NB: You must be a registered design or building practitioner or nominated as an appropriate practitioner to complete these steps on the NSW Planning Portal.
NSW Planning Portal enhancements
From 15 May 2023, changes to the NSW Planning Portal affect the online workflow for development projects needing DA, CC or CDC. Watch the video to learn about these portal changes.
Before using the NSW Planning Portal, please read the quick reference guide (QRG) below.
QRG: Registering for the NSW Planning Portal
Step 1: Before building works start
From 1 July 2021, The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 requires registered design and building practitioners preparing to work on a Class 2 building to:
- declare that the regulated designs comply with the Building Code of Australia and other standards, codes or requirements.
- This is done by submitting Design Compliance Declaration forms found on the <NSW Fair Trading website>.
- provide NSW Fair Trading with your proposed date for building work commencement via the NSW Planning Portal.
- provide the builder with design compliance declarations and lodge the regulated designs on the NSW Planning Portal.
You will be asked to provide the names of the builder and the designers involved in the building work. Ensure you have any previously obtained building approval references ready, for example DA-xxx, CC-xxx or CDC-xxx. The NSW Planning Portal will pre-populate information from previous applications for you.
A ‘My Development’ page is created if your development is under a development approval (PAN-xxx) or complying development certificate (C-xxx).
QRG: How to navigate the My Development sites page
Access the NSW Planning Portal using your Developer Account and follow the steps to submit your building work commencement date outlined in the quick reference guide and video.
Managing Building Works
QRG: How to enter the building work commencement information
Create the building work case
A building work case is a document repository for your development. You will need to create your building work case within the My Development page.
QRG: How to create a building work case
Upload and lodgement of documents
The next step is to upload and lodge your documents to the building work case on the NSW Planning Portal. The nominated builder must be the person to lodge the regulated designs but can delegate the uploading only of the documents to someone else in their organisation or to a nominated registered designer (appropriate practitioner).
NB: The nominated builder or appropriate practitioner will need to login to the NSW Planning Portal using their own access for document uploads and lodgement.
Watch the video and read through the quick reference guides below to learn about uploading and lodging regulated designs. The first QRG is for building practitioners, while the second QRG is for developers or appropriate practitioners.
Lodging and Declaring Regulated Designs
QRG: How to upload and lodge regulated designs
QRG: How to upload regulated designs and declarations
Documents can be progressively uploaded but must be lodged as a complete set for each construction certificate before building work can commence. Have the following documents ready before accessing the NSW Planning Portal to start the upload and lodgement process:
- A set of construction-issued designs that the builder will use to start building work
- A copy of design compliance declarations provided by each registered designer who has prepared the construction-issued documents
- A principal compliance declaration (if there is a principal design practitioner appointed)
Remember to place your design compliance declarations into the Declarations folder within the building work case. This will make it easier for NSW Fair Trading compliance officers and your certifier to find them when they are issuing certificates.
Step 2: Lodgement of variations after work has started
Changes during the building work can sometimes happen and the Act allows for variations to the documents to take place when new building elements or performance solutions emerge.
The builder is expected to obtain regulated construction-issued variations in the designs prior to doing the work onsite and should not be retrospective.
Any variations in the construction-issued documents must be uploaded and lodged within one day of any building work taking place.
You will be able to upload and lodge these variation documents using the quick reference guide below.
QRG: How to upload and lodge regulated designs
Step 3: Submission of an Expected Completion Notice
The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 requires you to notify NSW Fair Trading with an Expected Completion Notice (ECN).
An ECN needs to be given at least 6 months, but not more than 12 months, before applying for an Occupation Certificate (OC).
You must provide a reason when lodging your ECN if building work is to be started and carried out within 6 months.
If you change the expected date, you must provide an expected completion amendment notice on the NSW Planning Portal.
Please read the quick reference guide below to help you submit and amend an ECN.
QRG: How to submit the expected completion amendment notice
The Intent to Seek an Occupation Certificate (ITSOC) process is part of the ECN submission. There must be one ITSOC case for each OC you want to apply for.
Watch the video to learn how a developer notifies NSW Fair Trading of the intent to seek an Occupation Certificate and read through the steps to submit the ITSOC via the NSW Planning Portal in the quick reference guide.
Intent to Seek an Occupation Certificate
QRG: How to submit Intent to Seek Occupational Certificate
Occupation certificate audits
When the ECN has been submitted, NSW Fair Trade compliance officers will assess the project or building work for audit.
The Occupation Certificate audit is designed to reduce the risk of defects and non-compliant building work. This process is carried out 2 to 3 months before the provided completion date.
If your expected date is less than 6 months, the compliance officers will indicate whether an OC audit is required 2 to 3 weeks after they receive the submission.
Strata building bond
Under the Strata Building Bond and Inspection Scheme (SBBIS), you must pay a building bond to NSW Fair Trading for residential apartment building development that is 4 storeys or higher. The bond will be equal to 2% of the total price paid or payable of all contracts for the building.
A bond eligibility check, recording of the building bond and payment of the service fee costs $1,500, are carried out on the NSW Planning Portal. If you are not eligible to pay the strata building bond, you will not have an option start this process. If you are eligible, then the building bond must be paid prior to you applying for your OC.
An in depth look at strata building bonds with relevant quick reference guides can be found on our Strata Building Bond lodgement page.
You can also read through the quick reference guide below on how to submit a strata building bond application.
QRG: How to submit a Strata Building Bond application
NB: The strata building bond application can only be submitted after the as-built set of documents have been submitted and confirmed (see Step 4).
Building work levy
The building work levy works to recover costs associated with ensuring compliance with NSW building reforms. The levy applies to building work requiring an OC and when an ECN is submitted or amended after 3 July 2022.
The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 requires developers of some new residential apartment buildings to pay a levy to NSW Fair Trading. The cost of the building work levy depends on the answers to the eligibility questions and should reflect the stage of your development that is entered in the planned OC application.
The eligibility check, recording of the building work levy and payment is carried out on the NSW Planning Portal.
Further information on the building work levy can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website < https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/building-and-renovating/working-on-class-2-buildings/building-work-levy>.
Watch the video to learn more about submitting an Expected Completion Notice, paying the building work levy and strata building bond.
Building Developments on the NSW Planning Portal
Step 4: Before applying for an Occupation Certificate
Before you apply for an occupation certificate, a set of construction-issued designs must have been uploaded and lodged into the NSW Planning Portal as well as the building compliance declaration accompanied by the following required documents:
- copies of variation statements:
- these are a statement of any variations to the work, other than in relation to a building element or performance solution, which is varied from the regulated designs
- the statement should detail type, purpose and part of the building that was varied, as well as an explanation of how the variation meets the requirements of the Building Code of Australia.
- copies of documents that contains additional details not reflected in the construction-issued regulated designs.
- a copy of the contractor document:
- this is a mandatory statement of all the contractors used to provide services in the construction of the building.
- a copy of the principal compliance declaration:
- if a principal design practitioner was nominated on the project.
Templates for the variation statement and the contractor document can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website.
The NSW Planning Portal has been designed to progressively accept documents before and during construction. If you have been uploading and lodging documents throughout the construction process, you will only need to confirm at the end whether the documents represent the as-built designs. As-builts are the final set of construction-issued regulated design documents.
QRG: How to declare As-Built Plans (final set)
NB: For Class 2 projects, the NSW Planning Portal will check the following items have been completed before allowing an OC certificate application to proceed:
- The building practitioner makes the building compliance declaration on a Practitioner Account at the end of the construction when no further variations are expected.
- The documents will be tagged with as-built when this has been done.
- The strata building bond application process must have been completed and the bond or guarantee sent to NSW Fair Trading before you will be allowed to proceed with an application for an OC (if applicable).
- A NSW Fair Trading compliance officer has assessed the project and no audit is required or the audit has been successfully completed.
Applying for an occupation certificate
An occupation certificate is needed if you want to occupy, use or change the use of a building. You can apply for an OC using a Developer Account on the portal.
A certifier will only issue the OC if they have all compliance declarations that should have been uploaded and lodged onto the NSW Planning Portal.
An in depth look at OCs and relevant quick reference guides can be found on our post-consent certificate – occupation certificate page.
You can also read through the quick reference guide below on how to submit an occupation certificate application.
Step 5: After the issue of an Occupation Certificate
This step only applies to building work started on or after 1 July 2021 and is for building practitioners to complete. The NSW Planning Portal will determine whether you need to carry out this step.
A registered building practitioner must lodge any variations to the declared final set within 90 days of an OC being issued or confirm that no variations have been made.
Please read and follow the post OC declaration steps outlined in the quick reference guide below.
QRG: How to complete the post Occupation Certificate 90-day declaration
Concluding building work or a development
Once the occupation certificate has been issued and variations have been lodged, you can close individual building work cases or the whole development using a Developer Account. This will move the building work or development to the completed section of your dashboard.