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Building Certifiers and the Building Certification Process

Building Certification involves engaging a Registered Certifier to review and approve building works to ensure they comply with the relevant standards and building codes. It is required for projects that meet the criteria for Complying Development and also for those that are approved by your local Council through the Development Approval and then require a Construction Certificate

Building Certification is carried out by a Registered Certifier, who is an accredited person appointed to oversee the building process from Approval through to Occupation.

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What is the difference between a Certifier and a Principal Certifier

These are different roles carried out by Registered Certifiers

A Certifier is engaged to issue a Complying Development Certificate or Construction Certificate, to ensure your Plans comply with relevant legislation, building codes and consent conditions. The Certifier then stamps plans and associated documentation for Approval. This role is also known at the Certifying Authority.

A Principal Certifier is required to be engaged to carry out mandatory inspections during construction to ensure compliance with approved plans and the National Construction Code (also known as the Building Code of Austraila) and issue an Occupation Certificate at completion of works.

In majority of cases, the same Registered Certifier is engaged for both roles to ensure a smooth transition from Planning Stage through to project completion.

What are the steps involved in Building Approval?

Your Approval pathway will determine the steps involved in gaining a Building Approval. In NSW there are two main pathways:

Pathway 1 – Complying Development Certificates (CDC)

If the project can meet the requirements of the relevant State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), a fast-tracked method of Approval is possible via Complying Development.

When you have Plans ready, a Registered Certifier can review these along with legal documentation related to your lot against the relevant State Enviromental Planning Policy’s (SEPP) to determine if a Complying Development Certificate may be issued.

Pathway 2 – Development Approvals (DA) & Construction Certificate (CC)

A Development Approval from the Local Council is required for proposed developments that do not meet Exempt or Complying Development criteria as the first step. Once Council has approved the Development Application, you are required to engage a Registered Certifier to issue a Construction Certificate before any construction works can begin. The Certifier will review your plans against the relevant Building Code of Australia requirements, as well as review your Development Consent from Council.

Principal Certifier (PC)

After either a Construction Certificate or Complying Development Certificate is issued, it is required to engage a Principal Certifier (PC) to carry out mandatory inspections during works. There may also be legislated “Prior to commencement items” to comply with before commencing, such as providing a copy of a Home Builders Compensation Fund Certificate or Owner Builder Permit. The Certifier issuing the CDC or CC will make you aware of these on the Approval documentation and can issue a formal ‘Notice of commencement’ once all items are provided to allow construction to begin.

Buildcert are Registered to issue CDC’s, CC’s and act as the Principal Certifier for all types of buildings

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What is involved in Building Certification during construction?

Inspections must be conducted during the construction stage in accordance with legislation to ensure compliance with Approved Plans, the Building Code of Australia and consent conditions. The number of building inspections will vary, depending on the project’s size, building classification, construction methodology and the building’s intended use.

A standard Dwelling will generally require the below inspections:

  • The building site, prior to issuing the Complying Development Certificate or Construction Certificate.
  • Footings, following excavation and before placement of concrete.
  • Steel reinforcement in slabs, prior to placement of concrete
  • Timber and/or steel framework, prior to insulation/internal linings.
  • Waterproofing in wet areas, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms, prior to tiling.
  • Stormwater connections, prior to backfilling.
  • At Completion of the works

Buildcert clients can easily book a next-day inspection online when they have reached a critical stage of building works. We have our Registered Certifiers inspect the works and provide an inspection report on compliance or actions needed to achieve compliance.

Occupation Certificates

At completion of works, the property owner must apply to the Principal Certifier for an Occupation Certificate. The Occupation Certificate marks the final stage of the certification process. It provides legal consent for the Occupation of the building and is issued by the PC when they are satisfied that the development meets applicable standards.

In issuing an Occupation Certificate the Principal Certifier will:

  • Perform a Completion Inspection, to ensure that the construction of the building is consistent with the building plans for which consent have been given,
  • Ensure that the building meets the requirements for its building classification, as set out in the Building Code of Australia, and
  • Request and review any compliance documentation required to demonstrate that the building complies. This may include documentation such surveys, engineering certificates, waterproofing certificates and glazing certificates.

Certification you can rely on with Buildcert

Where can I find a Principal Certifier?

Buildcert is an industry leading building approval and private certification provider.

Our team of professional building consultants and accredited private building certifiers have extensive local government experience and expert knowledge of the building industry’s legislative requirements. With offices throughout NSW, we are ideally placed to provide you with clear guidance and practical solutions.

For more information on how Buildcert can assist you with your building approval and certification, contact Buildcert on 1300 457 400 or via email at

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