Building & Certification

1. Construction Certificates

A Construction Certificate is defined under Section 6.4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 as a certificate to the effect that work completed in accordance with specified plans and specifications or standards will comply with the requirements of the regulations.

Who can issue a Construction Certificate?

A Construction Certificate can be issued by a Certifying Authority. A certifying authority can be a Council or the Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning.

When is a Construction Certificate required?

A Construction Certificate is required after development consent and before any works are carried out. It is usually required for engineering works, building work, construction works, and subdivision works. Building work means any physical activity involved in the erection of a building, including alterations and additions. A construction certificate is not required for complying development, where building details are covered by the complying development certificate.

Should I employ a consultant to help me prepare a Construction Certificate?

Building and engineering design is specialised and complex. Council can provide guidance and advice on your proposal however detailed site investigations, research and complex technical advice is beyond the services provided by Council. If detailed site investigations, research and complex technical advice is required, you may need to consider employing a consultant who can assist in preparing your application. Please note that Council cannot recommend consultants.

Lodging an application for a construction certificate

Applications may be lodged in person, by mail or be emailed to council@goulburn.nsw.gov.au. Council recommends that you contact a technical officer regarding the application before lodging, as Council cannot accept an application that is not complete in all respects. 

Fees

The fees for construction certificates are regulated by the NSW Government and vary depending on the type and cost of the development, please refer to Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges or call Council for a fee estimate.

2. Complying Development

Complying development refers to specific types of development that can be approved by an Accredited Certifier or Council, provided that the development complies with the complying development codes set out in the applicable State Environmental Planning Policy. The most commonly used complying development code controls are contained within the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt & Complying Development Codes) 2008.

The intention of complying development is to minimise the amount of time and administration required to approve developments that would otherwise need to be approved through the development assessment process. Complying development does not require development consent from Council and does not need to adhere to any of Council’s ordinary planning controls unless otherwise specified in the applicable complying development code.

A complying development certificate can be issued by an Accredited Certifier or Council promptly upon submission of the required plans, specifications and information.

Complying development is approved with the issue of a Complying Development Certificate. A Complying Development Certificate must be obtained before commencing any demolition, excavation or building work or other development.

If the proposed development does not meet all of the criteria, a development application must be obtained from Council and a construction certificate must also be obtained from an Accredited Certifier or Council before commencing any work or development.

In some cases, residents of adjoining or nearby properties are required to be notified of proposed complying development to dwellings, to encourage consultation between neighbours and resolution of any concerns that may be raised. However, the provisions do not require the owner or Certifier to consider or address any submissions or, to modify the proposal if the relevant requirements are met.

Complying developments can include:

  • internal or external alterations and/or additions to dwelling houses
  • carports, garages and car spaces
  • shade structures, conservatories, awnings and pergolas
  • new dwelling houses
  • fences and retaining walls
  • swimming pools and spas
  • internal alterations to commercial and industrial buildings
  • shop or office fit-outs, shop-fronts and awnings
  • certain types of land and strata subdivision
  • changes of certain commercial and industrial uses
  • demolition of certain buildings
  • temporary structures and marquees
  • fire safety upgrading work

Complying development policies

The detailed provisions for complying development are contained in a State Planning Policy

Other Approvals that may be required With Complying Development include:

  • Section 68 Approval under the Local Government Act for Water, Sewer, Stormwater, Trade Waste, Effluent Disposal
  • Section 138 Approval under the Roads Act

3. Building Information Certificates

What is a building information certificate

A building information certificate is issued under Division 6.7 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.

The certificate can apply to the whole or part of a building and is valid for seven (7) years. It is usually sought by buyers or sellers of a property to make sure that a particular building and its land can remain as they are for that period of time - without regulatory action being taken by Council. A building information certificate does not prevent Council from issuing notices and orders in relation to unauthorised works or fire safety matters.

A building information certificate also does not certify that the building complies with all legal and safety requirements relating to swimming pool barriers and fencing, fire safety and other public health and safety matters.

Applying for a building information certificate

The application for a building information certificate form may be lodged by:

  • any person with the property owner's consent
  • the owner's solicitor or agent
  • a purchaser who has entered into a contract to purchase the property
  • a purchaser's solicitor or agent
  • any public authority that has notified the owner of its intention to apply for the certificate.

You are required to include the details for access arrangements to assist us to carry out an inspection of the premises or property.

Minor residential development building information certificate

Dwellings and multi dwelling housing are considered to be minor residential development for the purposes of issuing a building information certificate. For this type of development, a current survey needs to be submitted with the application form. The survey must be a true representation of all structures on the land at the time of application.

For this type of development, a current survey needs to be submitted with the application form. The survey needs to be a true representation of all structures on the land at the time of the submission of the building information certificate.

Residential flat buildings, commercial or industrial development building information certificate

A current floor plan of the subject premises which includes the floor area of the building and site locality plan is required to be submitted with the application form, together with a Survey Report.

Building information certificate fees

Applications must be accompanied by the legislated building information certificate fee.

Council assessment

In order to determine an application for a building information certificate, Council will inspect the building and review relevant Council records and documentation submitted as part of the application.

Further information may be requested to enable Council to issue the building information certificate.

Council’s current timeframe for assessment of building information certificates lodged with all required information is approximately ten working days. This timeframe does not apply to applications where illegal or unauthorised works are involved.

  

4. Exempt Development

Exempt development refers to development that exempt from all forms of approval. Development can be considered to be exempt under the Goulburn Mulwaree Local Environmental Plan 2009 or a State Environmental Planning Policy. Most exempt development is specified under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

Many types of home renovations and minor building projects don't need approval from a Council or Accredited Certifier. This is called exempt development. As long as the building project meets specific standards and land requirements no planning or building approval is needed.

Before you plan any renovations or building work, it's a good idea to check with your local Council which planning controls apply to your property.

Some properties and areas may have different or additional rules that apply to exempt development, including those:

  • In conservation areas
  • Listed as a heritage building
  • Listed on the State Heritage Register
  • In or near a site containing contaminated land
  • In or near a bush fire prone area
  • Where road widening is planned
  • In an area affected by flood

The overarching frameworks that guide future development in these areas mean properties may have different or additional planning rules to other areas of the State.

A Section 10.7 Planning Certificate is a legal document, issued by local Councils, that details the zoning and applicable rules for development of your property. It also identifies whether or not complying development can be carried out on the property.

5. Demolition

If the construction or installation of a building or work required development consent then generally the demolition of the building or work can only be carried out with development consent.

Some developments may be exempt from demolition. Developments that were constructed or installed in accordance with the exempt provisions of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 do not require development consent prior to demolition.

All demolition must be carried out in accordance with AS 2601 The Demolition of Structures.

6. Plumbing & Drainage

The NSW Department of Fair Trading licenses plumbers and drainers under the Home Building Act 1989. All plumbing and drainage work must be completed by a person who holds a licence, qualified supervisor certificate or tradesperson certificate. Inspections are also undertaken to ensure that NSW plumbing and drainage works comply with the relevant technical standards and regulations.

To be able to carry out plumbing and drainage work you must first seek approval for this from Council (the Water and Sewer Authority) under Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993. This approval can be incorporated as part of a Development Application by nominating and ticking the relevant box within the Development Application form or as a separate Section 68 application. .

All rural buildings that require waste water management need a Geotechnical Engineers Report which is to accompany a development application and the Local Government Section 68 application.

Links

7. Inspections

If you are undertaking development there will be stages that require mandatory inspections by Council or an Accredited Certifier.

Your development will be inspected by your Certifying Authority at critical stages to ensure compliance with approved plans. These stages (as applicable to your development) are as follows:

  • Post excavation/Pre-footings
  • Slab
  • Stormwater
  • Framework
  • Waterproofing
  • Final
  • Bounding construction (generally large development)
  • Fire protection (generally large development)

If your development includes plumbing and drainage works Council inspections are required at the following stages (as applicable to your development):

  • Plumbing and Sanity Drainage before backfilling.
  • Pressure testing or waterpipes within the building prior to fixing of linings.
  • Final inspection of water plumbing and sewer drainage prior to use or occupation.

For any inspection, other than a final inspection, it is a general rule of thumb not to conceal the works prior to the inspection being carried out (eg. don’t gyprock or insulate your framing prior to the inspection).

Inspections must be booked in at least 48 hours in advance and can be made calling our Customer Service Team on 4823 4444.

To book an inspection you will be asked for basic information including your contact details, the approval number and address for the development and the type of inspection you would like. Please ensure you have this information prior to booking.

8. Fire Safety 

Overview

Fire safety is the responsibility of all property owners, property managers, tenants, and business operators who own, occupy or manage various types of residential, commercial, retail and industrial premises.

It is the responsibility of the building owner to ensure that:

  • At least one working smoke alarm is installed on each level in all buildings in NSW where people sleep; and
  • All essential fire safety measures are inspected by an Accredited Practitioner (fire safety) (visit the NSW Planning and Environment website for guidelines) to ensure they are maintained and operating to the appropriate standard of performance; and
  • Annual Fire Safety Statements (AFSS) are provided to Council and Fire and Rescue NSW and prominently displayed inside the building; and
  • All exit doors are kept in good working condition, and corridors or other paths of egress are kept clear of any obstructions.

These measures aim to prevent the spread of fire and to save property and lives.

The NSW Fire and Rescue website also has valuable information about home fire safety including a fire safety checklist.

Fire Safety Statements

A fire safety statement is a document issued by or on behalf of the owner(s) of an existing building. The statement is the confirmation from the building owner that they have maintained the essential fire safety measures and egress provisions in their building to the level of performance required in the Fire Safety Schedule.

There are two types of fire safety statements:

  • Annual Fire Safety Statements (AFSS)

To demonstrate that the essential fire safety measures in a building have been maintained and are operating effectively the owner of the building is required to lodge an Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) to both Council and Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW).

The Fire Safety Statement must be issued using the standard template form published by the NSW Government:

The process is that every year the building owner or strata manager engages an Accredited Practitioner (fire safety) that holds the appropriate level/s of accreditation to:

  • Assess the performance of each essential fire safety measure listed on the Fire Safety Schedule; and
  • Inspect the building (including all required exits and exit paths) to ensure that there are no grounds for a prosecution under Division 7 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000; and
  • Endorse the Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS).

The Annual Fire Safety Statement for a building must:

  • Include each essential fire safety measure in the building premises as listed on the Fire Safety Schedule; and
  • Be endorsed by an Accredited Practitioner (fire safety); and
  • Be submitted within 12 months after the date on which the previous statement or the final fire safety certificate was given; and
  • Be lodged to Council and Fire and Rescue NSW within 3 months of the date of inspection and assessment; and
  • Be prominently displayed within the building every year.

There is no requirement to submit an Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) for single dwelling houses and ancillary buildings classified as 1(a) or 10(a) under the Building Code of Australia.

Supplementary fire safety statements

A supplementary fire safety statement is similar to an Annual Fire Safety Statement only it is issued at more regular intervals which are specified in the Fire Safety Schedule for any critical fire safety measures that apply to a building.

Fire Safety Certificates

A Fire Safety Certificate is a certificate which is issued once the installation of new essential fire safety measures have been completed.

The certificate confirms that each of the fire safety measures that apply to a building (as listed in the Fire Safety Schedule) have been installed, checked by a properly qualified person and are capable of operating to the performance listed in the fire safety schedule.

The certificate is supplied to Council or the Principal Certifier for:

  • A new building or part of, before an Occupation Certificate is issued; or
  • Prior to the issue of an Occupation Certificate for the change of use of a building; or
  • As a result of fire safety upgrade works required by Council.

A Fire Safety Certificate must be issued using the standard template form published by the NSW Government:

After the Fire Safety Certificate has been issued, an Annual Fire Safety Statement is required to be submitted to Council and Fire and Rescue NSW every 12 months.

 

Fire Safety Schedules

Fire Safety Schedules are issued for every building with a Building Code classification of 1b to 9 (e.g. not a single residential dwelling or associated ancillary building such as a residential garage), in the following circumstances:

  • With a Construction Certificate or Complying Development Certificate for new building work; or
  • With a Development Consent or Complying Development Certificate when there is a change in the use of a building (e.g. converting a dwelling to an office); or
  • With a fire safety order.

The requirement for a fire safety schedule originally came into effect with the introduction of Ordinance 70 published in July 1988. Buildings built before 1st July 1988 and that have not had any of the above circumstances may not have a Fire Safety Schedule and/or a requirement to submit and Annual Fire Safety Statement. This however does not negate the need for property owners to maintain the fire safety measures and egress paths that are contained within their building.

The fire safety schedule describes all the essential fire safety measures in the building. It can include measures that already exist, as well as those that are proposed to be installed as part of new building works.

The fire safety schedule lists the minimum standard of performance that each safety measure must be able to operate to. This standard will usually refer to the Building Code of Australia (BCA), an Australian Standard, or both.

What if there is no fire safety schedule available?

If a building owner is unsure as to what essential fire safety measures apply to their building by virtue of a fire safety schedule, they may contact the Council to request a copy of the schedule (should one be available).

This information may be requested via an access to information application under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009. More information on access to information is available from here: https://www.goulburn.nsw.gov.au/Council/Access-to-Information

Depending on the age of the building and whether recent development works have been completed that required the issue of a fire safety schedule, the availability of records may be limited.

Where no schedule is available Council may request that building owners undertake the following activities to obtain a schedule:

  1. Arrange for a fire safety audit to be conducted in accordance with AS 4655-2005 or other methodology by an accredited practitioner (fire safety); and

  2. Engage an appropriately qualified building certifier to:

    1. Determine which measures identified in the audit were required to be installed at the time of approval and the level of performance they were originally required to achieve;

    2. Where anomalies are identified between the measure/s installed and those originally required prepare a fire safety upgrade strategy for the building for review by Council;

  3. Council Office to inspect the building and issue a Fire Safety Order, which would allow a new fire safety schedule to be issued. Council may request the owner undertake upgrade works to the building as part of this Order. (Note: The inspection of the building and preparation of the Fire Safety Schedule by Councils Officers is subject to payment of the adopted written advice on any building or planning related matter fee referred to on page D12 of Councils adopted fees and charges).

     

Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) - Accredited Practitioners (Fire Safety)

The Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) began on 1 July 2020 with the commencement of the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018.

As of 1 July, 2020, only Accredited Practitioners (Fire Safety) previously known as competent fire safety practitioners can now undertake fire safety assessments and endorse Essential Fire Safety Measures on Annual or Supplementary Fire Safety Statements.

The practitioner must be accredited to assess each of the measures listed on the Fire Safety Schedule. Building owners and strata managers are advised to visit the FPAA website for a register of Accredited Practitioners (fire safety).

Essential Fire Safety Measures

Essential Fire Safety Measures are any fire safety measures that are installed in a building to prevent the spread of fire and ensure the safety of persons using the building in the event of fire.

Essential fire safety measures for relevant buildings are typically listed in the following documents:

(a)        In the Fire Safety Schedule for the building, or

(b)        In the essential services (within the meaning of Ordinance No 70 under the Local Government Act 1919) attached to an approval or order referred to in Part 59 of that Ordinance, being an approval or order that was in force immediately before 1 July 1993, or

(c)        In the essential services (within the meaning of the Local Government (Approvals) Regulation 1993) attached to an approval referred to in clause 22 of that Regulation, being the latest such approval granted during the period from 1 July 1993 to 30 June 1997, or

(d)        In the essential services (within the meaning of the Local Government (Orders) Regulation 1993) attached to an order referred to in clause 6(1) of that Regulation, being the latest such order given during the period from 1 July 1993 to 30 June 1997.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 contains a list of statutory fire safety measures that may have been incorporated into the building and include the following:

  • Access panels, doors and hoppers to fire-resisting shafts
  • Automatic fail-safe devices
  • Automatic fire detection and alarm systems
  • Automatic fire suppression systems
  • Emergency lifts
  • Emergency lighting
  • Emergency warning and intercommunication systems
  • Exit signs
  • Fire control centres and rooms
  • Fire dampers
  • Fire doors
  • Fire hose reel systems
  • Fire hydrant systems
  • Fire seals protecting openings in fire-resisting components of the building
  • Fire shutters
  • Fire windows
  • Lightweight construction
  • Mechanical air handling systems
  • Perimeter vehicle access for emergency vehicles
  • Portable fire extinguishers
  • Safety curtains in proscenium openings
  • Smoke alarms and heat alarms
  • Smoke and heat vents
  • Smoke dampers
  • Smoke detectors and heat detectors
  • Smoke doors
  • Solid core doors
  • Standby power systems
  • Wall-wetting sprinkler and drencher systems
  • Warning and operational signs

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) specifies when the installation of the above essential fire safety measures are required.

Vacant Buildings

All fire safety measures listed on the annual fire safety statement and fire safety schedule including egress paths and exits must be maintained at all times even when a building becomes vacant.

Maintaining the fire safety measures and ongoing maintenance will promote the safety of persons who are nearby and adjacent the premises or those who have cause to access vacant buildings (i.e. security, Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Police, building owners, Council staff, real estate agents, etc.).

Smoke Alarms

The Building Legislation Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Act 2005 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Regulation 2006 commenced in NSW on 1 May 2006.

The legislation refers to residential and certain shared accommodation across NSW and requires:

  • The installation of one or more smoke alarms in buildings in which persons sleep;
  • Smoke alarms installed in such buildings must be operational; and
  • Persons must not remove or interfere with the operation of smoke alarms installed in such buildings.

The following types of residential and shared accommodation must have a minimum of one working smoke alarm on each level of the property:

  • Residential Accommodation;
  • Detached houses, terrace houses, town houses, villa units (Class 1a buildings);
  • Apartments, home units, flats (Class 2 buildings);
  • Caretakers flats, single residences above shops (Class 4 parts of buildings);
  • Relocatable homes, e.g. manufactured homes and moveable dwellings;
  • Small boarding houses, guest houses, hostels; backpackers accommodation; bed and breakfast accommodation (Class 1b buildings not more than 12 persons with a total floor area not exceeding 300m²);
  • Large boarding houses, guest houses, hostels, backpacker accommodation; residential parts of hotels, motels, schools, health care buildings, detention centres; certain residential accommodation for the aged, children and people with disabilities (Class 3 buildings with more than 12 persons);
  • Hospitals and nursing homes (Class 9a health care buildings).

 

 

9. Asbestos (and Fibro) Safety 

Does your home contain asbestos? How would you know?

Did you know that the NSW Government has a new place for the NSW community to find information on all things asbestos. The website www.asbestos.nsw.gov.au has been created for anyone searching for information:

  • Checking for asbestos in homes, buildings and plant.
  • How to safely manage asbestos.
  • Asbestos removal and disposal.
  • Health impacts of asbestos.
  • Finding licenced professionals to help identify, test or remove asbestos.

Think Twice about Asbestos.

Get in the know - Find out whether your home was built or renovated before 1990. Asbestos was used in thousands of building materials before 1990.

Go slow - Don’t damage or disturb asbestos materials.

Get a pro - Know your limits. Get a licensed asbestos professional to give you advice on where asbestos is located and how to manage or remove it.

Asbestos materials were commonly used in the building industry from 1940 to 1990. There is now a ban on using asbestos products.

The most commonly found household building materials containing asbestos are asbestos cement products also called "fibro" and "AC sheeting".

Other asbestos cement products that may be found around the home include:

  • flat or corrugated sheeting;
  • water or flue pipes;
  • roof shingles;
  • flexible building boards;
  • imitation brick cladding;
  • vinyl floor tiles; and
  • backing of linoleum floor covering.

Before renovating, learn about asbestos in the home, how to find and identify it and what rules apply.  Where asbestos is present, there are dangers in disturbing it.

  • Australia has been ranked among the world's top consumers of asbestos products per capita.
  • 1 in 3 Australian homes contain asbestos in some form or another (a conservative estimate).
  • There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres so it's vital to safely manage asbestos-containing products.
  • Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma (an incurable asbestos-related cancer).
  • Houses and other structures built or renovated before 1990 most likely contains asbestos-containing products in some form or another.
  • During renovations or the demolition of homes containing asbestos products, asbestos fibres can be released into the air and be inhaled putting renovators, families, tradespeople and bystanders at risk.
  • If you find asbestos in your home;
    • Don't cut it
    • Don't drill it
    • Don't drop it
    • Don't sand it
    • Don't saw it
    • Don't scrub it
    • Don't dismantle it
    • Don't tip it
    • Don't water blast it
    • Don't demolish it
    • And whatever you do...Don’t dump it and do not put it into Council’s kerbside waste collection bins

Useful links

Asbestos Awareness

Asbestos Safety

Asbestos Awareness Training

NSW Environmental Protection Authority Household Asbestos and Safe Disposal of Asbestos

SafeWork NSW

 

10. Damage Bonds

Part 4 Division 4.3 Section 4.17 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 allows the Consent Authority to impose a condition of development consent which requires the applicant to provide a payment of security and Part 7 Division 2A Clause 136M of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 allows the imposition of a condition relating to the payment of security on Complying Development Certificate.

Goulburn Mulwaree Council requires the payment of a damage bond for developments within the Local Government Area proposing:

  • erection of new buildings,
  • alterations and additions,
  • subdivision of land, and
  • swimming pool installations

Where the estimated cost of development is $25,000 or more and the development has frontage to a sealed road. The damage bond is to be held as security until repairs are undertaken to Council assets damaged as a result of activities associated with private construction works.

The damage bond value payable to Council is based are;

  • $3,000 per development,
  • $5,000 per development on a corner lot; and
  • Bond value subject to an assessment by Council's Development Engineer for development within the B3 Commercial Core Zone.

The relevant damage bond value will be imposed as a condition of consent. The payment of the damage bond to Council shall be accompanied by a completed damage bond application form which outlines accepted methods of payment. There are two components to the damage bond:

  1. A non-refundable administration fee which covers the administration of the damage bond and includes the initial and final inspections.
  2. A refundable damage bond as determined by the value of the works.

 

Inspections

Preliminary Inspection

Council will undertake a preliminary inspection prior to commencement of the development. This preliminary inspection is to record (photograph) any existing damage to Council assets so that existing damage is not attributed to the development works being undertaken by the applicant. 

Should the applicant have concerns in relation to any existing damage to Council assets please attach a written submission and photographs with the damage bond application.

Final Inspection

A final inspection will be carried out by Council:

  1. Once all works, including landscaping, driveway construction, turfing, tree planting where required have been completed to a satisfactory standard; and
  2. Following the issue of a Final Occupation Certificate by the Certifying Authority for the development.

In the case of swimming pools or excavation, the bond will be considered for refund when the applicant advises that the works are completed and have met the Certifying Authority's requirements.

If the final inspection is deemed unsatisfactory, an additional inspection fee (as per Council's Fees and Charges) will be charged per each reinspection required and retained from the damage bond. 

Refund of Damage Bond

It is the responsibility of the applicant to advise Council when construction works are completed and the damage bond is due for refund.

Following a satisfactory final inspection, the damage bond, minus the administration and inspection fee and any other additional inspection fees applicable, will be refunded.

The refund payment will be by direct deposit to the original drawer. Council will request the bank details at the time of the refund. If the applicant requires the refund payment to be in another name, a written request must be forwarded to Council prior to refund of the bond.

If the damage bond is not claimed within ten (10) years from application date, an attempt to contact the applicant will be made. If contact is unsuccessful, Council reserves the right to consider the bond forfeited.