Certificate of Occupancy

In South Australia a Certificate of Occupancy is required for all new buildings (and building work where applicable) approved and built under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (the PDI Act), excluding Class 10 structures such as sheds, carports, verandahs and the like.

The requirement of a Certificate of Occupancy now extends to Class 1 buildings (houses) under the PDI Act. This is a key change under the new system which owners, councils, certifiers and builders need to be aware of.

Class 1a developments that have building rules consent granted under the Development Act 1993 and which are to be completed on or after the 19 March 2021 do not require a Certificate of Occupancy. All other habitable classes of buildings (Class 1b-9) where building work takes place on or after 19 March 2021 do require a certificate.

For buildings that require a Certificate of Occupancy under the PDI Act, this Certificate will be issued via PlanSA. Use of the form (linked below) should only be used if the PlanSA portal is unavailable.

About Certificates of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy is required for all new buildings (and building work where applicable) under the PDI Act (Class 1 to 9). This requirement excludes Class 10 structures such as sheds, carports, verandahs and the like.

The ‘Decision Notification Form’ will list whether a Certificate is necessary for the approved development as who will be issuing it – either the building certifier who approved the building plans or the local council

The purpose of this Certificate is to provide assurance to the owner that the building that has been constructed is suitable for occupancy. The Certificate will be issued electronically via the PlanSA portal.

A building approved under the PDI Act cannot be occupied until the Certificate of Occupancy has been issued. To do so represents a breach of the Act with a substantial penalty attached (up to $10,000).

An application for a Certificate of Occupancy must:

  • include any information required by the council or building certifier
  • be accompanied by certificates, reports or other documentation as the regulations may require (including the Statement of Compliance)
  • be accompanied by the appropriate fee.

Note: specific requirements in relation to individual buildings may differ and the applicant and the building certifier or council will need to clearly communicate these requirements as the application for the Certificate is made via the PlanSA portal.

Owners should note that there is no specific checklist for the issuing of a Certificate of Occupancy and it is considered building certifiers or council will exercise their professional judgement in determining whether a building is suitable for occupancy, so long as the requirements of the PDI Act and General Regulations are met.

Further advice in relation to this issue is provided in the Advisory Notice linked below (see Additional Information).

The application for and the issuing of a Certificate of Occupancy must take place in accordance with the requirements of the PDI Act and the General Regulations.

Following completion of construction an application for a Certificate of Occupancy can be made by the applicant or owner via the PlanSA portal.

A key document that must be provided for the application process to commence is a completed Statement of Compliance. This Statement is prepared by the builder at the end of the construction process. This Statement must be signed by:

  • a licensed building work contractor responsible for carrying out the work, a registered building work supervisor, or a building certifier, after they have completed all contracted work (Part A)
  • the owner or by someone acting on his or her behalf, after they have checked that all contracted work has been completed (Part B).

Note: the person who signs Part B of the Statement cannot be the same person who signs Part A of the Statement.

Once all required documentation has been received then the process for issuing the Certificate can commence, during which the council or certifier will verify that all necessary requirements have been met.

This process has been built into the new PlanSA portal; however, a PDF version of the Certificate remains available (as a backup only, see below).

The timeframe for issuing a Certificate of Occupancy is five (5) business days from receipt of the council / builder certifier receiving a valid application for a Certificate, and 20 business days if a report from a fire authority is necessary (Class 2 to 9s only, if applicable).

Note: a slightly longer timeframe than five business days will apply if a building has been nominated for a completion inspection by council. In this instance the inspection and any rectification work required must be completed prior to the Certificate being issued.

The statutory fee for a Certificate of Occupancy is set by the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Fees, Charges and Contributions) Regulations 2019.

A list of current fees, including the statutory fee for a Certificate of Occupancy is available.

The statutory fee is the fee that a council may levy for issuing a Certificate. If your Certificate is issued by a building certifier then they are able to charge a private fee for performing this function.

Documents

If you can't find a document, try searching the PlanSA resources library.