Working with building certifiers

The Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (BIFOLA) amended the Building Act 1975 to introduce requirements for owners, clients, builders and building certifiers.

These provisions apply to building work performed on all classes of buildings. They are in effect from 1 October 2020.

Notification of engagement

If a private certifier is engaged by a client who is not the building owner (i.e builder, architect or company), the client must provide the certifier with the owner's name and contact details. The private certifier must notify the owner of their engagement and provide their details and responsibilities to the owner and local government by using building form 18 (PDF, 184KB).

When the client is the owner, notification of engagement to the owner happens by default, however the local government still needs to be notified by using building form 56 (PDF, 184KB).

If the client becomes aware of any change in the owner's name or contact details, they must notify the private certifier within 5 business days.

Additional certifying functions

An owner can only make a request for additional certifying functions if the building certifier was engaged on or after 1 October 2020.

If a private certifier is not engaged by the building owner, the owner may request additional inspections by providing the client an additional certification notice. A building form 31 (PDF, 183KB) may be used for this purpose. The owner must provide the additional certification notice to the client within 10 business days of the owner getting notice of the certifier's details.

The client must then give the additional certification notice (e.g. building form 31 (PDF, 183KB)) to the certifier within 5 business days of receiving it.

The building certifier must perform the additional certification function requested in the notice within the time agreed between the parties, or as determined by the certifier.

The owner may withdraw their request for additional certifying functions by advising the certifier that their additional certification notice is withdrawn, but this must be before the nomination of the agreed day or way to determine the agreed day.

Nominating the timeframe for additional certifying functions

All parties must agree to a date to carry out the additional certification functions, or how to determine when they will be performed, within 10 business days of the certifier receiving an additional certification notice.

If the parties cannot reach an agreement within the timeframe, the building certifier must either nominate a day, or a way to determine the agreed day, and then inform the parties of their decision (within 15 days of the additional certification notice being received by the certifier).

Inspection documentation

At any time before the inspection of the final stage of assessable building work, the owner can request a copy of any inspection documentation.

The owner may give a notice (building form 35 (PDF, 184KB) may be used for this purpose) to the building certifier requesting a copy of any inspection documentation for a previous stage of work. The certifier only needs to provide the documentation if they:

  • have performed the inspection of an earlier stage of the work
  • are satisfied that the stage of work complies with the building development approval
  • have given a certificate in the approved form to certify the stage of the work.

The building certifier must, within 5 business days after receiving the notice, give the owner the requested documentation. This request applies to any documentation for the stage of work subject to the owner’s request.

If the building certifier for the work was engaged to inspect the building work before 1 October 2020, the owner cannot request inspection documentation for building work performed prior to the final stage of assessable work.

Recordkeeping requirements

A private certifier must keep all inspection documentation for building work for which the certifier is engaged for at least seven years after the building work is completed.

This applies to recordkeeping for building work completed from 1 October 2020.