If you are in the business of developing, designing, or building residential apartments in NSW, then it is important to be aware of the multiple new regulations for construction activity. These include the Home Building Act (NSW), the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW), the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 No.9 (NSW), which came into force on 1 September 2020, and the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW), parts of which came into effect on 11 June 2020, with the balance coming into effect on 1 July 2021.

Under the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 No.9, an occupation certificate is necessary for permitting use of the constructed building and for achieving practical completion under the relevant construction contract. From 1 March, the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 No.9 will impose a strict regime upon developers wishing to obtain this certificate, in addition to those already applicable under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. A ‘developer’ is understood in its traditional meaning, as well as meaning a Principal under a head contract, the owner of land on which the construction takes place, or the head contractor under the Regulation.

When applying for the occupation certificate, one must give a written notice to the Secretary of the Department on the date on which an application for an occupation certificate is expected to be made. The consequences for non-compliance with these procedures include financial penalties, and relevantly, the Secretary could make an order prohibiting the issue of the certificate, and the registration of the strata plan.

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