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Private Certification

The register of private certifiers has moved: Registered private certifiers have been relocated to the Register of Accredited Professionals, which displays all planning and building professionals accredited under either the Development Act 1993 or the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

Planning and building professionals accredited under the Development Act 1993

All building work classed as ‘development’ requires a development approval under the Development Act 1993. An approval usually consists of two or more consents being a planning consent and a building rules consent.

Private Certifiers can perform the same duties as councils in relation to granting building rules consent and limited planning consent. All Private Certifiers must be registered and adhere to a code of practice.

A registered private certifier possesses building surveying and/or planning qualifications, has demonstrated experience in assessing various types of buildings and holds a policy for professional indemnity insurance.

To learn about professionals accredited under the new PDI Act 2016, please see the Accredited Professionals Scheme

Information for private certifiers


A professional can apply for registration as a private certifier to perform work in relation to building rules assessment and/or residential code development assessments.


How to apply

Applications for registration as a private certifier must include:

The application fee is prescribed in Schedule 6 the Development Regulations 2008.

Applications for registration as a private certifier are made to the registration authority:

Post:

Registration Authority for Private Certifiers
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
GPO Box 1815
Adelaide SA 5001

Email:

DPTI.PDPractitionerRegistration@sa.gov.au


Registration criteria

Applications for registration can be made under the Development Act 1993 or the Mutual Recognition Act 1992:

  • If applying under the Development Act 1993, a person must have:
    • current accreditation as a Building Surveyor issued by an approved building industry accreditation authority and at least 8 years appropriate experience; or
    • a corporate membership of the Urban and Regional Planning Chapter of the Planning Institute of Australia Incorporated.
  • The Development Act 1993 also allows a person to seek to have their qualifications and experience approved by the Minister for Planning. Once approved, an application can be lodged with a copy of the Minister's approval.
  • If applying under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992, a person must have substantive registration in an equivalent occupation in one or more interstate jurisdictions and must not be the subject of any disciplinary proceedings in any jurisdiction.

A person must also hold a professional indemnity insurance policy as prescribed in Regulation 93 that satisfies the requirements of Schedule 23 of the Development Regulations 2008.


Registration conditions

Conditions may be applied at the time of registration depending on the type of application or insurance policy, for example:

  • a person who applies for registration under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 may have a condition applied that reflects their interstate level of registration or accreditation
  • a person who applies for registration to only perform work related to residential code developments will have a condition applied that details their limitations to only residential code developments
  • a person who applies for registration and has an exclusion on their professional indemnity insurance policy will have a condition applied detailing their limitations based on their insurance policy

In certain circumstances, conditions may also be applied, varied or removed after registration. This may occur as a result of:

  • an investigation into a Regulation 103 complaint
  • disciplinary action from an interstate jurisdiction
  • a change to a person's accreditation level

In order to continue practicing, private certifiers must renew their registration annually.


How to renew registration

On or before their expiry date, private certifiers must provide the registration authority with:

  • a completed application for renewal of registration form - (279.6 KB PDF)
  • a copy of a new/renewed certificate of currency for professional indemnity insurance
  • a copy of a new/updated insurance policy - including any referenced schedules and policy wording with any exclusions
  • a copy of a renewed accreditation certificate (if applicable)
  • confirmation that any audit findings have been addressed (if applicable)
  • payment of a renewal fee - $76.00

The renewal of registration fee is prescribed in Schedule 6 of the Development Regulations 2008.

Applications for renewal of registration as a private certifier can be submitted to the registration authority:

Post:

Registration Authority for Private Certifiers
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
GPO Box 1815
Adelaide SA 5001

Email:

DPTI.PDPractitionerRegistration@sa.gov.au


Failure to renew registration

Where a private certifier fails to renew their registration on or before their expiry date or if such event have occurred that the person is no longer entitled to be registered (eg, lapsed accreditation or insurance), the registration authority will remove the certifier from the Register and the certifier may no longer practice until they are reinstated.

Under Regulation 93A(8) a certifier has 10 business days with which to rectify or provide appropriate evidence that they remain entitled to be registered before the registration authority can commence the de-registration process.

Private certifiers must comply with the requirements prescribed in the Development Act 1993 and Development Regulations 2008, including abiding by the standards of professional conduct set out in the code of practice - (71.7 KB PDF).

To ensure a private certifier is complying with the relevant requirements, private certifiers are subject to auditing. An audit will also ensure that private certifiers are:

  • acting within the conditions of their registration; and
  • abiding by the standards of professional conduct set out in the code of practice - (71.7 KB PDF).

The audits are performed by an independent auditor nominated by the Minister for Planning. Private certifiers are contacted by the auditor advising of the audit and to agree on the timing.

Private certifiers are also designated as public officers under the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) Act 2012.

Third Party Audit Services auditors, council employees and private certifiers must make a report to the Office for Public Integrity (OPI) regarding any public officer conduct that is reasonably suspected to be corruption, and serious or systemic misconduct or maladministration.

More information can be found on the OPI website.


The audit process

The audit approach is risk-based and focuses on the risk areas related to the assessment process.

The following publications provide advice on the purpose of the audits, the audit process, explanation of the relevant provisions in the legislation, the conduct of technical checks, potential outcomes and other information associated with an audit:

Information for applicants


A person must be registered in order to practice as a private certifier. A register of private certifiers is maintained by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

A private certifier can perform the following duties:

  • assess proposed residential code developments
  • issue development plan consent for residential code developments
  • assign building classifications
  • assess proposed developments against the building rules
  • grant building rules consent
  • impose conditions to which the building work must be constructed
  • issue schedules for essential safety provisions
  • issue certificates of occupancy.

Development plan consent (other than residential code developments) or development approval cannot be issued by a private certifier. Development approval is issued by the council for the area in which the development is proposed. In some cases the SCAP is the relevant authority.

Private certifiers must comply with the requirements prescribed in the Development Act 1993 and Development Regulations 2008 and abide by the standards of professional conduct set out in the code of practice - (71.7 KB PDF).

A written agreement is required to engage the services of a private certifier.

If you are not the owner of the land, before you engage a certifier you need to:

  • in the case of a house (class 1a), obtain the written consent of the land owner
  • in any other case, notify the land owner that you propose to engage a certifier

The agreement is usually in the form of a pro-forma and should outline the services to be provided, including the fee that will be charged. The fee charged will be by agreement between the two parties.

The private certifier will notify the relevant council of their engagement once they have been engaged to carry out the building rules assessment.

To cancel the engagement of a private certifier before the certifier has completed the work, written consent must be obtained from the Minister for Planning.

If a private certifier resigns, the application can be referred to the council or, alternatively another private certifier may be engaged. To engage another private certifier, written consent or direction must be obtained from the Minister for Planning.

If you believe that a private certifier has failed to comply with or violated the Development Act 1993, Development Regulations 2008 or the code of practice then a complaint can be lodged with the Minister for Planning via the Registration Authority.

A complaint must:

  • be made in writing
  • contain particulars of the allegations on which the complaint is based
  • be verified by a statutory declaration, which means that the statement of claim must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace.

A complaint can be submitted to the registration authority:

Post:

Registration Authority for Private Certifiers
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
GPO Box 1815
Adelaide SA 5001

Email:

DPTI.PDBuildingBranch@sa.gov.au


Reporting under the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012

Private certifiers are also designated as public officers under the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) Act 2012.

Third Party Audit Services auditors, council employees and private certifiers must make a report to the Office for Public Integrity (OPI) regarding any public officer conduct that is reasonably suspected to be corruption, and serious or systemic misconduct or maladministration.

More information can be found on the OPI website.

Page last modified Monday, 28 October 2019