Apply for physical containment facility certification

Certain work with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) must be undertaken in certified facilities. Find out more about the certification process including the requirements for each type of facility and how to apply.

Apply for facility certification

Check the facility certification guidelines for the facility type you are applying for. 

You must include a completed application checklist when applying for certification of:

  • a PC2 Large Scale facility
  • any type of PC3 facility
  • a PC4 facility (contact us for more information).

OGTR staff will also inspect these facilities before certification. Inspection checklists are available for reference. 

Applications to certify a PC3 Plant Facility are considered on a case-by-case basis.

As a guide, a PC3 Plant Facility is expected to comply with the PC3 Laboratory Guidelines. However, the Regulator may impose exemptions and extra conditions to ensure containment of PC3 GM microorganisms used in or on plant hosts.

You can also apply for facility certification using a downloadable form.

Understanding containment facility certification levels

Physical containment (PC) facilities are classified at 4 levels based on:

  • the structural integrity of buildings
  • what equipment is used
  • how facility workers handle GMOs.

PC level 1 (PC1) facilities are used to contain organisms posing the lowest risk to human health and the environment.

PC level 4 (PC4) facilities provide the most secure and stringent containment conditions.

The Gene Technology Regulator certifies PC facilities to ensure that:

  • they meet appropriate standards for GMO containment 
  • procedures and practices are carried out by trained and competent staff.

All certified facilities must be inspected before certification. PC2, PC3 or PC4 certified facilities will also be inspected annually.

Understanding facility types

The facility type is based on the containment level and the type of organism being contained.

The following table provides an overview of the facility types.

Type Appropriate for
Animal facility
(PC2, PC3)
  • The housing/keeping/rearing of GM animals (except invertebrates and aquatic organisms - including amphibians).
  • The housing/keeping/rearing of animals (except invertebrates and aquatic organisms - including amphibians) that contain GMOs.
Aquatic facility
  • The keeping or rearing of GM aquatic organisms (including amphibians).
  • The keeping or rearing of aquatic organisms (including amphibians) that contain GMOs.
Constant temperature room
  • Storing samples, cultures and seeds and incubating cultures.
  • Growing plants tissue and cell shaking.
  • GM micro-organisms (when there is less than or equal to 25 litres of culture of any one GMO).
  • GM animals (whether or not they contain micro-organisms) as permitted by the Gene Technology Regulations 2001.
  • Non-GM animals containing GM micro-organisms.
  • Non-GM plants that contain or host GMOs.


  • Dealings that are authorised by a licence requiring this level of containment.
Invertebrate facility
(PC2, PC3)
  • The keeping or rearing of GM terrestrial invertebrates.
  • The keeping or rearing of terrestrial invertebrates that contain GMOs.
(PC2, PC3)
  • Dealings with GM micro-organisms.
  • Dealings with GM plant tissue culture or GM plants contained in a plant growth cabinet or other containment device approved in writing by the Regulator.
  • Laboratory procedures involving animals, invertebrates, or aquatic organisms if not otherwise prohibited by licence conditions.
  • The growing of plants for no more than the minimum time required for conducting dealings with GMOs (PC3 only).
Large grazing animals facility
  • Dealings involving large grazing animals such as sheep, cattle, goats, pigs and horses.
Large scale facility
(PC1, PC2)
  • Conduct of dealings when there is greater than 25 litres of culture of any one GMO.
Plant facility
  • The growing of GM terrestrial plants.
  • The growing of terrestrial plants that contain GMOs.


Deciding what type and level of certification you need

The Guide to Physical Containment Levels and Facility Types will help you decide which PC level and facility type to apply for.

There are guidelines for each level and type of certification. They explain the requirements described in the Gene Technology Act 2000.

You can also find out more about PC facilities certification in the Regulator’s explanatory note.

If you have any questions about certification, contact us.

Decision timeframes

The Regulator will make a decision about the certification of a facility within 90 working days of receiving an application.

This does not include weekends, ACT public holidays, and time spent waiting for applicants to respond to requests for additional information. 

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