Building certificate of occupancy

Classification of buildings

The National Construction Code (NCC) classifies buildings into 10 different classes depending on their use. Read a summary of the 10 classes.

Queensland uses these classifications in its building standards.

Certificate of occupancy

From 1 October 2020 the certificate of classification (Form 11) has been amended and renamed the certificate of occupancy. It can also be used as the Interim Certificate of Occupancy to fulfill the requirements under section 104 of the Building Act 1975. Any certificate of classification issued before 1 October 2020 that is still in force, is taken to be a certificate of occupancy from 1 October 2020.

Under the Building Act, any building that was built after 1 April 1976 should have a certificate of occupancy (formerly known as a certificate of classification) with its building approval.

This doesn't apply to a single detached house (class 1a), carport or garage (class 10).

Local governments, building certifiers, building owners and other stakeholders should be aware of the contents of a certificate of occupancy (section 103 of the Building Act) and where these certificates must be displayed (section 108A of the Building Act).

A building's certificate of occupancy contains information about:

  • the building's class
  • how the building can be used
  • ongoing maintenance requirements
  • fire safety
  • other special requirements.

If a certificate of occupancy isn't available or you don't know if one was issued with the building approval, you can obtain one from the local government.

Find more information in the certificates of occupancy guideline (PDF, 1MB).

Displaying a certificate of occupancy

Under the Building Act 1975, you must display a certificate of occupancy before a building can be used or occupied, if the building:

  • is class 1b to 9
  • was completed after 1 July 1997.

Displaying the certificate ensures that building occupants, Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) officers and local government officers have the relevant information they need.

QFES and local government officers may ask for a certificate of occupancy to be provided if it's not already displayed. They may also request documents such as fire safety management plans or maintenance reports for fire safety systems.

Where to display an occupancy certificate

The certificate of occupancy should be displayed as near as practical to the main entrance of a building.

If a building has more than one main entrance, display the certificate at the entrance that emergency services would normally use and where the building's fire indicator panel is located.

If a certificate for a multi-tenancy building is displayed near the complex's main entrance, the individual unit owners don't need to display a certificate at their unit, unless the use of the unit has changed since the original certificate was issued and has its own certificate of occupancy.

You don't need to display a certificate of occupancy in a frame. However, you should ensure it is fixed securely and can't be damaged.

If it's displayed on the outside of a building, ensure it's protected from the weather.

Tenancies with own entrances

Some buildings have several tenancies that open directly to the outside of the building. In this case, you may display the certificate of occupancy in a single location on the outside of the building.

The certificate should be:

  • located as close as practical to the entrance of the property
  • weather-proof
  • fixed securely.

Alternatively, display a copy of the certificate as near as practical to the entrance of each individual tenancy.

Buildings with more than 1 classification

If there is more than 1 certificate of occupancy for a large building, such as a shopping centre, there are different ways to display them.

You may display:

  • all the certificates near the main entrance
  • a certificate at each of the tenancies as near as practical to the tenancy's entrance.

Penalty for non-compliance

It is an offence not to:

  • display a certificate of occupancy in a building
  • comply with the restrictions stated on the certificate.

Failure to do either may result in a financial penalty.