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Building certificates of classification – know your obligations

What is a Certification of Classification?

It is a document issued under the Building Act 1975 which states the classification of a building and describes the way in which the building can be used. There are 10 different classifications of buildings, all of which have different uses.


Should I have one for my building?

If your building was built after 1 April 1975, a certificate of classification should have issued for the building. These certificates were originally issued by the relevant Council but now are issued by private certifiers. If you cannot find your certificate, you can apply to the Council for a copy.

What does the Act say about displaying these?

The Act was amended in April 2008 to require owners of buildings other than class 1a buildings (for example single houses) and class 10 buildings (for example domestic garages and carports) to display the certificate of classification issued for the building.

Where do I display it?

Before class 1b to class 9 buildings can be occupied, the certificate of classification must be displayed as near as practicable to the main entrance to the building. If the building has more than one entrance, it is only necessary for it to be displayed at one entrance.

It is advisable for this entrance to be the one where emergency services personnel are likely to enter the building in the event of an emergency, as the certificates contain information which will be of assistance to those personnel and also to the occupants of the building. If there is more than one tenancy in the building, the certificate does not have to be displayed in each tenancy but should be displayed near the main entrance of the building, although a copy of it may be displayed near the main entrance to each tenancy.

How do I display it?

It is advisable for the certificate to be displayed in a frame securely attached to a wall to ensure it is not damaged or lost. If it is to be displayed in an area which is affected by the weather, it is also advisable for the frame or whatever it is displayed in to be weatherproof.

What happens if I do not display the certificate?

If you do not display the certificate of classification as required or if you fail to comply with any restrictions stated on the certificate, you commit an offence and can be liable for a monetary penalty.

What if I sell the building?

The standard Contract for the sale of commercial buildings provides for the vendor to deliver the certificate of classification to the purchaser on settlement. It is therefore advisable for you to keep a copy of the certificate readily available for this purpose in the event of a sale.

For further information

Please contact Rob Lalor at robertl@redchip.com.au or phone 3223 6100 for specific advice.

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