Unauthorised works or activities


Unauthorised works and activities are regularly identified through Council’s routine and reactive surveillance activities.

They may also be brought to Council’s attention during the property exchange process or if we receive a complaint from a neighbouring property owner or interested party.

Council has a minimal tolerance approach to unauthorised development and any breach under the relevant legislation. This approach ensures consistent and effective enforcement takes place.

What are unauthorised works and activities?

Unauthorised works and activities are works or activities that have been carried out without the necessary approval under the relevant legislation or have been carried out in breach of relevant legislation.  

Unauthorised work can range from minor breaches with little or no environmental harm, to significant breaches that can considerably impact the health , safety, and amenity of the natural and built environment.


What action will Council take?

There are a range of enforcement actions that Council may take when unauthorised works or activities breach legislation.

They include but are not limited to:

  • seeking a voluntary written undertaking from the alleged offender to cease the unauthorised development; and/or
  • issuing a verbal or written warning
  • issuing a notice or order to stop work, demolish, alter, repair, or remove the unauthorised structure/work; and/or
  • issuing Penalty Infringement Notices (a on the spot fine); and/or
  • commencing prosecution or seeking a Court Order in the NSW Local Court or the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Council exercises discretion when deciding how to resolve unauthorised works or activities

We consider all relevant information including but not limited to:

  • available evidence; and
  • the environmental harm and public safety risks; and
  • cost to the community of any action; and
  • circumstances of the individual case; and
  • public policy; and 
  • precedent considerations.


We have dedicated staff who are authorised to issue and enforce notices and orders and PINs under the following legislation:

What happens to unauthorised buildings and works?

Council may give favourable consideration to a Building Information Certificate application (see details below).

A Building Information Certificate takes into consideration whether:

  • Council has granted approval for the use of the unauthorised works or structure; and
  • the unauthorised works or structure satisfies relevant construction standards including the National Construction Code (NCC).

If these factors can be satisfied, Council may allow the unauthorised works to remain.

If the unauthorised works do not meet relevant planning controls or approvals, or fail to satisfy relevant construction standards, Council may require them to be demolished.

What we manage


  • Breaches of the Building Code of Australia
  • Building work outside the permitted working hours
  • Swimming pool fence compliance
  • Unauthorised/unlawful building work
  • Fire-affected, dilapidated/dangerous buildings and structures


Erosion and sediment control

  • Sediment washing away from development sites into watercourses including Council's stormwater system, Lake Macquarie and its tributaries
  • Industry and community education
  • Breaches of the Protection of Environment Operations Act 1997



  • Removal of trees without consent on private land

Fire safety

  • Breaches of fire safety schedule for business/commercial premises.


What we do not manange

In these situations, Council encourages residents to seek independent legal advice.

Building Information Certificate (BIC)

An application for a Building Information Certificate (BIC) is typically made when unauthorised building works have been carried out.

As it is not possible to obtain development consent or a construction certificate for a building that has already been erected, a BIC is generally the only option available to “regularise” building work that has been carried out unlawfully.

A council can inform an applicant the works that need to be done to the building before the council will issue the Building Information Certificate. A council can also refuse an application for a Building Information Certificate, but it must give sufficiently detailed reasons to inform the applicant of the work needed before the certificate can be issued.

Once a council issues a Building Information Certificate, it cannot give an order under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 or the Local Government Act 1993, or take civil proceedings in relation to any matters that existed before the Building Information Certificate was issued.

Additionally, a council cannot give an order or take civil proceedings in relation to matters arising from the deterioration of the building for 7 years after the Building Information Certificate is issued.

A Building Information Certificate is usually requested by buyers or sellers of property before settlement, to make sure that what is being bought or sold is not going to be the subject of action by the council.

How to apply for a BIC

1. Prepare

A Building Information Certificate application may be requested for either a part or whole of a building and may be requested by:

  1. The owner of the property;
  2. Another person, with the consent of the owner of the property;
  3. The purchaser of a property under a contract of sale (including the purchaser's solicitor or agent);
  4. A public authority that has notified the owner of its intention to apply for the certificate.

A council may request an application for a BIC to include the relevant information required for it to determine an application. The applicant may be required to supply information, such as building plans, specifications, survey reports and certificates (i.e. engineers certificate)

If you are unsure about what specific documents you will need, please speak with one of our Building Surveyors or reach out to a professional consultant.  

2. Register

Prior to being able to submit any Application through the NSW Planning Portal, you must create an account (you may have already created an account to submit your Development Application, you can use the same login details). 

Register or log in 

3. Lodge 

Once you have all the required documentation, you're ready to lodge your BIC. You'll need to upload electronic versions of the required documentation in order to complete your application. 

Lodge a BIC

4. Pay

Lodgement fees will be calculated by Council staff and provided to you via email after we've received your BIC. Your BIC will not be officially lodged until all outstanding fees have been paid.

5. Assessment

Our Building Surveyors will assess the BIC application. You will generally not need to be involved in this process, unless the application is incomplete, and you are asked to provide additional information - this can cause delays in processing times. 

6. Determination

Your application will either be Determined (approved) or refused by the Building Department. You will receive the notifications via email. All documents can be accessed via your account with the NSW Planning Portal.