Complaints and appeals case studies

The Building Professionals Board has statutory powers to conduct formal investigations into accredited certifiers and councils. These case studies are published to help certifiers improve practices and procedures.
  • CDC issued without confirming pending zone change noted in s149 certificate
    30 Nov 2016
    A certifier issued a complying development certificate (CDC) for work that could not be complying development due to the site's zoning. The certifier relied on an outdated s149 certificate which noted a draft local environmental plan (LEP) would be gazetted, with zoning changes prohibiting most types of complying development. The new LEP was in force when the CDC was issued.
  • Certifier exceeding discretionary powers contributes to unauthorised development
    1 Nov 2016
    A certifier failed to advise that a proposal to vary an approved building design needed a modified development consent and construction certificate. He was penalised by the Board and appealed to the Tribunal, which upheld the Board's decision. The owner of the development also incurred delay and expense stemming from the certifier's advice.
  • Deliberately misleading CC issued after work started
    1 Nov 2016
    A certifier knowingly made false and misleading statements when issuing a CC, and issued it after substantial building work had already been carried out. He also accepted a PCA appointment from the builder, who didn't own the property so wasn't entitled to make the appointment.
  • CDCs: check allowable land use & include prescribed conditions
    1 Nov 2016
    A certifier relied on a planning consultant's report to issue a CDC for work on land where complying development wasn't allowed. The CDC didn't include all prescribed conditions; instead, the certifier added an extra condition, not found in the legislation, that referenced the planner's report.
  • Replacement PCA relies on years-old inspection to issue final OC
    22 Jul 2016
    A replacement PCA for a development issued a final occupation certificate, relying on a site inspection carried out four years earlier by the original PCA rather than carrying out a fresh inspection as required.
  • PCA work carried out without formal appointment
    22 Jul 2016
    A certifier wasn't formally appointed as PCA but carried out some of this work over a three year period. After issuing a CDC, the certifier inspected the site and gave the owner an inspection report and detailed advice on how to obtain an occupation certificate.
  • Cutting corners to meet pressure for an OC backfires on certifier
    31 May 2016
    A certifier issued an interim occupation certificate for part of a building that, in itself, presented several safety hazards, with further potential hazards posed by other parts of the building. This followed a sequence of errors starting from when the certifier issued the construction certificate without properly determining the building’s BCA classification.
  • Fire safety schedule isn't evidence to determine a CC or CDC
    31 May 2016
    A certifier received an application for a construction certificate that didn't have enough detail to assess whether the proposal would comply with the Building Code of Australia. Instead of asking the applicant for more detail as he should have, the certifier relied on the fire safety schedule as evidence to determine the application.
  • Setting and enforcing clear conditions of consent
    31 Aug 2015
    A council alleged a certifier didn't ensure a stormwater detention system had been constructed in accordance with the approved plans. However, the council had written the conditions of consent in a way that gave the certifier some discretion in decision-making.
  • Determining number of storeys: Codes SEPP
    19 Sep 2014
    A certifier issued complying development certificates for houses that were two-storey for most of the floor plan, but actually had three storeys in some parts. The certifier applied the definition of a storey contained in the Building Code of Australia, but should have used the definition in the Standard Instrument.