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What's Involved in Obtaining Approval to Build?

There are several different types of development.

Before you proceed with any development, whether it be building a new home, renovating your old home, subdividing land, or putting in a swimming pool, you need to know what development category the work you are about to undertake falls into. 

You also need to determine whether your development needs other types of approvals.

Regionally significant developments may also be determined by a Joint Regional Planning Panel.

This information will guide you on how to proceed with your development and whether or not the development requires approval from Council. 

Council and experienced consultants can help you in preparing your application.

Construction Certificates
What is an 'Accredited Certifier'?
Commencement of Building or Subdivision Works
What is a Principal Certifying Authority?
Occupation Certificate


Construction Certificates

Development requiring the submission of a development application will generally require you to also obtain a construction certificate prior to undertaking any building or subdivision works.

A construction certificate is a statement of intent that the proposed building or subdivision works are consistent with any development consent and relevant construction standards, such as the Building Code of Australia.

Application for a construction certificate can be made either to Council or to an accredited certifier.

The application must be accompanied by detailed plans and specifications and include sufficient information to demonstrate that the works when completed will comply with the relevant standards. Specific references to Australian Standards or relevant Building Code of Australia clauses within the specifications or on the plans instead of detailed plans will be sufficient to demonstrate compliance (reference to general compliance with Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia is not sufficient). 

An application for a construction certificate may be lodged with Council at the same time as submitting a development application, however the application will not be considered until development consent has been issued and any relevant conditions of consent have been resolved.   Construction certificate applications lodged concurrent with the development application may require modification in the event that the development assessment process requires changes to the development application.

Council or an accredited certifier may issue construction certificates.

What is an 'Accredited Certifier'?

Accredited certifiers are private consultants accredited by relevant accreditation bodies.  The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 permits appropriately qualified and accredited persons to undertake tasks relevant to their expertise including the issuing of construction certificates.  An accredited certifier must have appropriate professional indemnity insurance.

Commencement of Building or Subdivision Works

After obtaining development consent and before commencement of building or subdivision works an applicant must appoint a principal certifying authority (PCA).

What is a Principal Certifying Authority?

The Council or an accredited certifier may be appointed as the Principal Certifying Authority (PCA).  The PCA is responsible to ensure that the work is undertaken in accordance with the approved development consent, the plans and specifications approved under the construction certificate and relevant building regulations.  An accredited certifier, appointed as the PCA, has a similar role and responsibility as that of the Council.

Where an accredited certifier is appointed as the PCA you must advise Council, at least two days before the work commences, of the PCA's name and the date when development works are to commence.

Occupation Certificate

Upon completion of the development works and prior to occupation you must obtain an Occupation Certificate from the Principal Certifying Authority.