Mandatory certification and inspection is required in NSW for most building. When developing or
building , the property owner gets to choose whether to use a Private Certifier or
This would include the assessment of detailed plans for:
• an extension of a
• a new house,
• a new garage,
• assessment of house plans that have
been approved by a local council and are ready for the issue of
a construction certificate (CC),
• assessment of house plans for a complying
development certificate (CDC),
• critical stage inspections during
• an Occupation Certificate (OC).
Development certificates are approvals issued at certain stages of development. They confirm that a certifying
authority (a Private Certifier with appropriate accreditation level) has assessed the proposed and/or completed
development and is satisfied that it meets planning controls and national building standards.
As mentioned above, types of development certificates include: complying development certificates,
construction certificates, compliance certificates, and occupation certificates.
Not all accredited certifiers can issue all of the above certificates or conduct mandatory inspections. Their
authority to issue these certificates depends upon their level of accreditation (i.e. A3, A2 or A1).
A Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) is needed for any development that requires a construction certificate or a
complying development certificate.
Any accredited certifier, whether or not the PCA, can issue a construction certificate or complying development
certificate. Only a PCA can issue an occupation certificate, but most people apply to their PCA for all required
Only the person 'with the benefit of development consent' (basically the landowner) can choose a PCA and sign a
written contract with them before any work starts. The only exception is if the applicant is a company and a
corporate seal may be used.
A Private certifier or accredited certifier or PCA, has legal obligations and a duty of care in relation to their
advice and actions. They are subject to a code of conduct, anti-corruption standards, random auditing by the
Building Professionals Board and must hold professional indemnity insurance to practice.
Private certifier’s must also avoid conflicts of interest, which may include:
Being the development applicant or related to them,
Being involved in, or related to someone involved in the design or construction,
Having a pecuniary interest in the development.
A given client has obligations as well that depend on the type of development, relevant planning controls, and
whether you're an owner builder. A client should communicate with their Private certifier before work starts, and
ask for all necessary forms, so you know what you need to do at each stage of development.
For example, if you're building a house:
Choose a PCA before getting started.
If you're an owner builder, tell your PCA and get an owner builders permit, if you're not an owner builder, choose
a principal contractor and give their details to your PCA; and advise your principal contractor of each stage where
an inspection is needed (as advised by the PCA)
Before work starts: If in fact your Development Application was determined
with a written Consent by a Council you obtain a construction certificate from
the Private certifier, or a complying development certificate (all other cases).
Notify council: give your Private Certifying Authority and local council) written notice at least two days before