To strengthen certification and building regulation in NSW, accredited certifiers and local councils need to report data on building certification to the NSW Government. This was mandatory from 1 July 2018.
Certification data is currently held by certifiers and councils in different formats and systems. Collecting this will help improve public policy by giving the Government real-time, centralised information on building activity across NSW.
Who needs to report data?
The principal certifying authority (PCA) has a responsibility to report data. This includes councils, category A1, A2 and A3 certifiers and accredited bodies corporate. Certifiers in categories A4, B1, C1-C16, D1 and E1 are not required to report data, but their existing, legislated recordkeeping requirements still apply.
What data needs to be reported?
Data is submitted throughout the development process, from the commencement of building work to the issue of the final occupation certificate. Download a summary of the required data fields.
How can data be reported?
Councils and certifiers can choose from three reporting options:
- API (application programming interface)
- SFTP (secure file transfer protocol)
- CertAbility app for mobile and tablet (iOS / Apple and Android).
Data must be reported within two days after each event (e.g. completing a critical stage inspection).
Certifiers and councils should already have chosen their preferred data reporting option and be reporting data.
Providers of certification software can download technical specifications for the API and SFTP channels.
Data reporting options
The best reporting option for each certifying authority depends on the software used for recordkeeping and the volume of certification work.
- The API (application programming interface) allows bulk data upload and suits certification practices that use cloud-based software.
- The SFTP (secure file transfer protocol) allows bulk data upload and generally suits most councils and some medium-sized private certification practices.
- The CertAbility app for mobile / tablet requires manual data entry for each project and suits low-volume certification practices (council or private).
You can change your reporting option if your business needs change. Each option suits a different business model, so it’s unlikely you’ll use more than one option.
Which option is best for my organisation?
API (application programming interface)
The API suits councils or certifiers that use or are considering cloud-based certification software.
Many of the major providers of certification software are currently updating their products. Contact your software provider for details. Updated software products will be listed on this webpage as soon as they are available. These will be the only products verified by the Government as meeting requirements.
Software providers and IT specialists, download the:
- API specifications from the NSW Government API website
- API descriptions spreadsheet
- Presentation from our April 2018 technical roadshow - slides 24-28 explain the API
- Building Certification Systems (BCS) certification software as compliant with the data reporting requirements.
When you’re ready to test your product email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and phone number to request access to the ‘Building Certifiers API’. You will initially be given access to a testing environment, to ensure error-free data transfers, before you can register for the production environment.
SFTP (secure file transfer protocol)
The SFTP suits councils or certifiers that:
- use a database or software package for recordkeeping, but it’s not necessarily certification software nor cloud-based
- have, or can access, IT capacity to make the necessary data and network changes to adopt the SFTP option (further IT support shouldn’t be required once the SFTP is set up).
If this sounds like you, download the:
- Technical documentation for the SFTP channel
- Presentation from our April 2018 technical roadshow - slides 16-23 explain the SFTP.
Note: the SFTP specifications are not forms to fill out – they are instructions for how to configure the data file. If you are a certifier or do not have expertise in software development, forward the documents without alteration to your IT/ software provider.
When you're ready to test your system email email@example.com with your contact details, organisation name and IP address. If needed, ask your IT service provider to ‘white list’ our IP addresses/names ( 22.214.171.124 | sftp.uat.onegov.nsw.gov.au ) and ( 126.96.36.199 | sftp.onegov.nsw.gov.au ).
You will initially be given access to a testing environment to make sure you transfer data without errors, before you can send data to the production environment.
CertAbility mobile / tablet app (iOS / Android)
The free CertAbility mobile / tablet app suits certification practices that:
- have a low volume of certification work (e.g. fewer than 50 PCA appointments per year)
- have limited or no in-house IT capacity
- use spreadsheets or similar documents for recordkeeping, rather than a database or dedicated certification software, and do not intend to upgrade
- have a mobile phone or tablet with an iOS (Apple) or Android system.
If this sounds like you, download CertAbility from the Apple store or Google Play store, then contact the Board to request access.
Minimum software requirements:
- iOS (iPhone / iPad): iOS software version 10.0 or later
- Android: software version 5.0 or later (6.0 or later recommended).
The app requires manual data entry for each project and is not suited for high-volume certification practices. If your practice is growing, consider either the API or SFTP for more long-term convenience.