Building certification services

Building certification services

Digital requirements

Please note, we have new digital requirements for building certification applications.

Digital requirements

Our role

The City of Sydney approves and controls building activity on private land and public spaces. These statutory functions include inspecting building works as the principal certifying authority to ensure regulations, building codes and standards are compliant.

We are also responsible for approving temporary structures such as construction hoardings and scaffolding erected on public roadways and other temporary structures such as stages and marquees associated with community and City events.

Other services our Building Certification Services Unit provides:

  • On-site pre-approval meetings with builders wishing to install hoardings and scaffolding.
  • Reports on Building Code of Australia (BCA) compliance relating to existing buildings undergoing alteration.
  • Pre-DA advice on existing buildings undergoing substantial alteration.
  • Pre-DA advice on change of use (classification) regarding BCA compliance aspects and clauses 93 and 94 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 related to BCA upgrading.

Our technical team members are accredited under the Building Professionals Act and registered with the NSW Building Professionals Board to carry out the statutory functions of an accredited certifier. This includes entering into a contract with customers to undertake certification work.

Approval requirements

Certain approvals are required before you undertake building works. The majority of development activity in the City requires approval through a development application (DA).

When development consent is granted, a construction certificate must be obtained before work can start.

Some building works and change of building use can be undertaken through a simpler approval process called complying development. In most cases, approval under this system is issued within 10 days. There are many categories of complying development. Works that are carried out without any formal approval are called exempt development. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has further information.

Approval services 

The City offers building approval services as a certifying authority. Under the law we are required to enter into a contract with customers to assess applications, undertake inspections and to issue certificates. If you wish to appoint the City as your principal certifying authority you must also complete a contract for certification work with your application. 


Building Code of Australia (BCA) classifications

Part of a certifier's role in issuing a construction certificate and complying development certificate is to classify the building or structure in accordance with the BCA. This also applies when an occupation certificate is issued. 

The BCA is a national code, administered by the Australian Building Codes Board, a Commonwealth Government agency.

There are 10 principal building classifications in the BCA. The various classes applying in NSW are:

Class 1: one or more buildings which in association constitute -

  1. Class 1a - a single dwelling being -
    1. a detached house; or
    2. one of a group of two or more attached dwellings, each being a building, separated by a fire-resisting wall, including a row house, terrace house, town house or villa unit; or
  2. Class 1b -
    1. a boarding house, guest house, hostel or the like -
      1. with a total area of all floors not exceeding 300 m² measured over the enclosing walls of the Class 1b; and
      2. in which not more than 12 persons would ordinarily be resident; or
    2. 4 or more single dwellings located on one allotment and used for short-term holiday accommodation,

which are not located above or below another dwelling or another Class of building other than a private garage.

Class 2: a building containing 2 or more sole-occupancy units each being a separate dwelling.

Class 3: a residential building, other than a building of Class 1 or 2, which is a common place of long term or transient living for a number of unrelated persons, including -

  1. a boarding house, guest house, hostel, lodging house or backpackers accommodation; or
  2. a residential part of a hotel or motel; or
  3. a residential part of a school; or
  4. accommodation for the aged, children or people with disabilities; or
  5. a residential part of a health-care building which accommodates members of staff; or
  6. a residential part of a detention centre.

Class 4: a dwelling in a building that is Class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 if it is the only dwelling in the building.

Class 5: an office building used for professional or commercial purposes, excluding buildings of Class 6, 7, 8 or 9.

Class 6: a shop or other building for the sale of goods by retail or the supply of services direct to the public, including -

  1. an eating room , cafe, restaurant, milk or soft-drink bar; or
  2. a dining room, bar area that is not an assembly building, shop or kiosk part of a hotel or motel; or
  3. a hairdresser's or barber's shop, public laundry, or undertaker's establishment; or
  4. market or saleroom, showroom, or service station.

Class 7: a building which is -

  1. Class 7a - a carpark; or
  2. Class 7b - for storage, or display of goods or produce for sale by wholesale.

Class 8: a laboratory, or a building in which a handicraft or process for the production, assembling, altering, repairing, packing, finishing, or cleaning of goods or produce is carried on for trade, sale, or gain.

Class 9: a building of a public nature -

  1. Class 9a - a health-care building, including those parts of the building set aside as a laboratory; or
  2. Class 9b - an assembly building, including a trade workshop, laboratory or the like in a primary or secondary school, but excluding any other parts of the building that are of another Class; or
  3. Class 9c - an aged care building.

Class 10: a non-habitable building or structure -

  1. Class 10a - a non-habitable building being a private garage, carport, shed, or the like; or
  2. Class 10b - a structure being a fence, mast, antenna, retaining or freestanding wall, swimming pool, or the like; or
  3. Class 10c - a private bushfire shelter.

Last updated: Friday, 13 January 2017