The Occupation Certificate (OC) authorises the occupation and use of a new building or part of a building. For staged works, a Part OC may be issued which allows you to occupy the completed part of the building.
Depending on the particular OC sought, the Principal Certifier must be satisfied the development meets various regulatory standards. These generally include that:
- A development consent is in force.
- The design and construction of the building is not inconsistent with the development consent.
- Any pre-conditions set out in the consent or requirements of planning agreements have been satisfied.
- A Construction Certificate (CC) has been issued.
- That the building is suitable for occupation (in accordance with its Building Code of Australia (BCA) classification).
Issuing the OC for the whole of the development is the last step in the formal Development Application (DA) and construction process (though there could be ongoing ‘operational’ conditions such as maintaining appropriate noise levels or landscape maintenance).
An Occupation certificate is required for the use, occupation or change of use of a new building subject to a Complying Development Certificate or Construction Certificate.
A Building Compliance Declaration and other prescribed documents must be submitted before an application is made for an OC where the building, or a part of the building, is a Class 2 building *, and the OC application is made on or after 1 July 2021
Class 2 Residential applications
Property developers for Class 2 developments are required to lodge their intention to seek an Occupation Certificate.
As such, compliance gates to ensure compliance with the Residential Apartment Buildings Act, Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and the Design and Building Practitioner Act 2020 have been implemented into the NSW Planning Portal to prevent the applicant/property developer from initiating an application for an occupation certificate if compliance gates are not met.
- Failure to give notice within 6-12 months before the application for the occupation certificate was made.
- Failure to give expected completion amendment notice (if original estimate expected date changed).
- Failure to give your intention to commence building work, for building work starting after 1 July 2021.
- Fair Trading compliance officers have determined that a pre-OC audit is required, or serious defects exist.
- Compliance declarations and regulated designs not lodged by registered practitioners.
- Strata building bond under Strata Management Act 2015 has not been lodged with associated documents, if applicable.
Compliance declarations are lodged online through NSW Planning Portal. Certain declarations must be lodged: before building work commences, as variations arise, before the issue of an OC, and 90 days after OC is issued.
More information on the application process for developers and practitioners, including the intent to seek an occupation certificate, is available in our Developer and Practitioner Resources section.
From 1 July 2021, all councils in NSW will be required to use the NSW Planning Portal to process Occupation Certificates. You can apply for an Occupation Certificate via the NSW Planning Portal when lodging a Development Application.
How to apply online
- Register for a NSW Planning Portal account to start your application.
- Log in to complete the online application form.
If you need assistance using the NSW Planning Portal, please review our extensive range of quick reference guides and resources.
In accordance with the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021, applicants are required to pay a digital application processing fee for certain planning applications and certificates.
A full list of fees can be found on the NSW Planning Portal Service Fees page.
*A Class 2 building is a building containing two or more sole-occupancy units, each being a separate dwelling.