Certification and development applications

Getting ready to build requires planning and an understanding and adherence of the local and state legislation in your state. While NSW is not too different to the other states and territories when it comes to building legislation, there are several things to keep in mind before undertaking a large renovation or building project.

In NSW, any work exceeding $1,000 (including GST) will require the trades-person - doing the work – to hold a current and valid trade license. When you consider that most work around the house will exceed $1,000, this means that everybody you employ will need a trade license. Also bear in mind that work includes, time, material, quotes and GST, so there’s rarely much change from $1,000.

Employing a builder

Even as an owner builder, it may be best to employ a builder to take control of and manage your building work. Think of your builder as an essential part of your project. Although they may not actually do any hands on ‘building’, they will supervise all trades on the job, co-ordinating them and ensuring the project time lines remain intact despite any trade ‘drop outs’, set backs, or budget blow outs. In my opinion, this is money well spent.

With that amount of responsibility falling on the shoulders of one person, it is essential that the contract you go into with your builder is both clear and binding. To do this, it may be worth engaging with a neutral third party to intervene or coordinate any disagreements or disputes you have with your builder along the way (in the heat of the moment, when things aren’t going as smoothly as they should, things can be said that are hard to retract). Remember your  project may span over a year, so your relationship with your builder needs to be solid.


Development Application (DA)

In NSW you may also require a development application from your local government. These can take over three months to approve once the application has been submitted by your architect, builder or by yourself if you are acting as an owner builder.

Construction Certificate

A construction certificate is another ticket you’ll need before beginning work on your renovation or building. The purpose of this, is to ensure that your plans are compliant with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and your plans have not diverted from the development application.

While changes to the building/renovation may occur along the way ie. a window added or position altered, a revision of the original DA may be required by council and subsequently, these can be rejected.

Principal Certifying Authority (PCA)

The last certification you’ll need before work can commence on your site is a Principal Certifying Authority (CPA). Essentially the CPA is a third party accredited professional who will monitor the progress throughout your building process inspecting that the building adheres to the DA. Once you’ve chosen the PCA, you can notify the council of their appointment and work on your build may begin.

While all of the above steps are usually adhered to in order to gain a completion certificate and building warranty on completion, in some circumstances it is possible to bypass this process and obtain a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) in under 10 days. To do this a town planner or accredited building certifier must inspect your property prior to the commencement of work.

If you require any further info on any of these certificates or building procedures, or would like to engage with a builder or planner, contact Just Screw It for an obligation free quote.

Just Screw It encourages employing sustainable design and building practices to have a positive effect on local and global environments.