The Easy Six Step Process to Achieving a Construction or Occupation Certificate
1. Obtaining a DA
Lodging a Development Application with your Local Council.
Prior to undertaking building or development work, council approval is to be obtained. This is achieved by applying for a development consent or an complying development application. Development consent is obtained once council is satisfied that the proposal satisfies council policies and it does not infringe significantly on the amenity of the immediate area. The DA can not be issued by a Private Certifier, contact your local Council for further information.
2. Written Development Consent
A successful DA will receive a written Development Consent which outlines the conditions which need to be Complied with in order to have the development constructed in a manner which is safe to inhabitants (compliance to the Building Regulations); and does not infringe on the rights of those living or working in the region of the development, compliance to the Conditions of Consent. This will be in the form of a several page document which provides a DA number, the date consent of the DA was given and the expiry date (most Development Consents will last approximately 2-5 years), and the Conditions which are unique to your particular area and development.
3. Getting a Construction Certificate
Now that you have your Development Consent it is time to apply for a Construction Certificate. A Construction Certificate is an approval certifying that the Development Consent complies with the Building Code of Australia, The Australian Standards and relevant Conditions of Consent (outlined on your DC). This is where you decide to use local Council to issue your Construction Certificate or use an Accredited Private Certifier. If you decide to use Illawarra Building Certifiers Pty Ltd from this point forward click here to request a quote or to download a copy of the application form.
When lodging your application form you will need to supply various documents as outlined on the CC Checklist. Usually clients will initially send in an application form and copies of their plans and Development Consent for perusal. On receiving these items, your details will be logged onto our system, a file number will be allocated and a report will be forwarded outlining any additional information you need to supply to receive your Construction Certificate. Once all of the information has been submitted to your certifier, and he/she is content that the information supplied satisfies all of the Conditions of Consent, then a certificate will be forwarded within a few days. Usually the wait time for a Construction Certificate is reliant upon how quickly the applicant can supply the necessary information.
4. Commence Building
Congratulations! You have submitted all the required information and satisfied all of the Conditions of Consent required to start building your development. You will receive a copy of the Certificate, a copy of your plans stamped by the Certifier and all relevant documentation. A second copy of the Certificate and stamped documents will be forwarded to your local council at least two days prior to the commencement of building work (as required by law). You are now free to pull out the tools and start building!
5. Arrange Site Inspections
Usually you will receive a letter with your Certificate outlining what inspections will be required during the course of the construction. You will need to call our office (or email) to book an certifier for each mandatory critical stage inspection.
6. Receiving an Occupation Certificate
Once all inspections are completed including the final inspection, and we have received all necessary documents for example;- smoke detector certification; termite protection certification; Fire Safety Schedule; and your development has been constructed in accordance with the Council’s Conditions of Consent and the Building Code of Australia; you will be eligible to receive an Occupation Certificate. The Occupation Certificate allows the development to be used for the manner it was designed for. It also enables the building to be sold to another party.
It is against the law to start construction without a valid Construction Certificate. If any private certifier finds construction has proceeded without the necessary documents, or inspections have not been arranged for each mandatory critical stage of the development, the applicant will be referred to their local council to apply for a building certificate. The Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) is bound by law to issue the applicant with ‘An Notice of Intention to Issue an Order”. This advises the applicant to remedy the works completed outside of their consent or to obtain approval from council for the deviation of works from consent. Usually this notice allows the applicant 21 days to fulfil the requirements.
If the PCA is not satisfied the applicant has remedied the situation within the nominated time frame, then the PCA does not have any choice other than to advise the local council to issue an Order. In most cases the applicant will be fined. If any PCA does not regulate the construction of a project adequately, then they are at risk of being fined by their Accreditation Body, losing their accreditation (and in most cases if they can not operate, then they can not continue their business) and in the worst case scenario they can be gaoled. Therefore, if the applicant does not follow the recommended order of inspections or ‘jumps ahead’ with inspections, they will be unlikely to find any certifier in NSW who will take the situation lightly.