Building Information Certificate
A Building Information Certificate once issued, effectively prevents Council from:
- making an order (or taking proceedings for the making of an order or injunction) requiring the subject building to be repaired, demolished, altered, added to or rebuilt, and
- taking proceedings in relation to any encroachment by the subject building onto land vested in or under the control of Council,
in relation to matters existing or occurring before the date of issue of the certificate.
However, a Building Information Certificate does not prevent Council:
- from making a fire safety order, or
- from taking proceedings against any person with respect to that person’s failure:
- to obtain a development consent with respect to the erection or use of the building, or
- to comply with the conditions of a development consent.
Why Get a Building Information Certificate?
There are generally two reasons people apply for a Building Information Certificate:
- To provide confidence when purchasing a property, or
- To seek to formalise unlawful building work.
Unlawful Building Work
Legislation specifies that a Construction Certificate (CC) is not valid if the work it is for has already commenced.
Similarly, a Development Application (DA) cannot retrospectively authorise building work that has already been done.
Sometimes, when a Building Information Certificate is received for building work that required prior approval (through a DA and CC), Council will recommend a DA be lodged also.
This DA (if approved) does not legalise the building work that has been done, but does authorise the ongoing use of the premises.
This effectively means that an offence is not continuing to be committed, but it does not change the fact that an offence was committed by carrying out the building work without approval (where it was required).
Because a Building Information Certificate prevents Council from issuing orders to make changes to the building, Council's authorised officers (usually a Building Surveyor) must be satisfied that the building work undertaken does not pose a health or safety risk. Whether the building work complies with the Building Code of Australia is also considered.
There are fees for making an application for a Building Information Certificate. See Council's Schedule of Fees and Charges for current fees.
Where a DA and/or CC, or CDC was required for the erection of the building within the 24 months immediately preceding the application, and was not obtained, an additional fee totalling the maximum that would be payable if the application were a DA and an application for a CC, may be payable before the application for the Building Information Certificate is processed.
All Building Information Certificates must be lodged with a recent surveyor's report showing all the buildings/structures on the relevant land, in relation to the property boundaries.
This is needed to:
- correctly identify the land the building relates to;
- check that the subject building is erected upon the correct land;
- check for the existence and location of any easements over the land in relation to the building;
- check the clearances of the subject building from the allotment boundaries;
- check whether the building encroaches onto other land including land under the control of Council; and
- identify the buildings that are stated on the application form.
If there have been no substantial changes on the property since a survey was done, an older survey may be accepted.
Make sure your application clearly identifies ALL the buildings you want Council to issue the certificate for.
If you only want the certificate for a part of a building, make sure you specify which part of which building.
Supplying a plan or diagram or photo with your application may help.
Council may require more information or documents (including building plans, specifications, survey reports and certificates) to determine the application. Whether any additional information is needed would usually be determined following an inspection of the subject building(s).
How do I apply?
You must apply for a Building Information Certificate using the NSW Planning Portal