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Principal Certifying Authority (PCA)

The Environmental Planning an Assessment Act 1979 (the Act) requires a PCA to be appointed before commencement of work on a development site. The PCA is nominated by the applicant and may be either a council or an accredited certifier (authorised to act as such). From appointment, the PCA is liable and has a duty of care in relation to any advice given and action taken (or not taken) in assuming the role under the legislation. In relation to building work, the PCA must assess whether the building is stable for occupation or use in accordance with its classification under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) before issuing an occupation certificate. A PCA must also be appointed to issue the subdivision certificate. Note: council will be the PCA for subdivision work unless the relevant local environmental plan specifically allows private certification of subdivisions (

Important things to know before appointing a PCA

You must appoint a PCA when building or subdivision work requires a construction certificate or a complying development certificate.

Getting a PCA report is a critical part of the development and should be followed out with the below procedures in mind:

  • A PCA will always be appointed before the building or subdivision work commences. Checks and inspections are also required to take place before and during construction.
  • The Council must be advised of the appointment of a PCA at least two days before building or subdivision work commences.
  • Applying for a construction certificate (CC) or a complying development certificate (CDC) is not the same as appointing a PCA. However, you may choose to appoint the accredited certifier who issues your CC or CDC as your PCA.
  • Remember – the PCA must be appointed before work commences on your site.

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