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The commencement of the Part 6 provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act has been postponed until 1 December 2019. 

This delay will allow time for the sector to adjust to the regulatory changes that have been progressing around fire safety and the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018. 

It will also allow time for the Department to work with practitioners and other industry stakeholders to educate and prepare them for changes before they come into effect.

Until the new building and certification provisions take effect on 1 December 2019, the current building provisions that were in force prior to 1 March 2018 continue to apply. 

The purpose of this article is to provide a summary of the following three key points:

  • New occupation certificates provisions (OC)
  • New mandatory compliance powers for principal certifiers; and
  • A new subdivision works certificate (SWC).
Key aspects of the new occupation certificate

From 1 December 2019: 

  • The new OC provisions will remove the distinction in the former framework between interim and final OCs in favour of one certificate which covers multiple situations.
  • ‘Interim’ and ‘final’ OCs can no longer be issued for development consents granted after that date
  • An OC can be issued for either ‘part of’ or ‘the whole of a building’, including parts of partially completed buildings. 

The changes will not apply to development consents or OCs issued before 1 December 2019, including uncommenced deferred commencement consents. Instead those approvals will remain subject to former building and subdivision certificates (as in force immediately before the repeal of that Part).

Key aspects of the new direction powers

From 1 December 2019:

  • The new written directions notice strengthens the powers of private principal certifiers by making certain compliance actions mandatory while providing a process to be followed.
  • Principal certifiers will no longer be able to issue a notice of intention to give an order. 
  • A principal certifier must issue a written directions notice in respect of non-compliances and direct the person responsible for the non-compliance to take specific action to prevent or remedy the non-compliance within a prescribed timeframe. 
  • A template for a written directions notice (with all required content/information) will be made available on the Department’s website. 
Key aspects of the new subdivision works certificate

From 1 December 2019:

  • A construction certificate can no longer be used to certify ‘subdivision work’. A construction certificate will only now certify building work.
  • A SWC only applies to development consents granted from 1 December 2019. Development consents granted prior to this date, including uncommenced deferred commencement consents, will require a construction certificate under the former EP&A Act provisions.
  • A SWC is different to a ‘subdivision certificate’, it certifies that proposed subdivision work that is completed in accordance with specified plans will comply with the requirements of the regulations. Whereas, a subdivision certificate authorises the registration of a plan of subdivision under Part 23 of the Conveyancing Act 1919. 

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