NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Building regulation

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

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.

Sustainable buildings to live and work

Developing sustainable buildings is critical to achieving the NSW target of net zero emissions by 2050. Our productivity increases when we make efficient use of the electricity we generate, the natural gas we extract, and the water we treat. A comfortable living and work environment contributes to our physical and mental wellbeing.

The department has now introduced a State Environmental Planning Policy that will help buildings achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The Sustainable Buildings SEPP will commence on 1 October 2023.

Development Certification and Fire Safety

The Development Certification and Fire Safety Regulation (Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021) commences on 1 January 2022. It replaces provisions that were previously located within the EP&A Regulation 2000.

The Development Certification and Fire Safety Regulation supports the provisions of Part 6 of the EP&A Act. The regulation sets out the detailed requirements for undertaking building work in NSW.

The regulation contains the key operational provisions for building regulation and certification, including those relating to:

  • construction certificates
  • occupation certificates
  • fire safety requirements
  • subdivision matters
  • combustible cladding
  • inspection requirements.

Most provisions in the new regulation have been transferred from the EP&A regulation with only minimal changes. This new clause references table (PDF, 196 KB) lists the existing clause numbers of the EP&A regulation and the corresponding numbers of the new regulation.

For more information, refer to the frequently asked questions (PDF, 166 KB) or email regulation.review@planning.nsw.gov.au.

Building Code Advisory Service

The Department of Customer Service 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 Building Code Advisory Service can be contacted on (02) 9372 9271.

Help reform building laws in NSW

The NSW Government is working to increase confidence in our building industry. Visit the Department of Customer Service page to have your say on proposed reforms that aim to ensure people can own, occupy and use compliant, safe and resilient buildings. Exhibition closes 25 November 2022.

Have your say

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New building and subdivision certification provisions applying to occupation certificates commenced on 1 December 2019.

Elderly couple drying dishes in kitchen. Photo by DGLimages / iStock.com

Under the Regulation, new and existing buildings require certain fire safety certification to maintain building fire safety.

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Under the Regulation, owners of certain buildings with external combustible cladding are required to register their building with the NSW Government through the simple, user friendly NSW Cladding Registration portal.

A timber house frame showing construction in progress.

The National Construction Code is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design, construction and performance of buildings throughout Australia.

building certification as a career

Plan your career as a certifier and help shape the future of NSW in a secure role with loads of opportunity and build a strong network across the building profession.

Image of GA, University of NSW

The Sustainable Buildings State Environmental Planning Policy (2022) sets sustainability standards across a range of residential and commercial building types.