NSW – Hendry informs that a final occupation certificate must have been issued by a principal certifying authority at the completion of building works for the building to have legal occupation under the Building Regulations. When performing a building audit, a final occupation certificate is a requisite document. The final occupation certificate, more commonly known as merely the occupation certificate, is a post-construction check on whether the building is suitable for occupation or use in accordance with its Building Code of Australia (BCA) classification.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 provides that the principal certifying authority issue a final occupation certificate to authorise commencement of occupation/use if satisfied that:

  • A development consent or complying development certificate is in force for the building;
  • A construction certificate has been issued (unless the building is the subject of a complying development certificate)
  • The building is suitable for occupation or use in accordance with its BCA classification
  • Any applicable requirements of the regulations i.e. Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 have been met (for example, the issue of a fire safety certificate is required for most classes of building)
  • Any preconditions to the issue of the certificate specified in the consent (or complying development certificate) have been met; an
  • All required inspections (including each applicable mandatory critical stage inspection) has been carried out.

It is to be noted that an interim occupation certificate can be issued before a final occupation certificate to allow commencement of the occupation or use of a new building (e.g. Occupation of a completed unit in a partly completed residential flat building). The issue of a final occupation certificate for a new building certifies that the principal certifying authority is satisfied the whole building is suitable for occupation or use in accordance with its BCA classification.