Certifiers frequently asked questions

How do I find a certifier?

Ask your local council or search the online register for a certifier with the right category of accreditation for your development.

What category of certifier do I need?

In most cases, you’ll need an accredited building surveyor (category A1, A2 or A3). Read more about each category of accreditation or ask your local council for advice.

How can I confirm my certifier’s accreditation, insurance and disciplinary record?

The register shows each certifier’s accreditation and insurance status. Before signing anything, you should ask the certifier to show you their certificate of accreditation and the certificate of currency for their professional indemnity insurance. You can also check a certifier’s disciplinary record.

Do I have to appoint the local council as the PCA?

No. An A1, A2 or A3 certifier working in the private sector can be appointed as a PCA. Read more about working with your PCA.

What is the distinction between a certifier and a PCA?

A certifier is a public official accredited by the Building Professionals Board to assess buildings and subdivisions and issue development certificates. A principal certifying authority (PCA) is a mandatory statutory function that is carried out for an individual development. The PCA inspects building work at certain stages, and issues the occupation certificate when it is completed. An accredited building surveyor (category A1, A2 or A3 certifier) or a local council can be appointed as the PCA. Other categories of certifiers, such as accredited engineers, cannot be the PCA.

How can I check a certifier’s accreditation, insurance and past conduct?

The online register provides accreditation and insurance information for each certifier. You should double-check this by asking to see a certifier’s certificate of accreditation and insurance certificate of currency. You can also view past disciplinary decisions by the Building Professionals Board.

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. If you have specific questions about the complying development legislation, contact the Department of Planning and Environment.

What is a ‘principal certifying authority’ (PCA)?

A principal certifying authority (PCA) may be a local council or an accredited certifier working in the private sector. The what certifiers do page explains the role of certifiers.

Do I have to appoint the council as my principal certifying authority (PCA)?

No. Either your local council or an appropriately-accredited certifier from the private sector can be your PCA.

What enforcement powers does the PCA have?

Certifiers in the private sector have limited enforcement powers compared with a local council, even if the certifier is appointed as PCA for a development. Go to the Common development concerns page to help understand the powers of certifiers, the Building Professionals Board, councils and other Government agencies.

How do I lodge a complaint against a certifier?

A complaint should only be made when all other options to resolve the matter have been exhausted. Go to the <common development concerns page> for advice on who to contact for many different types of issues. Go to the complaints page to lodge a complaint and find out how the process works.

How do I lodge a complaint against a council?

The Building Professionals Board can only investigate a council in its capacity as a certifying authority. It can also investigate an individual certifier who works at a council. The complaints page explains how to lodge a complaint and how the process works. If your complaint is about the council more broadly (i.e. not about its certification work), visit the Office of Local Government’s website for advice.

Questions about swimming pool certification

Does my swimming pool need to be certified?

To sell or lease a residential property that has a swimming pool, you must have either a valid certificate of compliance or occupation certificate. Alternatively, to sell the property you can have a certificate of non-compliance which will give the buyer 90 days to make the pool compliant. A valid occupation certificate is one that was issued within the past three years and authorises the use of the pool.

  • This certification requirement does not apply to:
  • strata or community schemes of more than two lots

off-the-plan purchase of a lot that hasn’t been created when the contract is entered into (i.e. a lot within the meaning of section 66ZL of the Conveyancing Act 1919).

What is the swimming pool certification process?

  1. The pool owner registers their pool on the NSW Swimming Pool Register
  2. The owner books a pool barrier inspection with the local council or an accredited certifier listed on the Swimming Pool Register
  3. The owner enters into a contract with the council or a certifier before the pool is inspected
  4. If the pool passes inspection, a certificate of compliance is issued.
  5. If the pool fails inspection, a notice of non-compliance and a certificate of non-compliance is issued.
  6. The owner has six weeks to fix the pool barrier and book a reinspection.
  7. The council or certifier inspects the pool and issues a certificate of compliance (if it complies), or council takes appropriate action (if it still doesn’t comply after six weeks).

What are minor pool barrier repairs (minor works)?

Some swimming pool certifiers are authorised to carry out minor repairs (up to $1,000 including materials and labour) to rectify defects that prevent a certificate of compliance being issued for a swimming pool. These certifiers must be authorised under the Home Building Act for swimming pool building or structural landscaping. However, a pool owner is free to hire other tradespeople or can do the work themselves.

Which certifiers can do minor repairs?

Category E1, A1, A2 and A3 certifiers can carry out minor repairs if they hold an endorsed contractor's licence or a qualified supervisor's certificate under the Home Building Act. They must be authorised to build a swimming pool or undertake structural landscaping.

What if the repairs will cost more than $1,000?

Any works costing more than $1,000 in labour and materials are not considered minor and the certifier is not permitted to carry them out. Depending on the work, you will need to hire a qualified tradesperson or can do the work yourself. Then, contact your certifier to book a reinspection of your pool.

Do the minor repairs have to be paid for upfront?

No, this may be negotiated between the certifier and the owner.

Where can pool owners seek advice?

Your certifier has a responsibility to give you advice about the changes required to make your pool barrier compliant.

Or visit other NSW Government websites for more information:

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