Certifier cancelled and disqualified for 10 years

May 1st, 2024

A recent decision by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) is the most significant decision made against a certifier in NSW since 1998.  
NCAT found that building occupants could have been fatally impacted by errors made by certifier, Mr Mohamad Orfali. These included wrongly issuing complying development certificates (CDCs) for 13 developments for residents needing high-level physical support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. 
NCAT found that Mr Orfali: 

  • issued certificates for proposed buildings which wouldn’t comply with the fire safety provisions of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) 

  • incorrectly classified the developments under the BCA and misrepresented them as ‘group homes’ 

  • acted outside his authority as a certifier, as he was only authorised to work on Class 1 and 10 buildings 

  • failed to comply with a condition of registration, by issuing the CDCs without first applying to the Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW for a report. 

Additionally, in a different development, Mr Orfali issued a construction certificate for a Class 2 building that was inconsistent with the development consent, the BCA and the Swimming Pools Act 1992. For this development, NCAT found that Mr Orfali: 

  • made a false and misleading statement by claiming that his description of the building as Class 2 was a typing error 

  • compromised the safety of occupants by issuing a construction certificate without the required measures for both fire safety and swimming pool safety 

performed his role recklessly; for example, to address the safety deficiencies in the swimming pool, he relied on potential conditions of development consent.