Developers worried about not being able to obtain an interim occupation certificate after 1 September 2018, can relax (at least for now).

The Government has made the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Savings, Transitional and Other Provisions) Regulation 2017 (Savings Regulation) to push back the expiry date for the former building and subdivision provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) until 1 September 2019.

In June this year, we drew attention to the then fast approaching deadline after which would render interim occupation certificates for partially completed buildings would be rendered a thing of the past. An interim occupation certificate currently enables the use or occupation of a partially completed building, or part of building, when issued by the principal certifying authority. Read our previous article, here.

While the phasing out of these certificates has been foreshadowed for several years, we argued that the transition to the new regime on 1 September 2018 was too abrupt and did not give time for the industry to adjust.

Of particular concern was the fact that projects with existing development consents would lose the ability to use interim occupation certificates after 1 September 2018, though the projects had been approved, planned and financed on the basis of staged completion.

The government has alleviated these concerns somewhat with the making of this Savings Regulation, which will give developers one more year of flexibility with respect to project stages and contractual milestones.

However, the Regulation does not 'grandfather' existing consents which means that projects commenced under the old regime cannot be completed in accordance with the old regime.

Unless the transition is again postponed, interim occupation certificates will no longer be issued from 1 September 2019 for any development.

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