NSW – HENDRY building certifiers advise that some clients do not fully understand the various roles and responsibilities between certifying authority, consent authority, accredited certifiers and principal certifying authority with the Building Code of Australia, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EPAA) and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (EPAR).

The following is a brief explanation of EPAA and EPAR:

EPAA – Certifying Authority

The EPAA empowers two types of certifying authorities who are capable of issuing certificates such as construction certificates, complying development certificates, occupation certificates etc under Part 4A of the EPAA. These are:

  1. Consent authority; and
  2. Accredited certifier.

EPAA – Consent Authority

The term consent authority (in general) has been adopted in the EPAA and the EPAR in reference to NSW local councils and the Department of Planning (DOP). The Councils are responsible for the approval (or otherwise) of all development applications within their boundaries required to be submitted under the EPAA, with DOP acting as consent authority for all NSW ‘state significant’ development.

EPAA – Accredited Certifiers

Accredited certifiers are those individuals who have been accredited by the Building Professionals Board.  Local councils building surveyors are also accredited certifiers.  Accredited certifiers are able to issue the certificates under Part 4A of the EPAA, i.e. construction certificates, complying development certificates, etc.

EPAA – Principal Certifying Authority

Where a Development Consent has been obtained from a consent authority and a subsequent Construction Certificate has been issued by the consent authority or accredited certifier for a development involving building works, or a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) has been issued for building works, a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) must be appointed under EPAA for the development. The role of the PCA is to ensure that:

  • all works are carried out in accordance with an approved development consent or CDC;
  • all appropriate licences/ permits and insurances are held;
  • all required inspections have been undertaken;
  • an occupation certificate is issued on completion of works subject to the building being suitable for occupation in accordance with its description under the BCA.

A PCA can only be either the consent authority or an accredited certifier and the PCA cannot be appointed by the builder/ contractor.  The PCA can only be appointed by the applicant for the Development Consent or CDC, or the land owner under EPAA.

A PCA cannot be replaced by another PCA under the EPAA unless agreement is reached between all parties (both PCA’s and the Applicant).  If the agreement of all parties cannot be reached, only the Building Professionals Board upon receipt of an application, may approve replacement of the PCA it is satisfied that it is appropriate in the circumstances of the case.

NSW Building Legislation Table 

For an overview of the NSW Building Control System refer to our NSW Building Legislation Table.