Hills Certifiers - FAQs

How can I obtain a free fee estimate?

A request for a fee estimate can be done online -ask@hillscertifiers.com.auor by phone 02 9843 0431.

How do I lodge an application?

All Construction Certificates, Complying Development Certificates, Occupation Certificates, and Principal Certifier appointments must now be lodged on the NSW Govt. Planning Portal:

Visit the NSW Planning Portal

The required contract with your certifier is a document you obtain from the certifier and lodge with your plans and other information on the Planning Portal at the time of making your application.

Why do I need a contract?

Legislation requires there to be a contract between yourself as applicant and the certifier providing certification services.

We don’t require separate contracts for the approval, Principal Certifier services and the Occupation Certificate. Ours is all in one and can be viewed below:

Contract with THSC (Hills Certifiers) for PC services

What is a Principal Certifier (PC)?

The PC is a public official whose first responsibility is to meet public safety and regulatory requirements.

The PC checks the building work at set stages of construction by undertaking inspections including mandatory critical stage inspections to ensure the work is being carried out in accordance with the approval (namely the development consent/ construction certificate or complying development certificate), the Building Code of Australia and any other standards that apply.

At the end of construction, the PC determines whether the building complies with the terms of approval and whether it is suitable for occupation in accordance with its classification under the Building Code of Australia. If this is the case, the PC will issue an Occupation Certificate.

Note: The PC must be appointed by the owner of the land. A principal contractor (builder) can only appoint a PC if they own the land.

How do I appoint Hills Certifiers as my PC?

To minimise documentation and to make things quicker and easier, you can appoint us as your PC at the same time as lodging your Construction or Complying Development Certificate application on the NSW Govt. Planning Portal.

Who will be assessing my application?

All applications lodged with Hills Certifiers are assessed by our own professionally qualified Building Surveyors who are accredited and registered by Fair Trading NSW and who are experts with legislative requirements, the Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards.

When can I start construction?

Construction work can begin two days after a Construction or Complying Development Certificate has been issued and you have forwarded the Notice of Commencement of Building Work to Council and the PC.

If you appoint Hills Certifiers as your PC we will prepare all the necessary paperwork and assist you with these administrative requirements.

Once I have approval, what do I need to do before I begin construction work?

If you have a Complying Development Certificate, you must notify neighbours within 20m of your property two days prior to works commencing.

We can help you comply with this notification by preparing the required documentation on your behalf.

What are the responsibilities of the Principal Contractor (builder)?

The NSW planning legislation places responsibility on principal contractors and developers who carry out the overall coordination and control of building work on the site.

Fair Trading NSW has issued an information sheet on the principal contractors' responsibilities. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with these responsibilities and discuss them with that person to make sure the construction process progresses smoothly.

What is a Critical Stage Inspection (CSI)?

Critical Stage Inspections are those inspections that are required to be carried out on buildings and structures during the course of construction as set down by legislation. In the case of the erection a new dwelling, additions and alterations to a dwelling or the like, the occasions on which building work must be inspected are:

  • After excavation for, and prior to the placement of, any footings, and
  • Prior to pouring any in-situ reinforced concrete building element, and
  • Prior to covering of the framework for any floor, wall, roof or other building element, and
  • Prior to covering waterproofing in any wet areas, and
  • Prior to covering any stormwater drainage connections, and
  • After the building work has been completed and prior to any occupation certificate being issued in relation to the building.

For a swimming pool, an inspection is also required after the construction of the pool is completed and the child resisting barrier has been erected and before the pool is filled with water.

There are different mandatory critical stage inspections that apply in relation to Class 2 to 9 buildings. You will be advised of all inspections we require to be carried out following appointment.

The inspections must be carried out by the PC appointed for the building work, irrespective of whether the building work is also inspected by a structural or other engineering professional.

Who will be doing the CSIs?

All inspections are conducted by our own professionally qualified Building Surveyors who are accredited by the NSW Building Professionals Board/ Fair Trading NSW.

How much notice do I need to provide for a CSI?

Because we are specialists in the Sydney Hills area, we can focus on your requirements.

We carry out a next business day inspection service provided you make a booking before 3:30pm on the business day prior to the inspection date.

We can also assist with a preferred inspection time (morning or afternoon usually).

What happens if I miss an inspection?

If you miss an inspection, you risk the Occupation Certificate not being able to be issued, regardless of the works performed being determined as satisfactory.

Under the legislation it is the owner/person with the benefit of the consent whose responsibility it is to ensure that inspections are not missed.

Whilst you may task your principal contractor with booking in inspections, it is ultimately you who is responsible to ensure inspections are both booked and carried out.

What is an Occupation Certificate?

An occupation certificate is a certificate that enables an owner or occupier to legally occupy or use a building or part and must be obtained before a building or part can be occupied or used.

An occupation certificate can only be issued by the PC appointed for the building work.

The occupation or use of a building or part prior to the issue of an occupation certificate is a breach of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and may attract penalties including Penalty Infringement Notices.

What is the Building Code of Australia (BCA)?

The Building Code of Australia or BCA is the national code that specifies the technical building requirements or provisions applying to building work.

In NSW, the BCA is given statutory weight or 'called up' by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 as the applicable standard for new building work.

What is the Builder's Long Service Levy?

The Builder's Long Service Levy is a levy imposed on all building and construction work with a value of $25,000.00 and above (inclusive of GST) in NSW.

The current levy rate is 0.35% and is paid by the owners of a building or construction project into a fund administered by the Building and Construction Industry Long Service Payments Corporation, and from this fund the Corporation makes long service payments to building and construction workers. The levy can be paid directly to the Long Service Payments Corporation or via Council as an agent of the corporation.

It must be paid prior to the issue of your Construction Certificate or Complying Development Certificate.

Most of our clients find it more convenient to pay the levy at the same time as the Construction Certificate or Complying Development Certificate is lodged, as this reduces delays.

When do I need Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF) insurance?

HBCF insurance (previously known as Home Owners Warranty) needs to be provided by:

  • A builder or tradesperson before taking any money (including a deposit) from a home owner (including an owner-builder) under a residential building contract and before starting any work under that contract;
  • A 'spec' builder before starting any residential building work on a property owned by the builder;
  • A developer before entering into a contract for the sale of a property on which a builder is doing or has done residential building work for the developer;
  • An owner-builder (a home owner who did owner-builder work under an owner-builder permit) before entering into a contract for sale of the property on which residential building was done within the previous six years;
  • A 'kit home' supplier, before taking any money to supply the kit home.

  • The contract value of the work exceeds $20,000.00;
  • The contract price is not known;
  • The reasonable market cost of the labour and materials involved is over $20,000.00.

    For more information, refer to the HBCF insurance page on the Fair Trading NSW website - The Home Building Compensation Fund (hbcf) | icare (nsw.gov.au)

    The HBCF insurance certificate must be provided to the PC prior to building work commencing. The PC may not be able to carry out inspections if the certificate has not been provided.

When do I need an Owner Builder Permit?

An Owner Builder's Permit is required if you intend to undertake any building work, (including supervision and coordination) involved in the construction of, or alterations, repairs or additions to, a dwelling (which includes a house, terrace, townhouse, garage, swimming pool and certain other structures and improvements):

  • Where the reasonable market cost (including labour and materials) exceeds $10,000, and which relates to a single dwelling or dual occupancy and the work requires development consent or CDC approval.
  • That requires development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, or
  • That is a complying development within the meaning of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Owner Builder Permits are issued by the Fair Trading NSW and require an applicant to complete an approved Owner Builder's course if the cost of works are above $20,000.00.

The Owner Builder Permit must be sighted by the PC prior to building work commencing. The PC is not able to carry out inspections if the permit has not been provided.

Have a question? Contact us on 02 9843 0431 or email ask@hillscertifiers.com.au.