Construction Certificates

If your proposal involves construction works (and cannot be carried out as a complying development), then you will need to lodge a Construction Certificate ApplicationYou are not able to commence any form of construction until you have received Development Consent and a Construction Certificate. A Construction Certificate can be approved and issued by Cowra Council or a Private Certifier.

So what is a Construction Certificate?

A Construction Certificate is an approval that certifies that your proposed development, if completed in accordance with your plans and specifications, will comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) including relevant associated structural standards and codes.

If you need to submit a Construction Certificate Application, you will need to follow a sequence of steps contained in the following six stages:

The six stages of a Construction Certificate

Stage 1 - Submitting and Lodgement

A Construction Certificate Application may be lodged at the same time as your Development Application or at any time after the lodgement of your Development Application. 
Submitting & Lodging the Construction Certificate Application and Development Application at the same time may improve the processing time of the Construction Certificate, as the Construction Certificate can be assessed at the same time as your Development Application. However, a Construction Certificate cannot be issued unless the Development Application has been determined and approved, and the Construction Certificate must be consistent with the development consent.

All Development Applications (DAs), Construction Certificates (CCs) and Complying Development Certificate (CDCs) are to be submitted via the NSW Government's online Planning Portal. All you need to do is apply for a NSW Planning Portal account, and submit your application online. Simply click here to start the process and follow the links. Quick Reference Guides are available to help too. Submission of a Construction Certificate will require the following information & documents:

  • Applicants Name (This cannot be the builder or contractor)
  • Property Owners Authorisation - form found here
  • Development Description
  • The Development Cost
  • The builders name and licence or owner builders permit (this is not the statement of attainment)
  • Building Code of Australia Classification
  • Combined Appointment of PC (Principal Certifier) and Contract signed by applicant - form found here
  • A site plan, which includes the location, boundary dimensions, existing site features (buildings, vegetation etc.) and proposed building work, setback to boundaries and existing building, entry and exit locations & details of storm water drainage.
  • Building section plans
  • Building elevation plans
  • BASIX certificate - where applicable 
  • Geotechnical report classifying soil category - where applicable
  • Building specifications including detail engineering plans - where applicable

Once the required documents have been submitted to the Online Planning Portal and accepted by Cowra Council, the applicant will be provided with a Fee Estimate for the Construction Certificate this will be given via the additional information stage on your Planning Portal. When full payment of the fees has been paid the Construction Certificate is then lodged for assessment.

Stage 2 - Assessment

Once you have lodged your Construction Certificate Application, it will be assigned to an accredited Council Building Surveyor for assessment. The Building Surveyor will check that your Construction Certificate Application:
  • Complies with the Building Code of Australia.
  • Is consistent with the plans approved under the Development Consent.
  • Complies with any conditions included on the Development Consent.
  • Complies with any BASIX commitments - where applicable.
  • Complies with other Construction Certificate submission requirements.
You will be advised if further information is required prior to determination of the Construction Certificate via the addition information stage on the Planning Portal.

Stage 3 - Prior to the issue of a Construction Certificate

If applicable to your application, the following items are required by Council prior to the issue of the Construction Certificate. It is recommended that you submit this detail to Council early in the application process:
Builders details
Council will require the builders name, address and NSW licence number for all residential work. This is not required if you are completing the construction project as an Owner Builder.
Home Owners Warranty Insurance
All residential work exceeding $20,000 in value requires a Certificate of Home Owner’s Warranty Insurance. A copy of your insurance must be submitted to Council. It is important that the Insurance Certificate shows the correct property details and identifies all work covered under the Building Contract (e.g. Dwelling AND swimming pool).
Owner Builders Permit
If you choose to complete work as an owner-builder, an owner-builder permit is to be obtained from the Department of Fair Trading and a copy submitted to Council for all residential building work exceeding $10,000 in value. Permits must show the correct property details and Council application number to which the permit relates. This application number is provided on lodgement of the Construction Certificate.

If the building work exceeds $20,000, an owner-builder will be required to complete an approved owner-builder course, or have the approved equivalent qualifications.  For further details, please see the NSW Government Fair Trading website on Owner-builder permits.

Long Service Levy

The NSW Government has put a levy on all building and construction work valued at $250,000 or more (inclusive of GST). The levy rate is 0.25% of the total cost of the work. The building applicant or the person for whom the work is being done is liable to pay the levy.

Council is the agent for the collection for long service levy payments and can accept payments only where a Construction Certificate Application is lodged. You are encouraged to pay the levy when lodging your Construction Certificate Application, if you choose to pay direct to the Long Service Levy Payments Corporation, Council will require proof of payment.

If you are an owner-builder, non profit organisation or church you may qualify for a partial exemption. For further information go to the NSW Government Long Service Corporation, Long Service Levy website.

Section 7.11 & 7.12 (Previously 94 & 94A) and 64 Contributions

It is important that you read your Development Consent to determine whether you are liable to pay Council any contributions. These contributions must be paid to Council prior to the issue of the Construction Certificate. Further information relating to contributions can be obtained in the Developer Contributions section of this website.

Compliance with conditions of consent

It is important that you carefully read your development consent and ensure that all required conditions have been met prior to lodging your Construction Certificate Application. Council will not issue the Construction Certificate until these specific conditions have been satisfied. If you are unsure as to what conditions need to be satisfied prior to the issue of your Construction Certificate, please contact Council on (02) 6340 2040.

Stage 4 - Determination and Issue

Once Council has made an assessment that your application complies with all building requirements and is consistent with your development consent, you will be provided with your Construction Certificate.

Stage 5 - Commencement of Work

What needs to be done before construction work is commenced?

  • Make sure you have your approved Development Consent. Read the document and comply with the conditions at all times.
  • Make sure you have your approved Construction Certificate.
  • Make sure your Notice of Commencement form has been submitted.
  • Make sure that the required signage has been provided to identify the site, builder’s information, PCA etc.
  • Make sure that a builder’s toilet is available in accordance with Work Cover Requirements.
  • Make sure provisions have been made for construction waste.
  • Make sure all environment controls are in place. For demolition, excavation or building work, this can include:
    • Occupational Health and Safety and public safety 
    • Waste management
    • Soil and erosion controls
    • Limiting hours of construction work involving noisy activities.

Visit the NSW Workcover and Office of Environment and Heritage websites for further detail.

Stage 6 - Completion of Work

Once you have completed all construction work, it will be necessary for you to arrange for a final inspection with Council. The building cannot be used or occupied until you have arranged for this final inspection and an Occupation Certificate has been issued by Council. You must remember that it is an offence to occupy or use a building without an Occupation Certificate.

Interim/ Partial Occupation Certificate

An Interim/Partial Occupation Certificate can be issued if the building is fit for occupation but there are still outstanding matters to be addressed. These matters must be addressed within the designated timeframe stated on the Interim Occupation Certificate. The building must be reinspected before a Final Occupation Certificate can be issued.

Final/Whole Occupation Certificate

A Final Occupation Certificate is issued by the Principal Certifying Authority and certifies that:

  • A development consent is in force with respect to the building.
  • A construction certificate has been issued with respect to the plans and specifications for the building.
  • The building is suitable for occupation or use in accordance with its classification under the Building of Australia.
  • When required, a final fire safety certificate has been issued for the building.
  • When required, a report from the Commissioner of Fire Brigades has been considered. 

It should be noted that an Occupation Certificate is a lawful requirement in the conveyancing process when a property is sold and it is therefore essential that you follow the above process. 

An Occupation Certificate must be applied for via the NSW Planning Portal. Read all documentation received with your Construction Certificate carefully and ensure all inspections are conducted and that all required documentation and certificates are submitted with your online Occupation Certificate application.

Note - A period of two years is provided to obtain an Occupation Certificate from the last building inspection conducted by Council or it may not be issued.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Construction Certificate required for Complying Development?

No. If you have obtained a Complying Development Certificate for your proposal, then you do not require a Construction Certificate before you can commence works.

Can a Construction Certificate be issued for existing work?

No. A Construction Certificate cannot be issued for works which have already been erected or carried out. Consequently, any Construction Certificate Application submitted for existing work will be rejected. For instances where building works have been carried out without the correct approval, a Building Certificate can be sought. To find out more about getting approval for existing building works, see the Building Certificate section of this website. 

Note - it is an offence to carry out building works without having the proper approvals in place, commencing any works without approval may incur heavy penalty fees.

How do I organise a Building Inspection?

Bookings for inspections may be arranged by telephoning Council’s Environmental Services Department on (02) 6340 2040, between the hours of 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Council will require a minimum of 48 hours notice prior to the inspection being carried out. This will allow time for the necessary files to be made available for the inspecting officer. Council cannot guarantee an inspection if less than 48 hours notice is provided.

It is essential that you have the following information ready when booking an inspection:

  • The Construction Certificate number.
  • Job site address.
  • The type of inspection that is required (i.e. footings, frame etc).
  • The date and time the inspection is required.
  • The name of the person requiring the inspection and their phone number. 

What costs are involved with the Construction Certificate?

All Construction Certificate Applications lodged with Council must be accompanied by a fee. This fee is calculated based on the estimated cost of your development. This is the same estimated cost that you used when you lodged your Development Application.

Generally, the Construction Certificate Fee is made up of:

  • Construction Certificate Application Fee
  • Inspection Fees

The required fees and charges are set out in Cowra Council's Revenue Policy

Additional Fees & Approvals

In addition to the application fee and the inspection fees, the following fees and additional approvals may also apply at Construction Certificate stage:

  • Long Service Levy fee (where the value of works exceed $250,000)
  • Plumbing Drainage fee (if you are proposing to connect to Council’s water, sewer or storm water)
  • On-site Sewage Management fee (if you are proposing to install a septic tank). 

What is a Principal Certifier?

What are certifiers?

 Certifiers are responsible for the approval and inspection of building works.  They issue the certificates you need to build including Complying Development Certificates(PDF, 169KB) and Construction Certificates. In most cases, the certifier is either the local council or an accredited certifier (private practitioners accredited to act as public officials).

What is a Principal Certifier?

In most cases you will need to engage a particular type of certifying authority known as a Principal Certifier (PC). The PC inspects building works during the course of construction to ensure it meets with regulatory requirements. It is the job of the PC to assess whether the building work complies with approvals and is suitable and safe for occupation.

The PC needs to be appointed before building works can commence. To do this, you must fill out an Combined Appointment of PC and Contract for carrying out certification work form and submit this to Council. 

Who can nominate a PC?

The person having the benefit of a development consent or complying development can appoint a PC.

A contractor or any other person who will carry out the building work or subdivision work cannot appoint a PC, unless that person is the owner of the land on which the work is to be carried out.

Who can be a Principal Certifier?

Only an accredited certifier or Council can undertake the functions of a Principal Certifier for your development.

Where can I find further information?

The  contains further information about certifying authorities. Alternatively, you can telephone Council on (02) 6340 2040 and ask to speak to one of Council’s Building Surveyors. 

Can I start construction while my application is with Council?

No. You must not commence any form of construction until you have received a Construction Certificate from Council. It is important that you read the conditions of your development consent carefully to determine whether there any other approvals required before you can commence construction works.