Who are Owner-Builders?
An owner-builder is anyone who takes on the job of managing their own residential building project and performs the co-ordinating and contracting roles usually undertaken by a builder. You can also be a long term lease holder or have an interest in the land.
As an Owner-Builder you are responsible for:
- Overseeing and scheduling all aspects of the building process, such as the arrival and departure of tradespeople, ordering and delivery of materials, and management of the building site
- Obtaining all necessary Council and Authority approvals for the work
- Ensuring that the financial, taxation and insurance requirements of the building work are carried out correctly and fully
- Ensuring that all relevant laws are complied with
- Providing a safe working environment
- Taking out insurance if you sell your home within seven years of building it.
- Obtaining your Owner Builder Permit and registering with the office of Fair Trading in your state as an owner builder.
Staff at the offices Fair Trading Centres can assist you with general information on obtaining an owner builder licence in your state.
VIC-Consumer & Business Affairs 03 9627 6000
NSW-Fair Trading Centres 13 32 20
QLD-Queensland Building Services Authority 07 3225 2855
SA-Office of Consumer Affairs 08 8204 9644
TAS-HIA Tasmania - 03 6234 8922
ACT-BEPCON (Building, Electrical & Plumbing Control) 02 6207 6262
WA-Builders Registration Board 08 9321 6891
Other sources of information
- Your Local Council will have information about what they will require of owner-builders.
- Government agencies, building centres and material suppliers can provide you with a wealth of general and technical information.
- Talk to professional builders or people who have already been owner-builders.
- Some building centres, community colleges and commercial organisations run courses on aspects of building and owner -building.
- You can find useful books and magazines at your local bookshop, newsagent or public library.
Where do I get my Owner-builder Permit?
You can apply for your Owner-builder Permit from any Fair Trading Centre either in person or by mail.
You will need:
- Proof of ownership or long-term leasehold interest in the land
- Your Building Application number issued by your Local Council
- A copy of your building plans (including site plans) as submitted to Council, and
- Your Owner-builder Permit application fee.
- If the value of the proposed work is over $12,000 you must provide evidence you have completed an approved owner builder course or have approved equivalent experience
When do I need an owner builder permit?
You will need an owner builder permit if you are planning to;
- Do residential building work valued at more than $1,000
- Undertake the construction of your own home
- Perform building work, renovations, additions or alterations on you own home
- Construct a swimming pool where cost of materials and labour is more than $5000 and needs a complying development certificate from your local council
Under NSW law all owner-builders must obtain an Owner-builder Permit from the office of Fair Trading if the work is over $5,000 (including labour and materials) and requires Building approval from council and relates to a single dwelling or dual occupancy. Becoming a successful owner-builder however requires more than a permit - it takes organisation, self motivation, communication skills and lots of free time.
The Home Building Act
The home building industry in NSW is regulated by the law called the Home Building Act 1989. Amendments to the legislation were introduced on 1 May 1997, bringing an improvement to the existing home building laws. Some of the changes brought about by the Home Building Act are discussed in this information. (Other states have similar laws, your Owner Builder training will acquaint you with the required knowledge pertaining to your state) Even though the information can be a bit dry it is important to get to know the laws that protect your rights and the future of your home.