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:
- 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.
- ‘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.
- An OC can be issued for either ‘part of’ or ‘the whole of a building’, including parts of partially completed buildings.
- 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.
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