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Post Consent Certificates

Strata Building Bond lodgement

Under the Strata Building Bond and Inspections Scheme, the strata building bond is to be lodged with NSW Fair Trading before an application is made for the Occupation Certificate. This is lodged via the NSW Planning Portal.

Under the strata building bond scheme, from 1 January 2018 developers of new residential strata buildings (four storeys and higher) are required to pay a building bond to NSW Fair Trading equal to two per cent of the building contract price.

This building bond may be used to pay for any identified rectification work, if the developer has failed to do so. If there are no defects identified, after an independent building inspection, the bond is returned to the original property developer two years from the issue date of the occupation certification.

The scheme only applies to developments where:

  1. the building has four or more storeys – note that buildings which are less than four storeys remain covered by the Home Building Compensation Fund
  2. the building will be used for residential purposes
  3. the building contract between the developer and the builder was entered into on or after 1 January 2018.

The strata building bond must be lodged through the NSW Planning Portal.

How to lodge a strata bond online

Before you start this process, you must be registered on the NSW Planning Portal.

If you lodged the Development Application or your post consent certificates related to this project through the NSW Planning Portal, then you would have already completed this step.

If you do not have a NSW Planning Portal account, or are having problems registering, then this quick reference guide will help you through the process.

QRG: Registering for the NSW Planning Portal

During the process of lodging a strata bond, you will need to provide some basic information about your project, including the related determined approval and construction certificate, and contact information for the developer and builder, as well as relevant documents e.g. contract agreements and final set of construction issued regulated designs.

We recommend that you have this information on hand when completing your application.

The steps you will need to follow for strata bond lodgement are outlined below. Please expand each step to see additional information.

Step 1: Initiate Building Work Commencement (BWC) and nominate practitioners

Developers and Building Practitioners have a requirement under the EPA Act to notify the Council at least two days before building work commences.

Our Developer and Practitioner Resources page has extra resources to help with this stage of the process.

Important: Building Practitioners or their nominated Appropriate Practitioner must lodge a set of declared construction issued regulated designs prior to the commencement of building work. Providing building practitioner details is mandatory and, where known design practitioner details should also be provided. If a Principal Design Practitioner has been engaged then these details must also be provided.

From 1 July 2021, this is a requirement under the Design and Building Practitioner Act 2020 for developments that have not started building work.

Using the Intention to commence building work functionality on the NSW Planning Portal, developers can notify NSW Fair Trading when building work is expected to commence.

QRG:  Providing Intention to Commence Building Work

Where approvals for Complying Development Certificates and Construction Certificates were received before 1 July 2021, not in the NSW Planning Portal, a developer is required to inform the Secretary of a Building Works Commencement date. The following guide shows how to do this on the NSW Planning Portal

QRG:  Providing Intention to Commence Building Work (for work approved before 1 July 2021)

Step 2: Intent to Seek Occupation Certificate (ITSOC)

There are three important components to the Intent to Seek Occupation Certificate. These are:

  • Expected Completion Notice

From 1 September 2020, you are required to notify the Secretary (Department of Customer Service) of your expected completion notice before applying for an occupation certificate. For everything you need to know about timeframes, requirements and your obligations to notify the Secretary of your expected completion notice under the Residential Apartment Building Act 2020, please visit NSW Fair Trading.

Note: If you have submitted an Expected Completion Notice on the NSW Fair Trading website form, you will still need to resubmit using the NSW Planning Portal.

  • Eligibility for the strata building bond

You will be asked eligibility questions to determine if a strata building bond is payable. If you are required to pay a building bond, the system will allow you to start uploading documents which will accompany your application.

  • Upload and lodge your final set of construction issued regulated designs  

A set of final construction issued regulated designs need to be provided through the NSW Planning Portal. These are the set of design documents that reflect what was built. These documents will be used for your building bond application and be made available to the NSW Fair Trading Occupation Certificate Auditors. The OC Auditors may request additional documents not listed in the Regulated Designs Guidelines.

Note: Your building practitioner must upload and lodge the regulated designs.

Remember that you cannot apply for an occupation certificate until you have met all you legal requirements. The below quick reference guide outlines key elements to completing an Intent to Seek Occupation Certificate on the NSW Planning Portal.

QRG: Declaring As-Built (Final Set) Documents

QRG: Lodging an Intent to Seek OC

Step 3: Initiate your Strata Building Bond

The developer is responsible for obtaining the strata building bond and lodging it with the Secretary (NSW Fair Trading). 

The building bond can be a bank guarantee or ‘bond’ and should not be issued until NSW Fair Trading has agreed the value of the contract price with you.

Once you have entered and submitted your project information, paid the strata building bond lodgement fee and uploaded the additional documents via the Planning Portal, the Strata Building Bond and Inspection Scheme team at NSW Fair Trading will review your application.

The below quick reference guide outlines how to initiate a Strata Bond case.

QRG: Initiating a Strata Bond Case

Step 4: Respond to an Additional Information Request

You only need to do this step if the Strata Building Bond and Inspection Scheme team or the OC Audit team have requested more information and you have received an email notification.

The below quick reference guide outlines how to respond to an additional information request.

QRG: Responding to Additional Requests

Step 5: Enter your final Strata Bond contract amount

Once a mutual agreement on the contract price and building bond value has been agreed upon, you should arrange for the building bond to be obtained. The Strata Building Bond and Inspection Scheme team will notify you that the building bond lodgement has been approved.

The building bond can be a bank guarantee or ‘bond’ and must contain the reference number issued by the NSW Planning Portal. This reference number will be in the following format: SB-2020-##. please visit NSW Fair Trading for more information on where to send the physical building bond.

At this stage you will need to enter the final contract price, bond amount and the bond issuer into the NSW Planning Portal.

The below quick reference guide outlines how to enter your final Strata Bond contract amount.

QRG: Enter Final Strata Bond Amount

Next steps

If you are eligible to pay a building bond, the application will now be reviewed by the Strata Building Bond and they will be in touch.

In parallel, your Expected Completion Notice will be sent to the Fair Trading Occupation Certificate (OC) Audit team.

If your development is chosen for an audit, the OC Audit will be carried out by inspectors from the Department of Customer Service. The audit involves a review of designs and documents (including contracts) for building work, as well as a physical inspection. You may be instructed to upload additional documentation into the NSW Planning Portal for review by the inspectors.

If your development is not chosen for an audit, you will be able to apply for your occupation certificate, once you have paid your building bond, if applicable.

Depending on the outcome of the assessment by the Strata Building Bond and OC Audit teams (if relevant), you may be able to apply for an Occupation Certificate via the NSW Planning Portal. For more information, please visit the Occupation Certificate page on the Portal.

Portal fees

In accordance with the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, applicants are required to pay a digital application processing fee for certain planning applications and certificates.

A full list of fees can be found on the NSW Planning Portal Service Fees page.

Further assistance

Our Developer and Practitioner Resources page has plenty of resources to help developers and practitioners navigate the NSW Planning Portal.

If you have any queries about the broader building industry reforms in NSW, please visit NSW Fair Trading

If you need further assistance using the NSW Planning Portal, please review our extensive range of quick reference guides and resources contact ServiceNSW for assistance.

Call 1300 305 695 or email [email protected].