Certifiers frequently asked questions

How do I find a certifier?

Search our register for a certifier with the right class of registration for your development, or ask your local council.

What type of certifier do I need?

In most cases, you’ll need a registered building surveyor. Learn more about types of certifiers.

How can I check my certifier’s registration insurance and disciplinary record?

The register of certifiers includes registration and insurance details.

You can also check the disciplinary register. These are separate registers so you need to check both to get a complete picture.

Do I have to appoint the local council as the principal certifier?

No. A registered building surveyor working in the private sector can be the principal certifier.

What does a principal certifier do?

A principal certifier may be a local council or a private certifier.

Read more about what certifiers do.

What is the difference between a certifier and a principal certifier?

A certifier is a public official registered by Fair Trading to assess buildings and subdivision works and issues development certificates.

There are many types of certifiers.

A principal certifier is a legislated role that a registered certifier (in the class of building surveyor or certifier-subdivision) or the local council is appointed to carry out for an individual development.

The principal certifier inspects the work at certain stages and issues the occupation certificate if all requirements are met.

What enforcement powers do private certifiers and councils have?

Private certifiers have limited enforcement powers compared with a council, even if the certifier is appointed as principal certifier.

For more information, read common development concerns.

Where can I learn more about complying development?

The common development concerns page has more information about complying development, including your rights if you’ve been notified of a proposed complying development.

Also visit the NSW Planning Portal.

How can I complain about a certifier or local council?

A complaint should only be made when other options have been exhausted. Go to common development concerns for advice on who to contact in the first instance.

Fair Trading can investigate complaints against certifiers, and councils in their capacity as certifying authorities.

The complaints page explains the process.

If your complaint is about the council but not its certification work, visit the Office of Local Government.

Questions about swimming pool certification

Can a registered certifier (swimming pool inspector) fix my pool fence?

Some certifiers may do minor repairs (up to $1,000 including materials and labour) to enable them to issue a certificate of compliance.

To do so, they must have an endorsed contractor's licence or qualified supervisor's certificate under the Home Building Act, authorising them to build a swimming pool or structural landscaping.

The pool owner is free to hire another tradesperson for the repairs.

To check a certifier’s authorisation under the Home Building Act, visit ServiceNSW and enter the licence number.

If the repairs will cost more than $1,000 in materials and labour, the certifier may not carry them out.

Where can pool owners get more advice?

Your certifier will give you advice about the changes needed to make your pool barrier compliant, or visit the NSW Swimming Pool Register for more information and resources.

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