Certification data reporting

Important: The Building and Development Certifiers Act and Regulation commenced on 1 July 2020.

This new legislation has been created to regulate the certifier industry. It also brings changes in key areas that certifiers need to understand.

Find out more about the changes.

Registered certifiers and local councils must report data on certification for all building work approved on or after 1 July 2018 to the NSW Government.

Giving the Government real-time, centralised information on building activity across NSW helps improve public policy and strengthen certification and building regulation.

The principal certifier must report all data. This includes councils, registered building surveyors and registered bodies corporate.

Required data fields

Schedule 8 of the Building and Development Certifiers Regulation sets out the required data.

Data must be reported within two business days after each event. For example, completing an inspection or issuing a certificate.

Reporting options

You can download technical specifications for the API or SFTP options, or use the CertAbility app.

Alternatively, the software listed below will meet data reporting requirements.

Compliant software products

Only the following software and providers are verified by the NSW government as meeting data reporting requirements. They aren't verified for other legislative requirements.


The API (application programming interface) suits cloud based software. Many of the software products listed above use the API.

To use the API, software providers and IT specialists can download:

To start testing, email support@onegov.nsw.gov.au to access the Building Certifiers API.


The SFTP (secure file transfer protocol) suits certification practices that use a database or software for record-keeping (but it’s not cloud-based) and have IT capacity to make the required data and network changes.

Some of the software products listed above use the SFTP.

To use the SFTP, software providers and IT specialists can download:

SFTP technical documentation (XLSX, 69.3 KB)

Data reporting presentation refer to slides 16-23

Ask your IT service provider to white list our IP details | sftp.uat.onegov.nsw.gov.au and | sftp.onegov.nsw.gov.au.

To start testing, email support@onegov.nsw.gov.au with your name, organisation name and IP details.

CertAbility web app

Current users: visit www.certifierapp.onegov.nsw.gov.au

New users:

For help download the CertAbility user guide (PDF, 1569.49 KB)

Technical support for the mobile app has been withdrawn.

More information

Our data reporting presentation (PDF, 586.92 KB) provides an overview, and below are answers to some common questions about data reporting.

Frequently asked questions

What types of building work don't need to be reported?

  • swimming pools, unless part of a larger development such as a new house with a pool
  • demolition, when there is no building work and the development only involves demolition
  • subdivision, when there is no building work
  • Crown building work
  • mining development.

Which certifiers need to report data?

You only need to report data for a building work if you’re the principal certifier. This includes private certifiers, local councils and registered bodies corporate.

If you’re a certifier who does an inspection on behalf of the principal certifier, you don’t have to report the inspection.

Can I change my reporting option?

Yes, but keep in mind:

  • it may incur software or staff training costs
  • existing certification projects must be finished using the same reporting.

You can't change options midway for an individual project.

Email support@onegov.nsw.gov.au to have your data transferred to a different reporting option.

For example, if you use CertAbility to report an inspection, you can’t use the API to report the next inspection for that work.

What if the principal certifier changes?

The outgoing certifier will report all certification work on the development that is carried out up to the date of the change of certifier. The new certifier will report on the development from that date.

Depending on the reporting method used, the new certifier may need to re-enter data for certification work by the previous certifier.

  • If both certifiers use CertAbility, the outgoing certifier can use the app’s function to transfer the work to the new certifier. The new certifier will not need to re-enter data, the file will provide a reference point.
  • If the outgoing certifier uses CertAbility, and the new certifier uses the API or SFTP, the outgoing certifier can generate an export file (csv format) from the app and send it to the new certifier. Although the new certifier will need to re-enter the data, the file will provide a reference point.
  • If the outgoing certifier uses the API or SFTP, and the new certifier uses CertAbility, the new certifier will need to re-enter data for work by the previous certifier.

What if no final occupation certificate is issued?

The record for that work will remain open in our database if no occupation certificate is issued.

There is no penalty for having an open record.

Can office staff report data on a certifier’s behalf?

Yes, but certifiers are still responsible for data reported on their behalf.

What about data and privacy?

Access to data is restricted by law to relevant government agencies.

Fair Trading may enter into data-sharing arrangements with other agencies such as local councils.

Councils will only receive data relevant to their local government area.

How often do I need to report data?

Data must be reported for an individual work no later than 2 business days before building work commences, and no later than 2 days after each reportable event such as issuing a certificate or carrying out an inspection.

How does certification data reporting relate to the Planning Portal?

Both systems gather basic data to verify the location, dates and responsible parties for a development.

Certification data also covers certificates issued, critical stage inspections and details such as performance solutions which aren't captured in the NSW Planning Portal.

For the SFTP, is it one zip file per building work, or one overall?

One zip file overall, covering all building works.

With the API and SFTP, do I have to send all records with each data transfer?

No. You only need to send amendments and updates, but you can send all records if you prefer.

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