Getting occupancy certification

Once the building work has finished, you must apply to your building certifier for occupancy certification. 

You must have occupancy certification before you occupy the building. 

Occupancy certification is issued when the items affecting health, safety and amenity are in place and fully operational such as the water supply, safety glass and handrails. It does not mean all the painting is done, the carpet is laid or all the fittings are in place for your building.

There are three levels of occupancy certification in the Northern Territory:

Occupancy permit

An occupancy permit is the highest level of occupancy certification available. It can be issued by a building certifier when the construction and certification process has been complied with in full.

To apply for an occupancy permit ask your building certifier to give you an occupancy permit application form.

You must submit your application for an occupancy permit to your building certifier, together with any necessary prescribed certification documents as detailed below. 

Prescribed certification documents 

These are set out by law and include the following:

  • a builder’s declaration
  • inspection certificates
  • section 40 certificates
  • certificates or other documents as requested by the building certifier that relate to the manufacture and off-site assembly, or on-site installation, of the following building components by a person other than the builder: 
    • roof truss certification
    • termite certification
    • plumbing certification
    • glazing certification
    • fire certification
    • wet area certification.

The prescribed certification documentation you need will depend on the type of building work you are doing. Your building certifier can tell you which documents you need.

Issuing of occupancy permit

If constructed in compliance with the building permit, legislated requirements and approved plans, the building certifier will grant an occupancy permit to confirm your building may be occupied. 

The building certifier must provide a copy of the occupancy permit to you or your agent and submit a copy of the permit, plans and relevant documents to the Director of Building Control at Building Advisory Services.

The land owner may access these records in the future. Read more about access to building files.

Certificate of substantial compliance

A certificate of substantial compliance can be granted by a building certifier where building work carried out under a valid building permit meets the relevant technical standards but minor variations to the approved plans or missing documentation or inspections has occurred. 

To apply for a certificate of substantial compliance ask your building certifier to give you an application for certificate of substantial compliance form.

You will be asked to submit other documents to your building certifier with your application for a certificate of substantial compliance. Talk to your building certifier about the documentation they will require. 

Issuing of certificate of substantial compliance

If your building certifier is satisfied the work has been done substantially in compliance with the building permit and legislative requirements, they can grant a certificate of substantial compliance to confirm your building may be occupied. 

Your building certifier or agent must explain to you why they are only prepared to grant a certificate of substantial compliance, not an occupancy permit. They must also tell you about your rights to appeal their decision.

If you are unhappy with the decision of the building certifier, go to the Building Appeals Board website to find out how you can appeal the decision.

The building certifier must provide a copy of the certificate of substantial compliance to you or your agent.  

The building certifier must submit a copy of the permit, plans and relevant documents to the Director of Building Control at Building Advisory Services in the Department of Lands, Planning, and the Environment.

The land owner may access these records in the future. Read more about access to building files.

Certificate of existence

A certificate of existence can only be granted for work that was completed before 1 May 2016.

Read about occupancy certification for more information on the certificate of existence and other levels of certification.

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Last updated: 27 June 2017