Inspections and certifications

Get a better understanding about the different types of certificates required for building works undertaken at your property. At the bottom of this page is a thorough list of certificates for quick reference.

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Construction Certificate

Once you have received your development consent, you then need a construction certificate, which must be obtained before starting work. This is, however, not required if the development is approved as Complying Development.

This certificate can be issued either by Council or an independent principal certifier (PC).

A construction certificate is an approval that:

  • Ensures the detailed construction plans and specifications comply with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and any relevant Australian Standards.
  • Certifies that the detailed construction plans and specifications are consistent with the development consent and comply with conditions that have been imposed.

A construction certificate application can be lodged at the same time as the development application if Council is your nominated PC. Should the Construction Certificate application be lodged at a later date, it will be necessary to include two copies of the architectural plans, building specifications and engineers details where required.

Download a Construction Certificate Application form.

Before work starts, the home owners warranty or an owner builder permit must be submitted.

When is a Construction Certificate required?

A construction certificate is required after development consent is issued and before any building work is carried out. Building work means any physical activity and includes site preparation, such as excavation and/or the removal of trees, and/or the erection of a building including alterations and additions.

A construction certificate is not required for complying development where building details are covered by a Complying Development Certificate (CDC).

When are you able to apply for a Construction Certificate?

A construction certificate can be applied for once detailed plans (i.e. for construction), specifications and/or engineering details have been prepared.

There are two options for lodging an application:

  • A construction certificate can be applied for at the same time as lodging a development application. This would be applicable for most development proposals where consideration of the development application is unlikely to require modification to the construction drawings and the level of detail of plans and specifications is sufficient to enable endorsement for construction.
  • An application can be lodged after development consent has been obtained. This option would be more suitable for complex proposals.

Who can issue a Construction Certificate?

Application can be made for a construction certificate to be issued by council’s independent business unit Central Coast Council Building Certification, or by an accredited certifier.

When will a Construction Certificate lapse?

A construction certificate lapses with the development application.

What else is required before work begins?

Before any building or subdivision works commence, a Principal Certifier (PC) must be appointed and council given at least two days’ notice of the intention to commence building work.

Home Owners Warranty Insurance (HOW)

Home Owner Warranty Insurance (HOW) is taken out by a licensed builder contracted to construct a residential structure to cover the owner of the property against structural damage within six years of the completion date of the building. This applies to works under both Construction Certificates and Complying Development Certificates.

HOW is only required if a licensed builder is doing the work and the value of the job is $20,000 plus (including labour and supplied materials). If the work is under $20,000, it is not applicable. HOW does not have to be provided when the Development Application and/or Construction Certificate are submitted, though it must be supplied before the work commences.

There are some exemptions for the requirements for Home Owner Warranty Insurance:

  • Under the Home Building Act 1989, licensed contractors are not responsible for insuring materials supplied by the owner of the property or by independent third parties. For example, if an owner buys a kit pool or above ground pool from a retailer then contracts a builder to install the pool, the contractor is required to insure only the labour and associated material they supply. If that component of the work is less than $12,000, no HOW is required.
  • Non-residential use - if a machinery shed is going to be used for residential purposes, e.g., the storage of a vehicle used for private use, it will require HOW or an O/B Permit. If the machinery shed is not for residential purposes, such as a farm shed, an Owner Builder Permit or Home Owner Warranty Insurance is not required.

Multiple Builder - if there are two licensed builders doing a job, each builder has to supply a HOW certificate for their part of the work, if labour and supplied materials are more than $20,000.

Refer to the Department of Fair Trading website for additional information.

Owner Builder Permits

Owner-builder work is any work, including supervision and co-ordination, involved in the construction of or alterations, repairs or additions to a dwelling, which includes houses, terraces, townhouses, garages, swimming pools and certain other structures and improvements.

An Owner Builder Permit is required if the owner is the builder and the value of the job is $10,000 or more. If the value of work exceeds $20,000, the owner builder course must be done before the permit is issued. This can be done in person at workshops/seminars, by correspondence, or online. See the Department of Fair Trading website for more information, including details of approved owner-builder courses and an application form.

An owner builder course can be undertaken at any time and is valid for two years, though the permit can only be obtained once plans have been lodged at Council. A permit cannot be issued for work that has already started and only one owner-builder can be issued within any five year period.

To get an owner-builder permit, you must apply at a Fair Trading Centre and show that:

  • You are over 18 years old
  • You own the land or have a prescribed interest in the land (certificate of title or rate notice)
  • You live or intend to live in the completed home or one dwelling of the dual occupancy as your principal residence.

You must also provide:

  • A description and address of the proposed work
  • A copy of the plans
  • Council Development Application number or Complying Development Certificate number
  • The Owner-Builder Permit application fee
  • Evidence that you have completed an approved owner-builder course, where the value of the proposed work is more than $20,000

The nearest offices are located at:

Suite 13a, Level 2, Gateway Centre, 237 Mann St, Gosford
Ph: (02) 4320 0600

5, 400 Hunter St, Newcastle
Ph: (02) 4925 7000

For general Fair Trading Enquiries call 133 220

Home Owner Warranty Insurance (HOW) and owner-builder

Each licensed contractor (builder, tradesperson or project manager) who contracts directly with an owner-builder to undertake residential building work must still provide Home Owner Warranty Insurance (HOW) when the total contract sum exceeds $20,000, including material supplied by the contractor.

If you are an owner-builder and decide to sell your home within six years after finishing it, you will need to take out HOW where the market value of the whole project, including labour and materials, was valued at more than $20,000.

For home warranty insurance purposes, owner-builder work is taken to have been completed on the date of the final inspection by the PCA, or if there is no final inspection six months after the issue of the owner-builder permit for the work. Refer to the Department of Fair Trading for further details.

Building works

Development consents and complying development certificates include conditions you will be required to comply with. Each consent is different, though conditions will generally be imposed that details any;

  • information required before the issue of a construction certificate
  • necessary site controls, such as tree protection, sediment controls and site fencing
  • specific requirements before the issue of an occupation certificate
  • ongoing requirements for the development

Inspection bookings

At certain stages of construction, mandatory building inspections are required to ensure building standards are being met and the development complies with the approval. The type and number of inspections are prescribed by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

Inspections are mandatory, and if they are not passed as satisfactory, an occupation certificate might not be able to be issued.

Inspections must be booked before 4.30pm, the day before the requested inspection date and can be arranged either by using this online building inspection booking form or by phoning Council’s Customer Contact on 4325 8222 or 4350 5555. 

Inspections are generally done between 9am and 4pm. If a specific time is required, this can be arranged with the responsible Building Surveyor the day before or on the morning of the inspection date requested.

Some of these inspections can be grouped together, limiting the amount of physical inspections required, but it is not possible to certify work retrospectively. For example, pier holes must be inspected before they are filled with concrete; or framework must be inspected before it is lined.

Examples of inspections include:

  • Start of building work inspection (before any excavation, clearing or demolition work)
  • After excavation for, and prior to the placement of any footings
  • Before pouring any in-situ reinforced concrete building element
  • Before covering of the framework for any floor, wall, roof or other building element
  • Plumbing and drainage inspections (before backfilling and internal lining of walls)
  • Before covering waterproofing in any wet areas
  • Before covering any stormwater drainage connections
  • Swimming pool safety barriers before the pool is filled with water
  • After the building work is completed and before any occupation certificate being issued in relation to the building.
  • Sewer Final – this is done by one of Council’s plumbing inspectors and is booked directly with them.

Occupation certificate

An occupation certificate authorises that the development has been finished in line with the development consent or a complying development certificate, and is suitable for occupation or use. It also certifies that the PC is satisfied the works comply with the required standards for the design and construction of the structure detailed within the Building Code of Australia.

A building cannot be legally occupied without an occupation certificate. To receive an occupation certificate, a final inspection must be booked.

There are two types of occupation certificates:

  • An interim occupation certificate allows commencement of either the occupation or use of a partially completed building, or the new use of part of an existing building resulting from a change of use of the building. An interim occupation certificate can only be issued if the building is safe and healthy to occupy. Generally, a timeframe is imposed to finish the development.
  • A final occupation certificate allows commencement of either the occupation or use of a new building (including alternations/additions) or the new use of an existing building resulting from a change of use.

It is rare that an interim certificate is issued, but if one has been, a final occupation certificate is still required when all building work or the change of use is complete. A final occupation certificate revokes any occupation certificates issued earlier.

Other than single dwellings, dual occupancies and related development, a fire safety certificate is required with an application for an occupation certificate.

The fire certificate can be an interim or final certificate and may be issued for the whole or any part of the building.

An occupation certificate can only be issued by the nominated PC.

Download an application for occupation certificate form.

Compliance Certificates

Compliance certificates are formal, legally guaranteed documents, generally issued after an inspection on components of a development.

Compliance certificates are not automatically required for all developments but may be required to be issued by a development consent condition. Applicants may also apply for them to demonstrate that their design complies with specified standards or conditions of consent.

There are four types of compliance certificates that certify:

  • The work has been finished and complies with the plans and specifications (following an inspection).
  • A condition of consent for the development has been complied with.
  • A development has a particular classification under the Building Code of Australia.
  • A particular aspect of the development complies with the regulations.

For additional information, please discuss this with the Building Surveyor that is assessing your application.

Missed Mandatory Inspection

Use this form to apply for a Missed Mandatory Inspection (Clause 162C of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000) where a progress inspection has been unavoidably missed prior to further works being undertaken and/or prior to an Occupation Certificate being issued.

This form must be completed by the ​principal ​contractor or owner of the property, and the following items must be included as part of your application:

  • Description of circumstances as to why the inspection was missed.
  • Documentary evidence to support the acceptance of the missed inspection stage

Please ensure you complete all information in this form, as incorrect or incomplete information may lead to delays in processing your application.

Privately Certified Certificate Registration

Private Certifiers can use this form to lodge certificates they have issued in respect to:

  • Complying Development Certificates
  • Construction Certificates
  • Occupation Certificates; and
  • Subdivision Certificates.

The lodgement fee (set by legislation) can be paid for using a Visa or MasterCard.

To save time and paper, the certificates and associated documents can be attached using the certificate registration online form, eliminating the need to provide hard copies to Council.

Note: only one lodgement can be made at a time.

Building Information Certificate Information

What is a Building Information Certificate?

A Building Information Certificate is a document issued by Council under Division 6.7 (insert link to Division 6.7 in EPAA) of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 (EP&AA) relating to an existing building (whole or part). It is usually requested by buyers or sellers of property before settlement to make sure that what is being bought or sold is not going to be the subject of action by Council.

Unauthorised Work

Often a Building Information Certificate is requested when work is undertaken without the appropriate approvals being issued by Council or a Private Certifier such as a Development Consent, Complying Development Certificate, Construction Certificate or other relevant approval.

A building information certificate operates to prevent the council:

  1. from making an order (or taking proceedings for the making of an order or injunction) under EP&AA or the Local Government Act 1993 requiring the building to be repaired, demolished, altered, added to or rebuilt; and
  2. from taking civil proceedings in relation to any encroachment by the building onto land vested in or under the control of the council;

in relation to matters existing or occurring before the date of issue of the certificate.

Application Process

The Application for building information certificate form may be lodged by:

  • any person with the property owner's consent
  • the owner's solicitor or agent
  • a purchaser who has entered into a contract to purchase the property
  • a purchaser's solicitor or agent
  • any public authority that has notified the owner of its intention to apply for the certificate.

You are required to include the details for access arrangements to assist us to carry out an inspection of the premises or property.

Once received, Council will inspect the building and review relevant Council records and documents forming part of the application.

Should additional information be required to enable Council to issue the building information certificate, we will contact you.

An additional assessment fee may be payable if Council needs to carry out more than one inspection; if works are unauthorised; or if the floor area of the overall building is greater than that stated in the application.

Council’s current timeframe for assessment of building information certificates lodged with all required information is approximately ten working days. This timeframe does not apply to applications where illegal or unauthorised works are involved.

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Last updated : Fri 3 Aug 2018