Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Airport Building Controller FAQs

Q: What is an Airport Building Controller?

A: The Secretary of the department has appointed an Airport Building Controller (ABC) at each leased federal airport. The ABC is responsible for ensuring that activities at leased airports meet the appropriate building and engineering standards.

Q: What construction and building activities at leased federal airports require approval?

A: All construction and building activities must be notified to the Airport Building Controller (ABC). These activities cover, for example, new buildings, terminals, hangars, shop fit-outs and civil works including runways, taxiways, roads and drains. Demolition activities are also included as building activities. Appropriate building activities require ABC approval to carry out the building activity. A formal application to the ABC and payment of the associated fee are required. If proponents are unsure whether a proposed building activity requires an approval, they are advised to consult the relevant ABC at the airport.

Q: Do all building activities at airports require an approval, including minor alterations and maintenance?

A: Under the Regulations, minor building and construction activities, including repairs and alterations, do not require a formal application, but must be brought to the attention of the ABC.

Q: What does the approval process involve?

A: The specific process for the approval of building and construction activities is set out in the Airports (Building Control) Regulations 1996. Copies of the Regulations and further details and procedures can be obtained from the ABC.

Q: What Building and Construction Standards are applied at leased airports?

A: For the majority of work involving buildings, the relevant standards can be found in the Building Code of Australia (BCA), as applied in the State/Territory in which the building activity is taking place. Where no such standard is available, a recognised international standard or performance objective determined by engineering assessment in accordance with the BCA will be used.

Q: How does an Airport Building Controller deal with developments that fall outside the BCA, for example aerobridges?

A: Where the BCA does not apply (e.g. in relation to civil engineering works such as roads and bridges, or specific aeronautical structures such as aerobridges, hangars, etc) the relevant standards will be specified by the ABC. Generally these will be approved Australian standards, or where no such standard is available, a recognised international standard.

Q: When is a certificate of compliance required?

A: A certificate of compliance is required for all building and construction work that requires formal approval by the ABC. Certificates are issued by the ABC after application and the payment of the associated fee. A certificate of occupancy is required before a building can be occupied and a certificate of use is required before other electrical or engineering works can be used. A number of transitional arrangements apply.

Q: Can private certification be used?

A: The Regulations allow for the ABC to rely on expert certificates provided by third parties.

Q: What is the role of the Airport Lessee Company in the building approval process?

A: The consent of the Airport Lessee Company (ALC) is required before any approval can be given by the ABC. The ALC will review all applications to ensure that the proposal is consistent with the airport master plan, to ensure the development is consistent with its planning objectives and to assess the impact of the proposal on infrastructure and the operations of the airport. The ALC also has the power to impose appropriate conditions on building activities.

Q: Can I appeal a decision of the ABC?

A: The regulations provide for appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal from decisions made by the ALC or the ABC.

Q: What is the role of State or Territory laws in the building control process at leased federal airports?

A: Generally State and Territory laws in respect of building approvals and planning have no effect at leased federal airports. However, State and Territory law with respect to the registration of builders and other construction professionals, builder insurance, occupational health and safety, and fire safety apply at leased federal airports.

Q: How does the department select its Airport Building Controllers?

A: The department selects professional and experienced building control professionals for each airport through a competitive tender process.

Q: How can I contact an Airport Building Controller?

A: Airport Building Controllers are located on or near the leased federal airport they oversee.