Building Certification, Private Certifiers and Council

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Once consent is granted the building and construction phase begins involving amongst other things construction certificates, certification and appointing a Principal Certifier. Below is some information about the process and Council’s role.

What is a Construction Certificate? When do I obtain one?

Once development consent is granted, the applicant is required to apply for and obtain a Construction Certificate before works can commence. The certificate confirms that the construction plans and development specifications are consistent with the development consent, comply with the Building Code of Australia, and any other Council requirements.

A Construction Certificate can be obtained either from Council or a private Registered Certifier. A list of Registered Certifiers can be obtained from NSW Fair Trading.

What is a Principal Certifier and what does a Principal Certifier do?

The Principal Certifier (PC) carry out certification work and are registered by NSW Fair Trading. The PC is appointed prior to the commencement of any building work. The PC can either be Council or a private Registered Certifier.

What does a PC do:

  • Conduct critical stage inspections of the development
  • Ensure compliance with the development consent and the construction certificate or the complying development certificate
  • Investigate any non-compliances with the development
  • Ensure compliance with all conditions of consent
  • Ensure compliance with the Building Code of Australia
  • Ensure that all pre-conditions are met before the occupation certificate/ subdivision certificate is issued.

If there are concerns in relation to how a development is proceeding, you should firstly find out who the PC is (ie. is it Council or a private Registered Certifier) and contact that person.

The details of the Principal Certifier (PC) can usually be found on a sign at the front of the development site.

If you are still unsure who the PC is please contact Council’s Customer Service on 9879 9400.

Appointing a Principal Certifier and Notification of Council

Prior to the commencement of work the applicant must appoint a Principal Certifier (PC). This can be Council or a private Registered Certifier. Once a PC has been appointed, Council must be notified in writing of who has been appointed.

What is Council’s role?

Council’s role in building and construction work varies depending on whether or not Council has been appointed as the Principal Certifier (PC). If Council is appointed as the PC, Council is responsible for conducting all critical stage inspections and ensuring the development is carried out in accordance with the development consent.

If a private Registered Certifier is appointed as the PC, it is not Council’s responsibility to conduct inspections or ensure building and construction compliance. Council generally becomes the “keeper of public records”.

However, Council retains its regulatory role and enforcement powers and can still become involved and will take action if and when it is required. Council has wide discretion as to what, if any action to take if it finds the PC has not adequately met their inspection and compliance obligations.

What do I do if I have a complaint or concerns about building works or a development site?

Council understands that construction and development can sometimes cause concerns or inconvenience for those who live in close proximity to a building site.

The most common concerns about development can often be avoided through early and regular communication and co-operation. Discuss your concerns with the property owner and bring it to their attention. Sometimes they may be unaware that their activities are causing nuisance or are a breach of legislation.

If this is not an option or the issue can’t be resolved, any complaints in relation to the building works or a development site should be referred to the PC in the first instance. Any correspondence received by Council where Council is not the PC will be referred to the PC to investigate.

The PC is required to issue a Written Direction Notice to the person responsible for rectifying any non-compliance within 2 days of becoming aware of the non-compliance.

What do I do if I have a complaint or concerns about a private Registered Certifier?

Council do not register, investigate or discipline private Registered Certifiers. Any concerns regarding the conduct of a private Register Certifier should be lodged with NSW Fair Trading.

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Hunter’s Hill Council

22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
PO Box 21, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
Tel: (02) 9879 9400
ABN: 75 570 316 011