming_an_owner_builder.page