New Guidelines – Occupation Certificates and Written Direction Notices - NSW
December 09, 2019
This information sheet is aimed at providing an update of the status of the new provisions in Part 6 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A) including new provisions for Occupation Certificates (OC) and Written Directions Notices (Directions). This includes the removal of the term ‘interim OC’ from the EP&A Act.
In March 2018 amendments were made to Part 6 of the EP&A Act to streamline building and subdivision certificates. Some of the changes to Part 6 commenced 1 September 2018 however the following changes were deferred until 1 December 2019:
- Removal of interim occupation certificates.
- A new certificate for subdivision works, separating subdivision from construction works.
- Powers for principal certifiers to issue directions to quickly act on non-compliant aspects of a development.
As of 1 December 2019, any Development Approval (DA) or Complying Development Certificate (CDC) issued will be subject to the new provisions of Part 6 of the EP&A Act which includes:
- The new OC provisions will remove the distinction in the former framework between interim and final OCs in favour of one certificate which covers multiple situations.
- ‘Interim’ and ‘final’ OCs can no longer be issued for development consents granted after that date
- An OC can be issued for either part of or, the whole of a building, including parts of partially completed buildings. While the Act will simply call them all OCs it essentially means that the new types of OC are: ‘Partial OC’ and ‘Whole OC’. An OC may also be issued for ‘Part’ of a building such as when only a part of an existing building undergoes a change of use.
- Where a Partial OC is issued the remaining works related to the consent must be completed within 5 years. The local Council may enforce this by using new penalties for failing to complete the works within 5 years of issuance of Partial OC (this penalty may only be issued to the land owner).
Note: The changes will not apply to development consents or OCs issued before 1 December 2019, including uncommenced deferred commencement consents. Instead those approvals will remain subject to former building and subdivision certificates (as in force immediately before the repeal of that Part).
- A construction certificate can no longer be used to certify ‘subdivision work’. A construction certificate will only now certify building work.
- A Subdivision Works Certificates (SWC) only applies to development consents granted from 1 December 2019. Development consents granted prior to this date, including un-commenced deferred commencement consents, will require a construction certificate under the former EP&A Act provisions.
- A SWC is different to a ‘subdivision certificate’, it certifies that proposed subdivision work that is completed in accordance with specified plans will comply with the requirements of the regulations. Whereas, a subdivision certificate authorises the registration of a plan of subdivision under Part 23 of the Conveyancing Act 1919.
Written Directions Notice
- The new written directions notice strengthens the powers of private principal certifiers by making certain compliance actions mandatory while providing a process to be followed.
- Principal certifiers will no longer be able to issue a notice of intention to give an order.
- A principal certifier must issue a written directions notice in respect of non-compliances and direct the person responsible for the non-compliance to take specific action to prevent or remedy the non-compliance within a prescribed timeframe. A non-compliance is where works have been carried out that do not accord with a development consent or complying development certificate, including any approved plans and development consent conditions. A non-compliance does not include things which need rectifying as part of a critical stage inspections (CSI) rather, the current requirement for minor issues to be rectified before a CSI is passed will remain the same.
What does this new OC regime look like in practice (for houses)?
DA or CDC issued before 1 December 2019:
DA or CDC issued from 1 December 2019:
The Department has released further information on its website on these changes including guidelines and a Written Direction Notice Template.
To find out more, please click on the following links:
For further clarification and information HIA members can contact HIA’s Building Services team on 1300 650 620 or firstname.lastname@example.org.