Before work starts on any development or building project, it must have been assessed and/or approved against the relevant standards and legislation. There are three main types:

  • Exempt development - These projects are usually small scale, low impact and meet all exempt and complying development codes and other relevant standards.
  • Complying development - These relatively straight forward projects have been assessed by a certifier or us as meeting the development standards for complying developments. Find out more at the Guide to Complying Development.
  • Local development - You need to submit a Development Application (DA) to us. Our Planner will assess your proposal against relevant planning controls using a merit assessment approach.

Each type of approval has mandatory conditions to make sure the construction process does not negatively impact the local community and may include;

  • regulation of the ongoing use of the development
  • eliminate or mitigate environmental impacts
  • ensure compliance with existing development controls and building standards
  • ensure safe construction practices are followed
  • amendment of minor aspects of the development to achieve better planning outcomes

What should I do if I have concerns about a building site?

If you have concerns about a development or building project, you need to contact and raise the issue directly with:

  • Property owner (for exempt developments)
  • Builder or Certifier - Principal Certifying Authority (for CDC or DA projects)

They might not be aware that their actions are causing a disturbance or violating regulations. Communicating openly can often resolve problems amicably.

If this is not an option or is not resolved, you can refer it to the Principal Certifying Authority (contact details should be found on a sign at the front of the site.) They will know the site well and may be able to fix the issue quickly.

If the PCA doesn't respond, you can report the issue to us to follow up with them.

Report a non-compliant development site

Find out more

If your concern relates to on-site safe work practices (handling) or the removal of Asbestos on work sites, please report to Safe Work NSW, online or by calling 13 10 50.

Pollution from building and construction sites is regulated under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act).

Water Pollution

It's against the law for anything other than rainwater to go into waterways or the stormwater system. Together with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), we can issue notices and penalties to sites that break these rules to safeguard the environment.

Find out more.

Noise Pollution

Noise can affect people in different ways. What is acceptable to one person may be offensive to another. You should first try to solve the problem amicably by talking to whoever is causing the noise.

Find out more.

Air pollution

Dust from construction sites can affect people differently. What one person finds okay might be a problem for someone else. Builders typically use measures like wetting down dusty areas on windy days to minimise these impacts.

Find out more.

What is our role when a Private Certifying Authority (PCA) is appointed ?

When a PCA has been appointed, we will request the official records associated with the development but are not directly involved in the inspection of the development site.

As we are not the PCA, we do not have direct access to some critical information and reports (e.g. structural certification and surveys), until the final occupation certificate (OC) is issued. This limits our ability to quickly respond to general inquiries about a development site. It is crucial however to understand that we still have regulatory authority and enforcement powers, ready to act when needed.

The main functions of a PCA are to;

  • determine applications for complying development, construction certificates and occupation certificates
  • inspect building work at specific stages to determine consistency with approved plans, and compliance with legislative requirements and conditions of consent
  • take action to address non-compliant work and, if needed, report it to the appropriate authority, such as the local council.

Certifiers do not supervise or manage building work.

Find out more

When will we act on complaints relating to building works and development sites?

We will only act on complaints received in relation to building works and development sites if:

  • Work threatens life, safety or damage to property or environment;
  • Works or use of the premises don't form part of the development consent;
  • PCA refuses to take action and a breach is occurring;
  • PCA takes action on a breach by issuing a direction to rectify the breach and Council is subsequently informed that the direction has not been complied with;
  • Council is the PCA

If we receive a complaint after hours, we will only act if it is considered an emergency and the work threatens life, safety or damage to property or environment. If is not considered an emergency, we will refer it to the PCA during business hours.

Who else can I contact if I have concerns relating to building works?

Building Commission NSW is a recently established, specialised building regulator bringing together teams from NSW Fair Trading and the Office of the Building Commissioner. They oversee and regulate the NSW construction industry, in the areas of:

  • Inspections and compliance
  • Licensing
  • Complaints
  • Policy