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Exempt and Complying

A Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) issues Construction Certificates for projects that have been approved by Council and comply with state government legislation for a development or subdivision.

Before a certificate can be issued, a BASIX certificate must be obtained from the Department of Planning for residential construction over $50,000 and where swimming pools are over 40,000L in size to ensure energy and water conservation. Other fees may also apply to the PCA in order for a Construction Certificate to be issued.

Additional information on Exempt and Complying Development

Complying Development Certificate

In order for a Complying Development Certificate to be issued, a PCA requires the same information as for a Construction Certificate. The PCA can then issue certificates for developments that comply with the State Government Complying Development guidelines or Council’s adopted Development Control Plan.

CSI Certificates (Part 4A Certificates)

Critical Stage Inspections require certification by a PCA. The PCA may also require additional inspections from specialists including structural engineers, wet area specialists, glaziers, truss frame manufacturers and plumbers to enable occupation and final completion of the project.

The PCA is required to sign off the BASIX certificate to ensure requirements have been met and advise the state government accordingly.

Occupation Certificates are mandatory for all structures including outbuildings, however are not required for building developments that are exempt.

Building Certificate

A Building Certificate requires a registered land surveyor to survey the building in relation to the property boundaries and title details.

Council is unable to process a building certificate application until lodged with a survey unless the property is located on a large rural holding well clear of boundaries. A survey certificate may still be required where buildings are located near property boundaries on rural holdings. In the case of multiple lots on rural land, a surveyor may be required to identify the correct lot.

Fees for these certificates are usually fixed annually by Council but in some cases are statutory fixed by the state government.

Builders Work

The Department of Fair Trading stipulates that residential work in excess of $5,000 be conducted by a licensed builder or an Owner / Builder Permit must be obtained.

Where the building work exceeds $20,000 in value, the licensed builder is obliged to provide Home Owners Warranty Insurance Protection and is required to lodge a receipt with the PCA.

Application for a Variation of a Decision

There are a number of options available for people to make applications to vary a decision relating to some applications and certificates. Council Officers can provide information on the options available.

Amending a Consent

Amending or ‘Modifying’ a consent allows the applicant to change certain details or design elements on a development consent. Fees are payable for amending a consent.

Changes to a Construction Certificate or Complying Development Certificate

To change a construction certificate the PCA is required to lodge details with the Council. If the modification is significant, the development consent may need to be modified as part of that change.

A Review

A review of a development consent or a complying development certificate may be requested by the applicant and a post notified neighbour. Depending on the situation, the review may be carried out by Council, a Planning Arbitrator, the Planning Assessment Commission or a Joint Regional Planning Panel.

A request for a review of a complying development certificate must be lodged within 28 days and the applicant may lodge an appeal within a period ranging from 3 months to 12 months, depending on the type of development.

An appeal to the Land & Environment Court must follow the Court rules which can be ascertained from the local Clerk of Petty Sessions or a Solicitor.


An objection can be lodged to a Council decision or “development standard” which has been applied.

The objection may be decided by the Council, Planning Arbitrator or the Joint Planning Review Panel and requires endorsement of the variation from the Department of Planning.

Fire Safety Certificate

A development consent may specify fire safety standards to be ‘Essential Services’ requiring installation by a licensed or certified person to meet the standards of the Building Code of Australia and the Australian Standards. This certificate must be provided to the PCA by an appropriate person experienced in the standards and installation work. This certificate is usually supplied at the completion of the project.

Annual Fire Safety Certificate

Essential Services require annual certification by an appropriately qualified person and submitted to the Council or the NSW Fire Services.

Single residential dwellings or outbuildings usually do not require annual certificates, however certification is required in high risk fire hazard areas or where a severe loss of life is possible as in a nursing home, hostel or boarding house.