Building certification

NSW planning portal

The new destination for lodging and tracking a range of applications with Port Stephens Council including construction certificates, occupation certificates and complying development certificates.

Construction certificates

Once you have received development consent for your building work, you will need to obtain a Construction Certificate (CC). If you are ready to build at the stage of lodging a Development Application (DA), you are advised to lodge all of the Construction Plans and your CC Application simultaneously with the DA in order to streamline the overall process.

In most cases, this will enable Council to issue the notice of the development consent and the CC simultaneously. In some instances, such as more detailed commercial works or industrial development, you may choose to lodge your CC after receiving your development consent.

What is a construction certificate?

A Construction Certificate (CC) is required before the commencement of building work subject to development consent. A CC certifies that:

  1. The detailed construction plans and specifications will comply with the National Construction Code (formerly Building Code of Australia) including relevant associated structural standards and codes;
  2. The detailed construction plans and specifications are 'not inconsistent' with the development consent; and
  3. Development consents conditions may outline any specific information required for a CC or to be addressed prior to the issuing of a CC.

A construction certificate may be issued by Council or a private PCA.

  • Detailed building plans and building specifications,
  • Structural engineering plans, or other technical details, such as concrete slab and footing details, mechanical ventilation details, stormwater drainage details, timber/metal framing and fire safety details
  • Full details sufficient to verify compliance with the Building Code of Australia
  • Details of compliance with the relevant BASIX and Building Code of Australia energy efficiency and water saving requirements
  • Details of compliance with the Home Building Act 1989 insurance provisions for residential building work (i.e. certificate of insurance)
  • Details of the licensed builder or owner builder (if known at lodgement stage)
  • Specific details which are required to be submitted in accordance with the conditions of development consent, particularly the pre-conditions to the issue of a Construction certificate
  • Details about the payment of the Building Construction Industry Long Service Leave Levy for building work as required
  • Payment of any security deposits or monetary contributions required by the development consent

Occupation certificates

An Occupation Certificate (OC) authorises the occupation and use of a new building or a change in use of an existing building. Such buildings or nominated part of the building must be suitable and safe to be occupied, in accordance with the relevant requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC).

An OC can be obtained from Council as the appointed PCA before a new building or part of a building (e.g. additions to a building) can be occupied and before commencing any change in a building's use.

Before issuing a certificate, the key considerations are structural adequacy, fire safety as well as the health, safety and amenity of future occupants of the building. Council as the PCA will also help the developer ensure that relevant development consent conditions and requirements have been complied with.

An OC is a legislative requirement and is required for all types of construction. A Council issued OC is often seen as an advantage to the purchaser when buying property with buildings on site.

If you have any enquiries relating to an OC or when they're required please contact Councils Certifiers on 02 4988 0115.

Principal Certifying Authority

When undertaking Building and/or subdivision works you will require a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA), to inspect the work during the course of construction to ensure it meets with regulatory requirements.

Council's accredited Building Surveyors provide the specific roles and responsibilities of the PCA as set down in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for building work.

They can issue the OC and/or Subdivision Certificate at the end of the work. In relation to building work, Council's accredited Building Surveyors working as the PCA on your job must complete the mandatory critical stage inspections and assess whether the building complies with relevant approvals. We'll also make sure it's suitable for occupation or use in accordance with its building classification under the National Construction Code before issuing an OC. In other words, the works comply with required building standards and is safe to occupy.

It is in the owner's interest to obtain the appropriate CC and OC prior to occupation of the building. It is often problematic for real estate sales if the appropriate occupation certificates, development consents and construction certificates for the particular buildings have not been properly obtained. Council is the best provider of these services and statutory certificates with a vested interest in your project and the wider community.

Council needs to be appointed as the PCA before building or subdivision work starts.

Principal Certifier

If you would like to appoint Port Stephens Council as your Principal Certifier complete this online form.

At Port Stephens Council only our individually accredited and professionally qualified Building Surveyors will undertake Councils' functions as a PCA for a development involving building work. The individual accreditation is issued by the NSW Fair Trading.

Only the person with the benefit of the development consent (usually the owner of the land) can appoint a Council as the PCA. Who can appoint a PCA? Section 6.5 EP&A Act 1979

The person with the benefit of the development consent must appoint the PCA. This is usually the owner of the land or someone authorised to act on their behalf and is normally done at the same time when lodging a development application and/or construction certificate with Council.

For most routine building work DA, CC and PCA appointment are done simultaneously enabling the efficient assessments of the respective applications by Council's staff. For such application the DA and CC will ordinarily be lodged, determined and issued together.

The PCA must be appointed in writing via Council's application form to undertake the mandatory critical stage inspections and issue the Occupation Certificate.

To appoint Port Stephens Council as your PCA, fill out the PCA Form and upload to the NSW Planning Portal along with your application for a construction certificate, occupation certificate or complying development certificate.

Building inspections

We will issue a construction or complying development certificate, which will state when to book the relevant critical stage building inspections. We will supply the applicant with copies of each inspection report during the progress of the building works.

These inspections are mandatory in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

While we care about the quality of work, these inspections are not comprehensive quality control inspections — we are looking at specific structural and safety considerations outlined in the National Construction Code NCC.

Book a building inspection

Interested in getting a building inspection completed? We offer a building inspection service through Council.

To book an inspection, please use our book a building inspection online form or contact Council's Customer Service Centre on 02 4988 0255 with the following information:

  • Date of inspection - you must call before 3:30pm the day before you require an inspection. To keep your project flowing we work with you to determine the best time of day to undertake the inspection. We've found that footings, small concrete slabs and stormwater inspections work best as morning inspections (for concrete pouring or backfilling of trenches taking place in the afternoon and most other inspections can be completed at any time. Whatever you preference we will work with you to keep you job on the move.
  • Type of inspection (see below)
  • Name and contact phone number
  • Address of property to be inspected
  • Development Application number.

To help us do what we need to do:

  • Work must be ready at the time of the inspection; otherwise Council may charge a re-inspection fee. This doesn’t mean that every aspect of the work to be inspected requires 100% completion just that the critical areas of the inspected works are there for us to see.
  • Please tie up dangerous or aggressive Dogs.
  • Explain any specific access requirements if the site is unattended.

A written inspection report will be left on site outlining the result of the inspection. If the inspection has failed, it will contain details of the required rectification work. You will be required to have the works re-inspected or provide any required documentation before you proceed with construction.

There are a number of mandatory inspections that must be carried out by Council's officers as your PCA. If these inspections are not completed, we may not be able to issue an Occupation Certificate. This can cause delays in the lawful occupation and sale of the building at a later stage. An Occupation Certificate is required to be issued to use a structure for its proposed use and it can be an offence to occupy a building without an Occupation Certificate.

Council as your PCA may also request additional inspections (these would usually be relating to a unique style of structure or a staged construction intention; these are usually nominated in your PCA agreement and on the Construction certificate documentation. The mandatory inspections required by the legislation are listed below and are dependent on the type of building you are constructing. Further information on critical stage inspection can be found under Clause 162A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

Examples include dwellings, alterations and additions, garages, carports, swimming pools, etc. The mandatory inspections are:

  • Footing
  • Slab and other Steel Reinforcement
  • Frame (including floor)
  • Wet Area Waterproofing
  • Stormwater
  • Swimming pool fencing prior to filling a swimming pool with water
  • Final/Completion.

Examples include multi-unit developments, and residential components of commercial or industrial buildings. The mandatory inspections are:

  • First Footing Inspection
  • Wet Area Waterproofing
  • Stormwater
  • Final/Completion.

Examples include offices, shops, factories and commercial buildings. The mandatory inspections are:

  • First Footing Inspection
  • Stormwater
  • Final/Completion

When all building works have been completed, you will need to book a final inspection. Once the final inspection has been completed and passed, an Occupation Certificate will be issued.

The Occupation Certificate authorises the occupation of the building and may be requested when you are selling your property or by valuers and financial institutions. Council may also issue an Interim Occupation Certificate if you need to occupy the building prior to completing all the approved works. The issue of an Interim Occupation Certificate needs to be discussed with the Council accredited Building Surveyor managing your job who may be contacted by email or on 4988 0115.