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Occupation Certificates and the changes from 1 December 2019: No more Interim Occupation Certificates

Effective as of yesterday (1st December 2019), the terms ‘interim’ and ‘final’ occupation certificates will no longer be relevant as changes to current legislation are implemented.


  • Changes to legislation from 1 December 2019 means no more interim occupation certificates
  • What the changes will mean
  • How the changes will affect staged developments

Occupation Certificates Changes

After 1 December 2019 the terms ‘interim’ and ‘final’ occupation certificates will no longer be relevant as changes to current legislation are implemented.

The 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.

Generally speaking, an occupation certificate is required before a building can be occupied or used. In some circumstances though, an occupation certificate is not required. For example, if the proposed development is exempt development or development that does not require consent.

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. To accommodate this, an occupation certificate for part of the partially completed building can be issued. In this case though, we must note that:

  • the occupation certificate will only be issued for ‘occupiable parts’ of that building;
  • the occupation certificate only authorises the occupation and use of the portion of the building to which the certificate relates; and
  • in order for an occupation certificate for part of a partially completed building to be issued, the incomplete works cannot pose a health or safety risk to the occupants.

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More than one occupation certificate can be issued for different parts of a building as they are completed however an occupation certificate issued for the first completed stage of a partially completed building will have a condition on it that states that a further occupation certificate for the whole building must be obtained within 5 years after the issue of that partial occupation certificate. 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.

Once the whole building is complete, another occupation certificate is required for the remaining parts. This will be required to evidence that the building and/or change of use does comply with the associated development consent and that the remaining conditions have been met.

For more information you can visit NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s website or contact our office.


Melina Costantino, Licensed Conveyancer


Melina has over 9 years’ experience as a Licensed Conveyancer, acting for client matters involving; purchase and sale of residential and commercial property, Retirement Village Contracts, Put & Call Options, Call Options and Family Transfers. She is passionate about helping a wide range of clients across all aspects of the buying and selling process and ensuring that her clients meet all their legal obligations.

For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:

Melina Costantino
Licensed Conveyancer & JP
02 4607 2104

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This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.

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