Property | 22 September 2021 2 min read

What is a Building Information Certificate? When should I get one?

Building Information Certificate

A Building Information Certificate (formerly known as building certificate) is a certificate issued by the local Council promising not to take any legal actions or issue any orders concerning the improvements (e.g. house, shed, garage, building etc) on the property for a period of 7 years from the date of the certificate.

Upon receipt of an application for a Building Information Certificate, the local Council will send a building inspector to inspect the buildings on the property to ensure that the improvements on the land comply with the Council’s approvals and requirements (e.g. the house was not altered without approval, the shed was constructed legally).  It is possible that the Council may discover any existing breaches during the inspection and consequently issue an appropriate order to the owner of the property.

On the other hand, a Building Information Certificate has no effect on the Council’s ability to issue a fire safety order or a building product rectification order as defined under the Building Products (Safety) Act 2017 (NSW).

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When to apply for the Building Information Certificate?

The laws in New South Wales do not require you to obtain a Building Information Certificate for property transactions. However, it is good practice to apply for the certificate when purchasing a property to ensure that there will be no costly surprise from the local Council.

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How to apply for the Building Information Certificate?

Your property lawyer can apply this certificate on your behalf after exchange of the contract. It will take the Council at least 1-2 weeks to finalise the order. You will need to pay for the application fee (usually around $300) and provide a copy of the recent survey report. (We have discussed the costs and the purpose of a survey report in our previous article).

We have seen contracts which the vendor prohibits the purchaser to obtain a building information certificate or prohibits the purchaser to rescind or terminate the contract if the Council refuses to issue a building information certificate.

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Should you have any further enquiries on the building information certificate, please do not hesitate to contact our property lawyer!

Contact us to get more information.

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