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Post Consent Certificates

Strata Building Bond lodgement

The strata building bond is to be lodged with NSW Fair Trading before an application is made for the occupation certificate.

What is a strata building bond?

From January 2018, the Strata Building Bond & Inspections Scheme requires developers of new residential strata buildings (4 storeys and higher) to pay a building bond to NSW Fair Trading equal to 2% of the building contract price.

This building bond may be used to fix defects identified after an independent building inspection. If no defects are found, the bond is returned to the original property developer 2 years from the issue date of the occupation certificate.

The strata building bond must be lodged through the NSW Planning Portal (the Portal).

The scheme only applies to developments where:

  1. the building has 4 or more storeys. Buildings which are less than four storeys remain covered by the Home Building Compensation Fund
  2. the building will be used for residential purposes
  3. the building contract between the developer and the builder was entered into on or after 1 January 2018.

The strata building bond must be lodged through the NSW Planning Portal.

How to lodge a strata bond online

Before you start this process, you must be registered on the NSW Planning Portal. You will have already completed this step if you lodged a development application (DA) or post consent certificates related to your project.

If you do not have a Portal account, or are having problems registering, then this quick reference guide (QRG) will help you through the process.

QRG: Registering for the NSW Planning Portal

You will need to provide basic information about your project during the strata bond lodgement process. This includes related approval, the construction certificate, developer and builder contact information and relevant documents, like contract agreements and your final set of construction-issued regulated designs.

The steps for strata bond lodgement are outlined below. Please expand each step to see additional information.

Step 1: Intent to Seek an Occupation Certificate (ITSOC)

NB:You can only lodge your Intent to Seek an Occupation Certificate (ITSOC) after notifying NSW Fair Trading of your intent to commence building work. For more information on how to submit your intention to commence building work, please read the QRG below.

QRG: Enter Building Work Commencement

There are three important components to the ITSOC. These are:

  • Expected Completion Notice

From 1 September 2020, the Residential Apartment Building Act 2022 requires you to notify the Secretary (Department of Customer Service) of your expected completion notice (ECN) before applying for an occupation certificate (OC).

For everything you need to know about timeframes, requirements and your obligations to notify the Secretary of your expected completion, please visit NSW Fair Trading.

  • Strata Building Bond eligibility

You will be asked eligibility questions by NSW Fair Trading as part of your ECN submission to determine if a Strata Building Bond is payable. If you are required to pay a building bond, the system will allow you to start uploading relevant documents to accompany your application.

  • Upload and lodge your final set of construction issued regulated designs  

A set of final construction-issued regulated designs need to be provided through the Portal. These are the set of design documents that reflect what was built. The documents will be used for your building bond application and be made available to the NSW Fair Trading Occupation Certificate Auditors. The OC Auditors may request additional documents not listed in the Regulated Designs Guidelines.

NB: Your building practitioner must upload and lodge the regulated designs.

You cannot apply for an OC until you have met all your legal requirements. The below QRGs outline key elements to completing an ITSOC on the Portal.

QRG: Declare As-Built (Final Set)

QRG: How to validate the Intent to seek Occupation Certificate

Step 2: Initiate your Strata Building Bond

The developer is responsible for obtaining the strata building bond and lodging it with the Secretary (NSW Fair Trading).

The building bond can be a bank guarantee or ‘bond’. The bond should not be issued until NSW Fair Trading has agreed the value of the contract price with you.

Once you have entered and submitted your project information, paid the strata building bond lodgement fee and uploaded the additional documents via the Portal, the Strata Building Bond and Inspection Scheme team at NSW Fair Trading will review your application.

The below QRG outlines how to initiate a Strata Bond case.

QRG: How to submit a Strata Building Bond Case

Step 3: Respond to an Additional Information Request

You only need to do this step if the Strata Building Bond and Inspection Scheme team or the OC Audit team have requested more information and you have received an email notification.

The below QRG outlines how to respond to an additional information request.

QRG: Responding to Additional Requests

Step 4: Enter your final Strata Bond contract amount

Once a mutual agreement on the contract price and building bond value has been agreed upon, the Strata Building Bond and Inspection Scheme team will notify you that the building bond lodgement has been approved. You should then arrange for the building bond to be obtained.

The building bond can be a bank guarantee or ‘bond’ and must contain the reference number issued by the Portal. This reference number will be in the following format: SB-2020-##. Please visit NSW Fair Trading for more information on where to send the physical building bond.

At this stage you will need to enter the final contract price, bond amount and the bond issuer into the portal.

The below QRG outlines how to enter your final Strata Bond contract amount.

QRG: Enter Final Strata Bond Amount

Next steps

If you are eligible to pay a building bond, the application will now be reviewed by the Strata Building Bond team, and they will be in touch.

In parallel, your Expected Completion Notice will be sent to the Fair Trading Occupation Certificate (OC) Audit team.

If your development is chosen for an audit, the OC Audit will be carried out by inspectors from the Department of Customer Service. The audit involves a review of designs and documents (including contracts) for building work, as well as a physical inspection. You may be instructed to upload additional documentation into the portal for review by the inspectors.

If your development is not chosen for an audit, you will be able to apply for your OC once you have paid your building bond (if applicable).

Depending on the outcome of the assessment by the Strata Building Bond and OC Audit teams, you may be able to apply for an OC via the portal. For more information, please visit the Occupation Certificate page.

Portal fees

You are required to pay a digital application processing fee for certain planning applications and certificates in accordance with the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021.

A full list of fees can be found on the NSW Planning Portal Service Fees page.

Further assistance

Our Developer and Practitioner Resources page has plenty of resources to help developers and practitioners navigate the Portal.

If you have any queries about the broader building industry reforms in NSW, please visit NSW Fair Trading

If you need further assistance using the NSW Planning Portal, please review our extensive range of QRGs and resources. You can also contact ServiceNSW by calling 1300 305 695 or emailing [email protected] for help.

Last updated: 25/08/2023