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.

Please note this requirement currently applies to rural and outback areas of South Australia. This requirement will also apply to urban areas at a later date in 2021.

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 1 developments completed after 1 July 2020 but approved under the Development Act 1993 do not require a certificate of occupancy. All other classes of buildings (Class 2-9) completed after 1 July 2020 do require a certificate.

For developments approved after 1 July 2020 under the PDI Act, the Certificate of Occupancy will be issued via PlanSA, from 8 October 2020. Use of the form (linked below) should only be used if the PlanSA Portal is unavailable.

Overview

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.

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).

The Certificate of Occupancy will be issued by either the building certifier who approved the building plans or the local council. This will be nominated on the Decision Notification Form at development approval stage.

Note: Further advice into the applicability of Certificates of Occupancy for Class 1a additions (e.g. extensions and renovations) is currently being developed and will be available soon via the PlanSA Portal.

Requirements

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 currently 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).

Guidance

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
  • the owner or by someone acting on his or her behalf, after they have checked that all contracted work has been completed.

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 will be undertaken by either the building certifier who approved the building plans or the local council. This will be nominated on the Decision Notification Form at development approval stage.

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 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.

Fees

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 PlanSA's resources library.