If your project has a Development Approval, Construction Certificate or Complying Development Certificate, then follow the steps outlined below to lodge your compliance declarations and designs.
NB: You must be a registered design or building practitioner to complete these steps on the NSW Planning Portal.
Please expand each step to see additional information.
Step 1: Before building works start
Under the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020, as of 1 July 2021, registered design and building practitioners preparing to work on a Class 2 building are required to:
- declare that the regulated designs comply with the Building Code of Australia and other standards, codes or requirements. Design Compliance Declaration forms can be found on the <NSW Fair Trading website>.
- provide NSW Fair Trading with your proposed date for starting building work. This is done via the NSW Planning Portal.
- provide the builder with design compliance declarations and lodge the regulated designs on the NSW Planning Portal.
Before using the NSW Planning Portal, please read the Quick Reference Guides below.
You will be asked to provide the names of the builder and the designers involved in the building work. Also have ready any previous building approval obtained, for example DAxxx, CCxxx or CDCxxx.
If you have applied for building approval on the portal, by entering the reference, some information entered before will be pre-populated for you. For instance, the practitioner and certifier details entered in your construction certificate or complying construction certificate.
Access the portal using your Developer Account and follow the steps outlined in the quick reference guide.
Upload and lodgement of documents
The next step is to upload and lodge your documents. The nominated builder must be the person to lodge the regulated designs but can delegate the uploading only of the documents to someone else in their organisation or to a nominated registered designer (“appropriate practitioner”).
An appropriate practitioner is a designer connected with the building work and must be either a registered design practitioner or a principal design practitioner.
Important Note: The nominated builder or appropriate practitioner will need to access the portal using their own access to upload and lodge the documents.
Documents can be progressively uploaded but must be lodged as a complete set before building work can commence. Have the following documents ready before accessing the portal to start the upload and lodgement process:
- a set of construction-issued designs that the builder will use to start building work
- a copy of design compliance declarations provided by each registered designer who has prepared the construction-issued documents
- a principal compliance declaration (if there is a principal design practitioner appointed)
Remember to place your design compliance declarations into the Declarations folder. This will make it easier for NSW Fair Trading compliance officers and your certifier to find them when they are issuing certificates.
Step 2: Lodgement of variations after work has started
Changes during the building work can sometimes happen and the Act allows for variations to the documents to take place or new building elements or performance solutions emerge.
The builder is expected to obtain variations in the designs prior to doing the work onsite and should not be retrospective.
Any new building elements or performance solutions emerging during construction should have regulated construction-issued designs prior to building work starting. You will be able to upload and lodge these documents using the quick reference guide below.
Any variations in the construction-issued documents must be uploaded and lodged within one day of any building work taking place. Only the documents that are intended by the builder to be used will be required with the appropriate design compliance declaration.
Step 3: Submission of an Expected Completion Notice
The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 introduced the requirement to notify NSW Fair Trading with an Expected Completion Notice, at least 6 months, but not more than 12 months, before an application for an occupation certificate is made.
For building work started and carried out within 6 months, you will be able to submit an Expected Completion Notice but must provide a reason.
Access the portal using your Developer Account and please follow the steps set out in the quick reference guide.
If you change the expected date, you must provide an expected completion amendment notice on the NSW Planning Portal. There is no need to provide an expected completion amendment notice, if the actual date is still within -/+ 60 calendar days from the original date. Note that you can submit as many expected completion amendment notices as is necessary.
You must always provide a future date and cannot provide a past date.
Important Note: From August 2020 to September 2021, you may have provided notification via the NSW Fair Trading website but must resubmit on the NSW Planning Portal before applying for an occupation certificate.
Occupation certificate audits
When the Expected Completion Notice has been submitted, NSW Fair Trade compliance officers will assess the project or building work for audit. This process is carried out 2-3 months before the date you have provided.
If your expected date is less than six months, the compliance officers will indicate whether an occupation certificate audit is required 2-3 weeks after they receive the submission.
Strata building bond
The answers you provide to the questions will also determine your eligibility for the building bond under the Strata Building Bond and Inspection Scheme (SBBIS). Under this scheme, developers of new residential apartment buildings, 4 storeys or higher, must pay a bond to NSW Fair Trading equal to two percent of the total price paid or payable of all contracts for the building.
The eligibility check, recording of the building bond and payment of the service fee ($1,500) is carried out on the NSW Planning Portal. If you are not eligible to pay the strata building bond, you will not have an option start this process. If you are eligible then the building bond must be paid prior to you applying for your occupation certificate.
We have compiled a series of quick reference guides to help you with this process, these can be found on our Strata Building Bond lodgement page.
The strata building bond application can only be submitted after the as-built set of documents have been submitted and confirmed. See Step 4 – Before applying for an occupation certificate.
Step 4: Before applying for an Occupation Certificate
Before you apply for an occupation certificate, a set of construction-issued designs must have been uploaded and lodged into the portal, and the building compliance declaration completed online, accompanied by the following required documents:
- copies of variation statements – these are a statement of any variations to the work, other than in relation to a building element or performance solution, which is varied from the regulated designs. The statement should detail type, purpose and part of the building that was varied, as well as an explanation of how the variation meets the requirements of the Building Code of Australia
- copies of documents that contains additional details not reflected in the construction-issued regulated designs
- a copy of the contractor document – this is a mandatory statement of all the contractors used to provide services in the construction of the building.
- a copy of the principal compliance declaration, if a principal design practitioner was nominated on the project.
The portal has been designed to progressively accept documents before and during construction. If you have been uploading and lodging documents throughout the construction process, you will only need to confirm at the end whether the documents represent the as built.
Templates for the variation statement and the contractor document can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website. Note that the contractor document is a mandatory document and must be provided as part of the building compliance declaration.
For Class 2 projects, the portal will check the following items have been completed before allowing an application for an occupation certificate to proceed:
- Only the building practitioner can make the building compliance declaration. This is carried out using the Practitioner Account and should be done at the end of the construction when no further variations are expected. The documents will be tagged with as built when this has been done.
- The strata building bond application process must have been completed and the bond or guarantee sent to NSW Fair Trading before you will be allowed to proceed with an application for an occupation certificate. Note that this is only if applicable.
- NSW Fair Trading compliance officer has assessed the project and no audit is required or the audit has been successfully completed.
Applying for an occupation certificate
You can apply for an occupation certificate using a Developer Account.
We have compiled a series of quick reference guides to help you with this process, these can be found on our post-consent certificate – occupation certificate page.
A certifier will only issue the occupation certificate if they have all compliance declarations that should have been uploaded and lodged onto the NSW Planning Portal.
Step 5: After the issue of an Occupation Certificate
The portal will determine whether you need to carry out this step. This step only applies to building work started on or after 1st July 2021 and for building practitioners to complete.
In the majority of cases, the documents and design compliance declarations you provided before the occupation certificate was issued, will be the final documents. But, if variations to the designs or building is made after the original building compliance declaration has been made, any variations will need to be lodged.
A registered building practitioner needs to lodge any variations to the declared final set within 90 days of an occupation certificate being issued or confirm online that no variations have been made.
Please read and follow the steps outlined in the quick reference guide below: