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Building regulation and certification are important parts of the planning system in New South Wales.


The planning system supports sustainable development and seeks to ensure that buildings are safe and that they meet the performance expectations of the community both at the time of their construction and throughout their effective lives.


The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 specifies the types of approvals that are required to undertake building work in NSW, and the matters that must be satisfied as part of those approvals. This includes that building work complies with the relevant requirements of the Building Code of Australia, which forms a part of the National Construction Code.


As part of the NSW Government fire safety package in response to the fire safety risks posed by external wall cladding, the Department of Planning and Environment has now released a draft regulation that proposes owners of buildings with combustible external wall cladding will be required to register the building with state and local government. Find out more

Building regulation and certification reform

The NSW Government is implementing a package of reforms to strengthen NSW’s building regulation and certification system. 

More about the review

The Department of Planning and Environment is responsible for the regulatory framework for building approvals in NSW. As part of this role, the Department:

  • Administers the building control components of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (EP&A Regulation);
  • Provides NSW representation on the Australian Building Codes Board and its peak building technical advisory group, the Building Codes Committee;
  • Administers the ongoing development, reform and implementation of the Building Code of Australia in NSW;
  • Conducts research, investigates and responds to issues of relevance to building regulation in NSW;
  • Provides education and advice to a broad range of internal and external stakeholders on matters related to building regulation; and
  • Provides policy and technical advice to the Minister for Planning on building control issues.


The Department also works closely with other agencies that have a role in the building regulation and certification system. This includes:

  • The Australian Building Codes Board, which is primarily responsible for the ongoing development and administration of the National Construction Code. Its mission is to address issues relating to safety, health, amenity and sustainability in the design, construction and performance of buildings. The Board is established through an Intergovernmental Agreement between the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments.
  • NSW Fair Trading, which is responsible for a range of matters associated with the building regulation system, including the licensing of building practitioners and the administration of legislation relating to the plumbing codes and electrical safety.
  • The Building Professionals Board, which is primarily responsible for the accreditation, investigation and auditing of accredited certifiers in NSW.
  • The Office of Local Government, which among other things administers the Swimming Pools Act 1992.


Local Governments also play an important role in the building regulation and certification system. In particular, councils may be the consent authority for building works and have certain compliance and enforcement powers under the EP&A Act.

The Department publishes Building Systems Circulars which provide advice and information on specific matters and issues related to building regulation.

The Department operates a Building Code Advisory Service to provide general information and advice on the Building Code of Australia and related matters. This service operates between 9.30am and 11.30am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The contact number is (02) 9274 6529.

Page last updated: 13/12/2017