What is a private certifier?

A private certifier can approve and inspect building work in the same manner as the local council. A private certifier is engaged under a written contract with the person who made the application. This may be the building designer, the builder or the property owner. Once hired, a private certifier must also notify the local council within five business days.

Private certifiers are licensed to practice by the Building Services Authority and must abide by State legislation and the Code of Conduct. The Code and the laws require a private certifier to act in the public interest and not take action that would compromise the health and safety of any person, the amenity of their property or significantly conflict with a local council’s planning scheme. The Code also sets out standards of conduct and professionalism expected from certifiers.

When can a private certifier issue an approval?

A private certifier cannot issue an approval until other necessary approvals, such as town planning approval by the council, have been given, and copies of relevant documents are lodged with the council for archiving.

What does a private certifier do?

A private certifier can perform the following functions:

  • assess whether proposed building work complies with acceptable health and safety standards called up by building legislation (ie Building Code of Australia); .
  • issue approval for the building work;
  • carry out inspections to determine if the building complies with building legislation and any conditions they impose on the approval;
  • issue a final inspection certificate for the building work; and
  • take any necessary action to ensure the building work complies with the legislation.

Where the building work involves a detached house or ancillary buildings such as a garage or shed, the private certifier must send a copy of the development approval and approved plans to the owner.

What inspections will be done?

The required inspections will be shown on the development approval. For houses the following inspections must be undertaken:

  • Foundation and excavation (before the footings are poured by engineer);
  • Slab (before the concrete is poured by engineer);
  • Frame (before the cladding or lining is fixed or for reinforced masonry construction, before the wall cavities are filled); and
  • Final (at the completion of all aspects of the building work).

For alterations including additions to a house, inspections must be undertaken for each stage of the building work that applies to the alteration.

For private garages, carports and sheds an inspection is required at the final stages of construction. For swimming pools and required fencing, an inspection must be carried out and the fence certified before water is placed in the pool.

The person carrying out the building work must give notice to the private certifier when an inspection is due. A private certifier or council certifier must carry out a pool fencing inspection. For the other inspections, the private certifier will either carry out inspections personally or appoint competent persons to inspect and approve aspects of work. The private certifier will send a final inspection certificate to the owner nominated on the application form, and a copy will be given to the local council at the completion of the building work.

Who is responsible for the standard of work?

Both the building contractor and owner are responsible for ensuring building work is carried out to a standard of quality and finish required by the owner under the conditions of contract. The private certifier is not responsible for standards of workmanship higher than the acceptable health and safety standards called upon by State legislation.

What is the State legislation?

  • Sustainable Planning Act 2009 – the approval and appeal processes for building work and the responsibilities of a private certifier.
  • Building Act 1975 – the licensing, auditing and compliant investigation of private certifiers by the Building Services Authority.
  • Building Regulation 2006 – assessment of applications, certificates of classification and references the Building Code of Australia and Queensland Development Code as the standards applying in Queensland.

State legislation can be accessed at

Where can I get further information?

Further information about the performance of a private certifier and the obligations of a building are available from the Building Services Authority. The Building Services Authority can be contacted by email at or by phone (07) 3225 2855.

Further information about State government legislation and the Code of Conduct for private certifiers is available from Building Codes Queensland, Department of Infrastructure and Planning on or phone (07) 3239 6369.