Building certificates

How building certificates work in Randwick

A building certificate is issued under section 149D of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.

Why people apply for building certificates

A building certificate is usually sought by buyers or sellers of a property to make sure that the particular building (or part of a building) is not going to be the subject of regulatory action by the Council. It is also commonly applied for when work is undertaken without the appropriate approvals being issued by the council or accredited certifier.

By issuing a building certificate, Council confirms that it does not propose to issue an order, or commence proceedings for an order or injunction for, the subject building to be demolished, altered, added to or rebuilt. It also confirms Council will not commence proceedings in relation to any encroachment by the subject building onto Council land.

A building certificate may apply to the whole or part of a building, and is valid for seven years.

Limits of a building certificate

A building certificate does not prevent Council from issuing other types of notices and orders. For example, Council may still issue notices and orders in relation to fire safety, swimming pool safety and other public health and safety matters.

A building certificate does not certify that the barriers and fencing to swimming pools or spa pools complies with the Swimming Pools Act 1992. A separate application called a Request for Inspection and Certificate of Compliance for a Swimming Pool PDF, 56.93 KB can be made with Council or an Accredited Certifier to obtain a Certificate of Compliance for a Swimming Pool.

In order to determine an application for a building certificate, Council will inspect the building and review relevant Council records and documents forming part of the application.

How to apply for a building certificate

Applications for a building certificate can be made on Council's Building Certificate Application Form PDF, 48.22 KB or through Council's Online Services. An application must be accompanied by the relevant fees and supporting documents, including a certified copy of a survey certificate of the building.

Council may require additional details to make a full and proper evaluation of the application. These may include plans/specifications of the building, a registered survey, fire safety details, structural engineers certification of the building, details of compliance with the Building Code of Australia and any occupation certificates issued in relation to any building works.

Works you may have to carry out

Council may also require specified works to be undertaken before a building certificate is issued. For example:

  • installation of smoke detector alarms in accordance with the requirements of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 and the Building Code of Australia
  • repair or renewal of defective guttering and downpipes
  • repair or renewal of other noticeable building defects
  • other necessary building or fire safety works

Unauthorised building work

A building certificate may relate to building work that has been done without obtaining the required development consent and/or construction certificate or other relevant approval. Written details and certification (from a professional engineer and/or an accredited certifier - building surveyor) of any unauthorised or non-complying building work must be provided in order to determine the application.

Applying for a building certificate for unauthorised work does not guarantee approval and may result in Council issuing a Notice/Order for the demolition of the unauthorised building or portion. Should a Notice/Order be served or the Building Certificate refused, rights exist for the recipient/applicant to appeal the Order/decision to the Land and Environment Court.

The issue of a building certificate for any unauthorised works does not affect Councils ability to issue fines or penalties for carrying out the work without obtaining the required development consent and/or construction certificate, which is a breach of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.

Fees

A building certificate must be accompanied by the appropriate prescribed fee. This fee is prescribed by the legislation and is listed in Councils fees and charges.

If it is necessary to carry out more than one inspection, or if the floor area of the overall building is greater than that stated in the application, or if the building certificate relates to any unauthorised building works, an additional assessment fee may be required.

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