Form 21 - contracts- and Real Estate


Legal Jargon

Statute law within Queensland, under the Building Act and Building Regulations (Schedule 1), other various Acts e.g. Integrated and Planning Act, combined with Brisbane City Council Codes/City Plan stipulations and other forms of legislation (Australian Standards etc) set the parameters for all new building work carried out for Residential construction.  Of most importance is the determination as to whether or not any building work requires a building approval/development application, or is able to be constructed without an application.


Very little building work of substance is able to be carried out without applications or approvals and is usually limited to the smaller construction like fencing under a height of 2 m or small decks and 10 m², without a roof and without a drop to the ground of over a meter etc.  The terminology used for whether or not it building work requires an approval or not is that the building work is “prescribed” or “not prescribed”.  Prescribed meaning that it is not subject to an application or building approval.

Despite the legislation being in place,  experience shows that a significant amount of Residential construction carried out within Toowoomba is done in a manner where either no application/approval where obtained, or there was a building approval obtained but the work has not been formally signed off with a final inspection certificate, as per the requirements of state law.

Form 21

It is the date of unconditional and you have just found out your carport doesn’t have a Form 21

My belief is that the area of certification for new building work on properties, either during original construction or retrospectively, is the most important consideration for you, should you be made aware that the property has been subject to new building work.  It should be treated as being absolutely critical, as it can be extremely problematic not only for any insurance matters but also with re-sale of the property.

Toowoomba Regional Council – Planning and Building

Other Implications

Incomplete or informal building work can have major ramifications and disastrous consequences for property owners, particularly in the event of a fire/or like, where it is known that insurance companies have rejected claims for properties that have had incomplete and informal construction of this manner in place (in the fine print of their policies)

Time and time again, properties are being marketed as being complete and final, despite the fact no certification is presented for any new building work that has been carried out.  It is around 90% of situations where no certification is provided for any retrospective new building work, that upon further investigation, it is found that the property does not have a final inspection certificate for the work.

FORM 21 Astoundingly, it is also not uncommon for new construction of residential properties not to have received their final inspection certificate, as there is no process in place with the private certifiers and Toowoomba City Council to ensure a building approval/application obtains its final inspection certificate.

When I had my construction business with my husband, we where on a number of occasions asked to help with understanding what a FORM 21 was. (not our clients)

If you are trying to determine what has been lodged with the Council for the building application, been granted a building approval by a building certifier and then been issued with a final inspection certificate-which in essence closes the process and formality for the building work by way of being lodged with the relevant Council authority then you must not accept anything else other than formal certification substantiating that the work has achieved a final inspection certificate of classification. This is normally by way of  FORM 21, or previously prior to around 2006 what was simply called a final inspection certificate.

Often people mistake a building approval as being the only requirement, however, there is a very formal process of certification and inspections involving footings, framing and final and unless all of these are done the work remains incomplete and if that is the case can be extremely problematic for property owners.

Best practice

You should request copies of all documentation pertaining to the work, including plans warranties, all certification documentation provided and generally anything you are able to obtain, as in the event you obtain the property it would be of most benefit to having it on file.  Of extreme importance, you should very specifically ask for a copy of the stamped ‘approved plans’ and the final inspection certificate for the work, to ensure the plans for the construction match what was actually built.  It is far from unusual to find situations where approvals were given for a specific amount of construction although additional construction was carried out that was not given approval.

The documentation required for a form 21 or final certificate can be obtained by simply googling form 21 requirements and you will need all of that to be provided to achieve your final certification. Once again, this is not an option but a requirement under the state legislation of the Building Act.



“let’s talk property”  30 years experience in the building industry and past Board Member for Queensland Master Builders, Downs & Western Councillor for Qld Master Builders (10 years). Property investing experience for over 28 years. 27 State Awards for Building & Design. 2 – Customer Satisfaction Award and 3 Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce Awards for Excellence.

Member of: Women on the Move, Zonta Club of Toowoomba Garden City, YWCA Qld

Board Member: Chief Operations Officer Toowoomba Suicide Prevention Network – TSPN

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