On this page: What is an owner builder? An owner builder’s responsibilities Employing a contractor
What is an owner builder?
An owner builder is someone who decides to build and oversee the construction of their property themselves. You don’t have to have any formal trade qualifications to be an owner builder, but specialist work - eg plumbing, gas fitting and electrical work, must be completed by a licensed professional
If you organise for the construction or renovation of two or more buildings within a five year period you may be considered to be carrying on business as a building work contractor. All building work contractors must have the appropriate licence.
Building your own home often takes longer and costs more than originally planned. It can be expensive, stressful, time consuming and complex. If you have building experience the savings can be significant.
You can choose to do all the work yourself, with the exception of specialist work, or can employ contractors to do all or some of the work.
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An owner builder’s responsibilities
If you decide to build the property yourself some of the things you will be responsible for include:
- being aware of and complying with all the regulations that apply to the construction
- providing plans, specifications, engineering and technical details to the appropriate authorities and contractors
- getting the necessary approvals from all relevant authorities - eg local council
- calling for tenders and quotes, selecting and contracting professionals, and organising payment
- dealing with any disputes or problems that arise
- organising finance
- ordering, delivery, management, storage and coordination of materials and services
- organising for the building to be inspected by a professional building works supervisor or surveyor on completion and obtaining a signed statement of compliance
- ensuring all necessary insurance is in place - eg public liability insurance.
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Employing a contractor
You may choose to have contractors complete part or all of the construction, or construction up to the lock up stage and finish the work yourself. Lock-up is the stage that the doors and windows can be locked. It usually happens after the completion of the:
- doors and windows
- electrical work and gas fitting
- drainage and plumbing.
If you employ a contractor for any building work that costs $12,000 or more they must complete a domestic building work contract with you. If council approval is required, the builder must take out building indemnity insurance. This can only be taken out by a licensed builder.
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On this siteDevelopment applications Residential building regulations Practical advice for selecting a builder, tradesperson or contractor Permanent Survey Marks
Other websitesRenovator's guide
- Your Home websiteYour Home technical manual
- Your Home website
Downloads Building extending or renovating home
(PDF 2.2MB) Thinking of moving or renovating your home
For an alternative version of these documents contact Consumer and Business Services
(Consumer Affairs).Owner builder responsibilities under the Development Act 1993
(PDF 288KB) A guide to building or renovating your ideal home
For an alternative version of these documents contact Planning general enquiries