Certificate for Public Use (CPU)

Public premises can only be occupied if a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) has been issued or a CPU is in place. It is an offence to occupy or use a building without either a CCC or CPU. These certificates may apply to all or part of a building.

A certificate for public use is an assurance that a building (or part of a building) is safe for the public to use whilst construction is taking place. This provision is contained within sections 362A – 363C of the Building Act 2004, which came into force on 14 April 2005. 

When will a certificate be issued?

Council will only issue a certificate if it is satisfied that members of the public can use the premises safely. This is likely to involve an inspection. Obtaining a CPU does not relieve the owner of a building from the obligation to apply for a CCC after all the building work has been carried out. In order to apply for a CPU construction must not be completed and there must be a need for the building to open. Employees are not considered members of the public.

What types of buildings require a certificate?

A certificate is required for all buildings used by the public, such as a shopping centre or store, or other buildings where the public enter for free or on payment of a fee, such as a sports stadium, swimming pool or zoo.

Who can apply for a certificate?

 Any person who owns, occupies, or controls premises intended for public use, or their agent can apply for a CPU.  Applicants must provide evidence of ownership or right to occupy the building. The following documents satisfy this requirement:

  • Copy of certificate of title
  • Lease agreement
  • Agreement for sale and purchase
  • License
  • Property management agreement
  • Any other document showing the full name of the applicant (agreeable to Council)
  • Written authority from owner, if application made by someone other than the owner

How do I apply for a certificate for public use?

A CPU must be applied for on the appropriate form; a copy of this form is available from our website, or from your local area office. You must include the deposit fee as part of your application. The application must be accompanied by the following documents:

Plans and specifications clearly showing the part(s) of the premises that the application applies to

  • If the application is for a new building, please attach a list of all active specified systems to your application together with an application for a compliance schedule so that an ‘interim’ compliance schedule can be issued with the CPU (please attach test certificates, commissioning reports and IQP statements for each of the active systems).
  • If the application is for an alteration to an existing building and an amendment to an existing compliance schedule is required as a result of the building work, please attach a list of all specified systems that are being altered, added to or removed from the building in the course of the building work (please also identify whether there are any temporary modifications to specified systems and what maintenance and testing will be performed during the construction period).
  • An analysis of the impact of building work on areas intended to be occupied and the proposals to minimise those impacts considering, where relevant, the impact on the following areas:
  • access to the occupied area, including access for people with disabilities, guarding of changes in level, and the removal of conflict with construction traffic and stored material
  • means of escape from fire, including egress path with restriction, route changes and possible need for interim evacuation plans
  • operation of specified systems, including active fire alerting and suppression and any proposed compensatory temporary arrangements
  • structural integrity and any temporary propping
  • passive fire rating integrity and any proposed compensatory temporary arrangements
  • building environment, including sealing off occupied areas from construction noise and dust, and maintaining adequate ventilation
  • sanitary facilities adequate for proposed occupant numbers and also for people with disabilities
  • construction area security.

Once received, Council has 20 working days to decide whether to issue the certificate. If further information is requested during processing, the period is suspended until that information is provided.

Additional documentation to support CPU application

The following list of documentation may also be required (if applicable) to support an application for a CPU

  • PS3 Emergency lighting test certificate 
  • PS3 Fire protection 
  • PS3 Air conditioning/mechanical ventilation (HVAC) 
  • Auto doors fail safe - PS3 – Construction
  • Energy works certificate - Electrical 
  • Energy works certificate - Gas 
  • PS3 Glazing installation 
  • PS4 Structural 
  • PS3 Lifts and escalators 
  • PS3 Riser fire mains
  • Any other information that Council reasonably requires regarding the operation of specified systems or confirming compliance.

When will a certificate not be issued?

A CPU cannot be issued if: 

  • building work was completed before 1 July 1992
  • building work is complete and no CCC has been issued
  • part or all of the building required to be occupied is deemed unsafe to use, for example:-
  • if the specified systems affected by the building work are not compliant
  • if the provision for means of escape is unsatisfactory
  • if the emergency warning systems are not adequate
  • building work was carried out without first obtaining a building consent (that is, unauthorised work)

It is an offence to allow members of the public to use a building, or any parts thereof, if:-

  • the building that has not been certified as safe, or where a certificate for public use has not been issued, andwhere a certificate for public use has been issued, but the conditions of its issue have not been complied with

Under s.363 a person who commits an offence under this section of the Building Act is liable to a fine not exceeding $200,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding $20,000 for every day or part day during, which the offence has continued.