Inspection services

Appointing a principal certifier

A principal certifier ensures that approved development and construction certification is compliant during construction. Building or subdivision work approved by the City of Sydney cannot start until a principal certifier has been appointed.

To appoint the City as principal certifier complete a building and subdivision work notice. The City must be appointed the principal certifier for works on land that will be dedicated to the City such as roadways, footways and drainage works associated with subdivision works.

Mandatory inspections

The key role of the principal certifier is to oversee the development’s construction phase and inspect specified elements of works in their critical stages to verify that all appropriate standards such as the Building Code of Australia are being met.

Critical stage mandatory inspections include:

  • building inspection before a construction certificate or complying development certificate is issued
  • foundation after excavation and before footings are placed
  • steel reinforcement in footings/slabs
  • framework
  • wet area waterproofing (bathrooms and laundries)
  • stormwater drainage connection
  • swimming pool barrier fencing
  • fire-protecting construction in buildings where people sleep, including sole-occupancy units in residential-type buildings and health care/aged care buildings.
  • completed works (final inspection) to verify that the building is suitable for occupation.

Residential development will generally require 4 to 5 inspections. For larger buildings where people sleep, the number of inspections will vary depending on the size and complexity of the building.

Works such as fit-outs affecting commercial or retail buildings will, in most cases, only require 2 inspections. Mandatory inspections must be carried out before an occupation certificate can be issued.

After a construction certificate or complying development certificate is issued a principal certifier must be appointed before work can start. Applicants are notified in writing at the construction certificate or complying development certificate approval stage about the inspections that must be undertaken.

It’s important to make sure the appointed builder or contractors are aware of the critical stage inspections that are required to ensure they are not missed, which could delay the building project, or an occupation certificate being issued.

If a critical stage inspection is missed, the certifier (the City acting as the principal certifier) is required under law to prepare a report and determine whether works can continue.

You must notify the City immediately if an inspection is missed.

Last updated: Sunday, 1 December 2019