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Understanding the Changes to Part 6 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act

Learn more about the changes to Part 6 of the EP&A Act, and what it means for your subdivision development.

Part 6 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) plays an important role in underpinning the design, construction, and safety of buildings throughout NSW.

In 2015, the Independent Review of the Building Professionals Act 2005 (known as the Lambert Review) was undertaken to identify areas for improvement within the existing building regulation and certification system.

As a leader in subdivision certification within NSW, Barker Ryan Stewart was actively involved in the review process and made a number of recommended changes to the Act.

The updated Environmental Planning and Assessment Act aims to address issues identified by the Lambert Review by providing a clearer, more logical structure to building regulation and certification.

What are the main changes to the EP&A Act?

The new Part 6 (building and subdivision) provisions commenced on 1 December 2019. The provisions included:

  • The removal of interim and final occupation certificates. This will not affect the ability to have staged occupation of buildings.
  • The creation of a new certificate for subdivision works, known as a Subdivision Works Certificate. The introduction of this certificate will help separate subdivision from building works.
  • The provision of new compliance powers for Principal Certifiers (formerly Principal Certifying Authority). This includes enabling them to issue directions to quickly act on non-compliant aspects of a development.

How will these changes improve the system?

According to the NSW Government these changes will help to promote an effective building regulation, certification, and maintenance system by:

  • Streamlining the complex building provision into a single part of the Act, which will enhance the usability and reduce red tape.
  • Introducing measures to ensure construction is consistent with the approved plans, protecting the integrity of the planning system and raising the level of community confidence
  • Requiring a Building Manual (in 2020) to be prepared for specified buildings, so that important information about a building is more easily available.

What is a Subdivision Works Certificate?

Under Section 6.13 of the EP&A Act, a Subdivision Works Certificate is required prior to carrying out subdivision work in accordance with a development consent.

The EP&A Act defines subdivision work as “any physical activity authorised to be carried out in connection with a subdivision under the conditions of a development consent for the subdivision of land”.

A Subdivision Works Certificate can be issued by a Registered Certifier (formerly Accredited Certifier) and operates in the same way as a Construction Certificate but is only issued for subdivision works. The Certificate certifies that subdivision work completed in accordance with specified plans and specifications will comply with any requirements in the regulations.

From 1 December 2019 onward, the Construction Certificate requirements for subdivision works will no longer apply unless the development consent was granted prior to this date. However, the issuing of a Subdivision Works Certificate does not negate the need for a Construction Certificate to be issued for building works.

What does this mean for my subdivision development?

The main change that you may notice is that you will no longer receive a Construction Certificate to approve your plans for subdivision works, as this will be replaced by a Subdivision Works Certificate. Essentially the certificate will remain unchanged, but will refer to a different section of the Act, as the numbering and arrangement of the sections have changed within the legislation.

This numbering change will also affect other certificates you may receive during the subdivision process, such as a Compliance Certificate or Subdivision Certificate. Otherwise, the general process involved in completing a subdivision development has not changed under the new legislation.

How can Barker Ryan Stewart assist?

Barker Ryan Stewart is well-resourced and positioned to assist in providing subdivision certification services for your project.

Our Registered Certifiers have a wealth of experience and can significantly reduce your project and holding costs compared to using a traditional Construction Certificate approval process through council. We do this by providing faster turnaround times and a more consistent assessment process.

If you have any questions regarding changes to the EP&A Act or how we can assist with your subdivision development, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Barker Ryan Stewart office.

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