Why do I need an occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection?
In addition to the responsibility of the Relevant Building Surveyor ensuring that a building permit is finalised, it is in the best interests of the owner and builder that building work has been satisfactorily completed and that an occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection has been issued. An owner should complete the building work and obtain the required permit or certificate for the following reasons:
- Section 39 of the Building Act 1993 requires that - where a building permit states that an occupancy permit is required for the building, it is an offence for a person to occupy the building unless the occupancy permit has been issued. Therefore, it is the owner's responsibility to ensure that the occupancy permit has been issued.
- An insurance policy may be rendered invalid if a building is occupied without a required certificate of final inspection or occupancy permit.
- When an owner wishes to sell a property, prospective purchasers will want to know that any building permit issued in relation to the property has been finalised by the issue of a certificate of final inspection or occupancy permit as required. Particulars of a building permit are required to be included in the Section 32 Sale of Land Act statement for the sale of the property.
- The warranty period is triggered by the date of issue of the occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection. This period is extended beyond the time necessary through delaying the obtaining of the certificate or permit.
- The owner and builder should also be aware that under a major domestic building contract, the builder may not seek final payment until the building work is complete (apart from rectification of any minor defects) and an occupancy permit or a certificate of final inspection has been issued. The owner may refuse final payment if the certificate or permit has not been issued. If an occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection is refused by the Relevant Building Surveyor because of defective or non-complying building work undertaken by a builder, the builder is responsible for rectification of this work.
- Owners of certain buildings (buildings other than a house) have a legal responsibility to ensure that maintenance of essential safety measures is carried out and an annual essential safety measures report is completed. At the time of issuing an occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection the Relevant Building Surveyor will assess the building and list the essential safety measures in the building and how they are to be maintained in accordance with Part 12 of the Regulations. More