Think HBR

Cutting the bureaucratic red tape in the subdivision assessment process

Peter McCallum
There is a common misconception within Hunter councils and the property industry in general about what a private subdivision certifier can and cannot do.
Since 1998, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and the Building Professionals Act has enabled suitable accredited subdivision certifiers to issue construction certificates (design assessment), compliance certificates (works inspections) and subdivision certificates (where permitted by an LEP) for all subdivision works including infrastructure that is to be dedicated to council on completion.
However, some councils have acted in manner that has effectively locked the provision of private subdivision certification services out of their Local Government Areas and made the private certification process for subdivisions ineffective and dysfunctional. This has been achieved through the provision of misinformation to developers and the placement of conditions of consent that state only council can certify subdivision infrastructure works that are to be dedicated to Council on completion.
This has resulted in unnecessary red tape and delays to the delivery of completed subdivisions and has increased the costs of housing provision NSW.
Advice has been provided to all Council’s in NSW by the Building Professionals Board through the Board’s March 2017 e-news regarding private subdivision certification.
The property industry welcomes the advice provided by the Building Professionals Board. The advice essentially confirms that private subdivision certifiers can be used to issue both construction certificates and compliance certificates throughout NSW for subdivision developments, and that the issue of the subdivision certificate cannot be jeopardised by council because the development was privately certified. The advice also details that any actions by Council’s to dissuade applicants from using private certifiers, through incorrect advice or the imposition of development consent conditions would not be consistent with the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
For further information contact Peter McCallum on (02) 4966 8388, email or visit
Peter McCallum Peter McCallum
Peter McCallum has a broad range of civil and structural engineering design, construction supervision and RMS Project Verification experience. He also has significant experience in the provision of development engineering and certification services in the Hunter region. Peter began working for Barker Ryan Stewart in 2012 and was appointed as the Hunter Manager in 2014 due to his impressionable character, commitment and his approachable nature.