Changes to Occupation Certificates

23 DEC 2019



Part 6 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) (Act) commenced on 1 December 2019.  With this, changes have been made to the Occupation Certificate (OC) provisions which operationalise the new framework.

The key aspects of the new OCs are as follows:

  1. The new OC provisions remove the distinction in the former framework between interim and final OCs in favour of one certificate which covers multiple situations.
  2. ‘Interim’ and ‘final’ OCs can no longer be issued for development consents granted after 1 December 2019. The terms ‘interim’ and ‘final’ occupation certificates will no longer be relevant.
  3. An OC can be issued for either ‘part of’ or ‘the whole of a building’, including parts of partially completed buildings.
  4. The changes will not apply to development consents or OCs issued before 1 December 2019, including uncommenced deferred commencement consents. Instead those approvals will remain subject to former building and subdivision certificates.

These changes aim to:

-       streamline building provisions;

-       reduce red tape;

-       increase community confidence by introducing measures that ensure construction is consistent with approved plans; and

-       in 2020, require preparation of a building manual for specified buildings making important information about a building more easily accessible.

Interim Occupation Certificates

Whilst an interim occupation certificate will no longer be available, staged occupation of a building will still be permitted. For example, where a new strata complex is being constructed in stages.

In the case of a staged development, each stage may be completed and become suitable for occupation before the overall development is finished. More than one occupation certificate can be issued for different parts of a building as they are completed.

The reason for this is to ensure that a building is not occupied indefinitely under a partial occupation certificate and that all conditions of the development consent are met in a timely manner.

Further Information

If you would like advice or assistance in relation to any Commercial matters, please contact our accredited business law specialists and Partners Justin Thornton on and Rahul Lachman on or otherwise by calling them on (02) 4626 5077.

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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