Making a complaint against a private certifier
The role of a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) is to supervise/monitor construction works and issue certificates that certify regulatory compliance. It is a requirement under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 that a sign be erected on all work sites showing the name, address and telephone number of the chosen PCA. Alternatively you can obtain the PCA's details from Council's DA and Property Enquiry tool.
Any concerns with construction works including a belief that works are not proceeding in accordance with the approval are to be discussed with the PCA in the first instance. If you remain unsatisfied with the response of the PCA, complaints against Accredited Private Certifiers can be made in writing to the Building Professionals Board (NSW Department of Planning & Infrastructure).
What are the consequences if I do work which is different to my Development Consent, or has not been approved at all?
The City of Canada Bay views illegal building work or the failure to comply with the terms and conditions of a development consent as extremely serious. Council is committed to rigorously monitoring any unauthorised changes to Development Applications or illegal building works. The consequences of carrying out illegal building works are significant and you should not under any circumstances risk it!
There are a range of legal mechanisms in place to control illegal building works:
- Builders/Owners or Developers found to be carrying out construction works without the required consent can be issued a Penalty Infringement Notice, be prosecuted in the Local Court, or in more serious cases, taken to the Land and Environment Court.
- Illegal building works are those undertaken without the issue of a valid Construction Certificate. It also includes building work that does not conform to an approved Construction Certificate or where a Construction Certificate has been issued and certain conditions under the Development Consent have not been met. Council is generally successful when it brings cases before the Land and Environment Court or Local Court against developers or builders who carry out illegal building work or works contrary to their Development Consent. Often the Courts will impose hefty fines, or in cases known as 'class 4 appeals' in the Land and Environment, will order the demolition of the illegal building works.
Where illegal building works are identified Council will consider:
- Issuing the builder with a penalty infringement and issue a 'Stop Work' notice;
- Ordering the demolition of the illegal works;
- Recognising such work, via a Building Certificate if works are acceptable upon completion of a merit assessment;
- Illegal building works which constitute major breaches will be prosecuted through either the Local Court or the Land and Environment Court. If Council observes illegal building work that is under the control of a Private Certifying Authority, the Authority will be reported to the Building Professionals Board.