Complaints about certifiers

Fair Trading can investigate complaints about registered certifiers and local council certification work.

Before lodging a complaint, contact the certifier or council to try and resolve the matter. Keep a record of all correspondence.

See more information on concerns with development and what certifiers do.

Should I lodge a complaint?

Before you lodge a complaint, ask:

  • Is the certifier responsible? Certifiers don't supervise building sites or builders, or ensure the craftsmanship of building work.
  • Do I have evidence? Keep copies of correspondence and document discussions.
  • Is there a better solution? Any complaints process takes time and can be difficult. Consider using the free mediation services offered by Community Justice Centres.

If you're the property owner, you may be able to replace a certifier.

Building work can continue during the complaint process. Only the council can order work to stop.

How to make a complaint

Visit Fair Trading's Help Centre and fill out the Certifier Complaints form.

Potential outcomes if a complaint is proven

If a complaint is proven, Fair Trading may take disciplinary action against a certifier.

Fair Trading has no power to stop building work, or award compensation to the complainant.

What happens after a complaint is lodged

  1. Fair Trading will review the complaint and, if appropriate, may send the certifier a copy of the complaint to invite a response.
  2. Fair Trading will decide whether the matter requires investigation and, if so, will seek comment from the certifier before a decision is made.
  3. Fair Trading will notify the complainant of the outcome.

The time taken to determine a complaint depends on how complex the matter is and how soon all requested information is submitted to Fair Trading.

Reasons a complaint may be dismissed

Fair Trading may choose to dismiss a complaint if:

  • further information about the complaint isn't given upon request, or the complaint or further information aren't verified
  • the complaint is trivial, lacking in substance or not made in good faith
  • there are alternative ways to address the matter such as conciliation
  • the complaint is not about the conduct of a certifier
  • the matter has been dealt with previously

Your privacy

The complaint and supporting documents will be sent to the certifier for response. You can ask to remain anonymous and for documents not to be shared.

Fair Trading may agree, but this could make allegations against the certifier harder to prove.

Any document submitted or produced in relation to a complaint investigation may be subject to application for access under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

All disciplinary actions are listed in the register of disciplinary decisions. The register doesn't include details of complainants.


A certifier, but not a complainant, can appeal a disciplinary decision at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

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