building certificate
  • June 29, 2021
  • Effective Building
  • 0

There’s a significant misconception between a building certificate and a building permit.

It’s important to know that a building certificate is a council-issued document that won’t take particular actions on your property. But just like with any documentation needed when buying or selling the property, building certificates can do more than just that.

Continue reading to learn more.

What is a Building Certificate?

Some people think that a Building Certificate is meant to certify a council-approved and safe occupancy. However, this isn’t the case.

If this is what you thought, then you’re wrong, as what you’re referring to is a Certificate of Occupancy provided by a licensed building surveyor.

It is also not a scope of Building Certificate to state that the council has approved for construction or renovation to proceed; it’s the Building Permit.

Instead, a Building Certificate’s actual job is to certify that the Council will not take any intervention regarding the property being bought or sold.

Why is a Building Certificate Important?

As part of the Council to implement building codes, the Council may issue orders to property owners, commanding them to start or stop specific actions if there’s any violation against Australian building codes or legislation.

For instance, the Council may issue orders to:

  • Start immediate repair work
  • Stop work that violates specific rules
  • Pause construction until a building inspection is performed
  • Repair work that intrudes on neighbouring properties.
  • Demolish unsafe structures.

A Building Certificate informs both the buyer and seller that the Council will not take any action or file an order in the next seven years. This assures you that you won’t have to pay for costly demolition work or repairs after residing in.

When To Apply for a Building Certificate?

We recommend you apply for a Building Certificate as early as when you’re in the buying/selling process. You don’t want to wait for the local Council to surprise you at the last minute.

A building certificate can be requested by the current owner of the property, a prospective purchaser, a third party who works on behalf of the owner or buyers like an agent, or public authorities.

Many buyers assume that the seller has already done their part and guaranteed that the property isn’t the subject of an order. However, remember that there’s no law saying that the sellers have to provide a Building Certificate.

This is why buyers should do their part and apply for a Building Certificate just in case.


Council Order frequently targets the renovations. Many home renovations are DIY jobs done without the appropriate approval. These become targets of Council Orders if there is inappropriate work or not up to scratch.

So, if the property you’re looking to buy has many renovations done on it, requesting a Building Certificate is a good idea.

How to Apply for a Building Certificate in Sydney?

You need to provide details of building plans, specifications, survey reports, and other necessary certificates or information requested by the council.

All the reports should be original and up-to-date. Once these documents are on hand, you need to take them to the Council and file a request.

How Can Effective Building & Consultancy Help You?

Getting a Building Certificate and other documents required when buying or selling a property is a tedious task. Include the Council in the process may leave you exhausted for weeks in getting the approval.

Good thing there’s a better way to save yourself from headaches.

At Effective Building & Consultancy, we can help clients who need a building approved by the council when they have done some works without gaining approvals. Sometimes, people can purchase a property not knowing that part of the structure has been built without a development application.

So the process to get approvals is to get a certificate from different consultants such as engineer, electrician, plumber, waterproofer, town planners report and a survey or a fire report.

It may be complex for you to do it alone, but don’t worry. Whether you’re a professional property developer, a first home buyer, or want to renovate your home, Elie Farah, our professional building consultant, can take care of the hard work for you.

If you have questions, call us today at 02 9613 3353.

For more information about Sydney building inspection, visit our Help Centre.


Click here for a FREE QUOTE and get a $25 VOUCHER for any of our services!



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About Elie Farah

Elie Farah is a Building Consultant with over 25 years of experience in the property industry. Elie has specialised knowledge in development acquisitions, blue-chip properties and inspections, as well as flood-affected and waterfront properties, heritage buildings, bushfire management and existing use rights.

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