Finding and appointing a certifier

Not all certifiers can work on every type of development. The register of accredited certifiers lets you search by suburb, postcode, name or category of accreditation.

Always confirm your certifier’s accreditation and insurance are current before you appoint them. The record of disciplinary decisions against certifiers may help with your decision.

Search the register

Access the register of accredited certifiers to search. Access is subject to the conditions in the disclaimer further down this page.

What category of certifier do you need?

Certifiers are accredited in different categories according to their area of expertise, qualifications and experience. Usually, a category A1, A2 or A3 certifier (accredited building surveyor) or your local council can issue all the certificates you need. Sometimes, you may need certificates from other certifiers, as advised by your certifier or council. A1, A2 and A3 certifiers and local councils can also be appointed as the principal certifying authority for building work.

Different developments require different certifiers

Before signing a contract with a certifier, check the certifier is authorised to certify your development. For instance, an A1 certifier (top level building surveyor) can certify a wider range of buildings than an A2 certifier. Also check if the individual certifier has conditions on their accreditation that limit the work they are authorised to carry out.

What category of certifier you need if you’re:

  • building a house or granny flat:
    • if you need to lodge a development application, see your council (certifiers in the private sector can’t approve a development application, but can issue the other certificates you’ll need afterwards)
    • for complying development, see your council or an A1, A2 or A3 certifier
  • renovating a house: see your council or an A1, A2 or A3 certifier
  • building a new swimming pool: see your council or an A1, A2 or A3 certifier
  • having an existing swimming pool certified: see your council or a certifier listed on the <Swimming Pool Register>
  • changing the use of an existing building: see your council or an A1, A2 or A3 certifier
  • fitting out a commercial building: see your council or an A1, A2 or A3 certifier
  • subdividing land: see your council (in most areas, only the council can be the principal certifying authority for subdivision work, but a B1 certifier can inspect subdivision work)
  • registering a strata plan: see your council or a D1 certifier
  • obtaining an engineer’s report: see your council or a relevant C-category certifier (the C categories cover various engineering disciplines).

Replace a certifier

Need to change your certifier? Find out how to replace a certifier.

Exempt development

Some types of development are 'exempt', meaning you don't need approval from council or a certifier. Visit the <NSW Planning Portal> to find out if your development is exempt.

Disclaimer

The register of accredited certifiers contains information that the Building Professionals Board is required to maintain in the public register under the Building Professionals Act 2005. The Building Professionals Board disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs which you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way and for any reason.

Appointing a certifier

Property owners have legal responsibilities throughout the development process, depending on the type of building, the relevant planning controls and whether the owner is an owner-builder.

The certifier or principal certifying authority (PCA) for a development is appointed by the owner and has a specific role in regulating compliance of the development. The PCA does not manage the development or the building site on the owner’s behalf.

Owner’s responsibilities related to certification

The person with the benefit of development consent (usually the property owner):

  • can ask the local council or an accredited certifier what approvals, certificates and other documentation are needed
  • must apply for development consent (and a construction certificate) or a complying development certificate
  • must enter into a written contract with the certifier (or council) before any certification work is carried out
  • must appoint a PCA and notify the council within two days of the appointment
  • should talk with the PCA to find out what inspections will be needed as work progresses
  • must notify the council (and neighbours, for complying development) before starting work
  • should keep in regular contact with the builder and PCA during construction
  • is ultimately responsible for complying with the conditions of development consent (or complying development certificate)
  • must apply to the PCA for an occupation certificate when the work is completed.

Property owners have the right to:

  • choose their PCA – they don’t have to appoint a certifier suggested by the builder
  • check a certifier’s accreditation, insurance and disciplinary record
  • receive updates from their certifier, such as the outcome of an inspection
  • complain to NSW Fair Trading if they are concerned about their certifier, but only after other reasonable means to resolve the concern have been exhausted.
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