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Glossary of terms

Look here for common industry terminology and abbreviations

List of abbreviations


Accredited Certifier

Sometimes called a private certifier, an accredited certifier is a professional trained in a particular field of building or subdivision construction or development control (such as engineering, building surveying or town planning) who is authorised to issue certain certificates and perform specific duties under the legislation.

Accreditation body

The professional body authorised by the Minister for Planning & Infrastructure, which can accredit individuals with the right to act as an Accredited Certifier.

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Building Certificate

A certificate issued by a local council confirming it will not make certain orders or take certain action in relation to a building.

Building Code of Australia (BCA)

The BCA is a set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings across Australia.

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The public register of land boundaries that defines the separate holdings of land.

Certifying authority

The person authorised to issue certain certificates or act as the principal certifying authority (PCA). It could be Council, the Minister or an accredited certifier.

Commission of Inquiry (for environment and planning)

Hearing, by an independent person, of evidence from interested parties on an issue. Recommendations are made to the person/body responsible for the decision (usually the Minister).

Compliance Certificate

A certificate issued by a certifying authority that confirms that the conditions of consent comply with the applicable standards and that work has been properly carried out.

Complying development

Routine development that can be certified by a council or a private certifier.

Complying Development Certificate

A certificate that allows a complying development to be carried out.


The requirement for a government agency to consider development proposals in the light of its specialised functions and policies, and decide whether it agrees with the development taking place.

Consent authority

The council, a minister or public authority having the function to determine the application (if a provision of the Act, the regulations or an environmental planning instrument so specifies).

Construction Certificate

A certificate that allows building or subdivision work to start.

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Designated development

A development that is likely to have significant impacts on the environment and is subject to special procedures.

Development Application (DA)

An application seeking consent to carry out development. A separate application is required for a complying development certificate.

Development consent

Consent given to carry out development.

Development Control Plan (DCP)

Detailed guideline setting out the controls that apply to a particular type of development or in a particular area. A DCP refines or supplements a regional environmental plan (REP) or local environmental plan (LEP).

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Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

A specialised part of the decision-making process, where the environmental impact is considered in detail, together with other aspects of the development.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

A formal evaluation of the effect or likely effect of a development or other activity on the environment.

Environmental Planning Instruments (EPIs)

The local environmental plans (LEP), regional environmental plans (REP) and state environmental planning policies (SEPP), which describe the current planning status and/or future developments of an area.

Exempt development Some minor development may not require development consent. Refer to the council’s exempt development policy for more information.

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Integrated development

Proposals that require development consent as well as a specified permit/approval from a state agency.

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Local Environmental Plan (LEP)

The council zoning provisions that establish the uses and standards that regulate the extent of development. They are prepared by councils and approved by the Minister.

Local Environmental Study (LES)

Study undertaken to gather information needed in order to draft a new local environmental plan.

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Occupation Certificate

A post construction certificate issued by a PCA that allows the occupation or use of a building.

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Part 4A Certificate

A construction, compliance, occupation or subdivision certificate.

Planning Certificate

A certificate that provides information on the development potential of a parcel of land, including any planning restrictions that apply.

Principal Certifying Authority (PCA)

An accredited certifier or council appointed to oversee the building or subdivision process.

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Regional Environmental Plans (REP)

Address matters of regional significance.

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Strata Certificate

A certificate that allows a subdivision to be registered by the Department of Lands.

State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPP)

Address matters of state significance and are proposed by the Minister and approved by the Governor.

Subdivision Certificate

A certificate that allows a strata subdivision to be registered by the Department of Lands.

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Third party appeals

Appeals against an approval of a designated development that is lodged by the people objecting to the development.

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The system of categorising land uses as prohibited, requiring consent or not requiring consent within particular areas.

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List of abbreviations

BCA Building Code of Australia
CC Construction Certificate
CDC Complying Development Certificate
DCP Development Control Plan
EIS Environmental Impact Statement
EPI Environmental Planning Instrument
LEP Local Environmental Plan
OC Occupation Certificate
PCA Principal Certifying Authority
REP Regional Environmental Plan
SEPP State Environmental Planning Policy

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