Owner Builders and Registered Builders Information :: SA, VIC, WA, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia

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  1. Owner Builders - Any individual can apply for an owner builders registration to build his or her own home. You can only apply for owner builders registration once every 7 years. Owner builder applications are available at your state Builders Registration Board and are generally downloadable on their website. A fee is payable with application.
  2. Registered Builders - If you are erecting a building worth more than $20,000 including erecting and slab you will need a registered builder (unless it is a dwelling and you are an owner builder). You can ring your local Builders Registration Board or Master Builders Association for a list of registered builders in your area.

Builders Registration Board of WA

Owner-builders are persons who construct for themselves a residential house or an industrial/commercial building, including additions.
To become an owner builder you must submit a fee, proof of identification and either a Residential Owner-Builder Statutory Declaration or an Industrial Owner-Builder Statutory Declaration to the Builders' Registration Board before the local government can issue you a building licence. The owner-builder Flowchart may assist you in deciding which documentation to complete.
You do not need to submit a statutory declaration if any of the following apply:

  • You are building outside the Board’s area of jurisdiction.
  • The total cost of construction (including materials and labour) is $20,000 or below.
  • You are constructing a non-residential ‘farm building’ where the building and the land are used primarily for agriculture.
  • The work is carried out by the Crown or local government.

If you are unsure of what you can build as an owner-builder, or if a building licence is required, contact your local government before submitting your statutory declaration, proof of identification and fee to the Board.
Before taking on a building project as an owner-builder, it is important to be aware of the restrictions, responsibilities and the risks involved, and consider whether your knowledge and experience is sufficient to successfully carry out the building work. The Board’s publication Thinking of Building or Renovating Your Own Home?provides further information.


Owner builder regulations - SA

The legislation surrounding owner builders differs from state to state, and has changed a number of times over the last few years. We will attempt to cover some of the main points, state by state, over the next few issues.

South Australia
Owner builders in South Australia do not have to attend any courses or provide any certificates.

Development Approval
A Development Approval is made up of at least two separate ‘provisional’ consents; a Development Plan consent and a Building Rules consent.
Development Plan consent is assessed against the zoning, policies and controls of the relevant Development Plan area, and is granted by your local council.

Building Rules consent is assessed against the provisions of the Building Rules (an edition of the Building Code of Australia with variations and additions specific to SA), and in some cases, Building Rules consent may be granted by a private certifier. These provisional consents can all be processed at once as part of the Development Approval, or the application can be lodged in stages if there is a possibility that Development Plan consent may not be granted.
Once the Development Approval is issued, building work can go ahead.

An application for Development Approval will require:

  • application form and fees
  • plans and details
  • technical plans of footings and structures
  • technical specifications 
  • Certificate of Title for the property

The Environment Protection Act 1993 may impose additional restrictions such as the hours that work can be carried out, the location and use of noisy equipment, measures to reduce soil erosion and the removal of construction wastes from sites. Your local council may also have by-laws relating to noise levels, on-site burning, removal of refuse and use of council footpaths.
Within 10 days of completion of the building work, a signed Statement of Compliance must be submitted to your local council. A registered building work supervisor or a private certifier must sign the statement.
As an owner builder you are ultimately responsible for the building work. If you sell the building, legal action can be taken against you for a period of up to ten years from the date of completion of the building work. The Statement of Compliance establishes the start date of the ten-year period.

Additional constraints:

Owner builders have 12 months from the date of Development Approval to start building work, and must be ‘substantially’ completed within 3 years. In some circumstances you can apply to extend the approval.

Any person who carries on the ‘business’ of performing work for others (i.e. contractors) must have a building work contractors license, appropriate to the work they are performing. Ask to see their license, or check with the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs.

There must be a signed contract for all domestic building work costing $12,000 or more, detailing: roles and responsibilities, method and timing of payments, completion dates, and the extent of damages that can be claimed. Standard contracts are available from the Master Builders Association and the Housing Industry Association

Licensed building work contractors must hold indemnity insurance for all domestic building work contracts costing $12,000 or more, which covers non-completion of the work and/or failure to rectify the faulty work if the contractor dies, disappears or is declared bankrupt.
Public Liability insurance should be considered, to cover you against injury to the general public on site, or third party property damage. Also ask to be covered for Worker-to-Worker injury, should one sub-contractor injure another sub-contractor on your site.

Before the Building Rules consent can be issued, the project owner is required to pay the Construction Industry Training Levy. The levy totals 0.25% of the value of the building work to be undertaken, and must be paid on all building work where the estimated value exceeds $15, 000.

Useful resources
Office of Consumer and Business Affairs
08 8204 9644, www.ocba.sa.gov.au
To check registration details online, select >Online Services >Licensing public register.

Workcover SA
13 18 55, www.workcover.com

SafeWork SA
1300 365 255. www.safework.sa.gov.au

Construction Industry Training Board
08 8373 4744, www.citb.org.au

Environment Protection Authority
08 8204 2000, www.epa.sa.gov.au

Home Owners Warranty Insurance
1300 600 601, www.hiainsurance.com.au

Housing Industry Association (HIA)
08 8346 5091, www.hia.com.au

Service SA
Government information & services.
13 23 24, www.service.sa.gov.au


Owner builder regulations - VIC

Building Factsheet
Owner builders Victoria

What is an owner builder?
Owner builders take on many of the responsibilities for managing and carrying out a domestic building project on their property and accept any associated financial risks.
Owner builders may:

  • undertake all or part of the building works themselves, except in areas that require licensed tradespeople or
  • contract out all or part of the work to appropriate registered or licensed tradespeople or
  • supervise or engage a supervisor to oversee the work.

Building or renovating a home as an owner builder can allow more control over the project and reduce the cost margins of employing a registered builder. However, your dream home can become a nightmare if you do not plan carefully. Research, administration,organisation and communication skills are just as important as building skills for the owner builder.

Building Factsheet

Owner builders must:

  • obtain relevant planning permits from their local council
  • be named as the owner builder on permits
  • engage a building surveyor to obtain building permits, including occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection on completion of work
  • obtain a certificate of consent from Building Practitioners Board before carrying out domestic building works over $12,000
  • be aware that they are only eligible for one owner-builder permit for one single dwelling and associated work on that property, once every three years
  • ensure that the workmeets relevant building regulations, standards and other laws
  • arrange for building inspections as required by law at particular stages of the building work
  • enter intomajor domestic building contract with builders engaged for works over $5,000
  • only use registered builders for work over $5,000
  • ensure any builder engaged for work over $12,000 has appropriate builders warranty insurance
  • always use licensed electricians and plumbers.

Insurance for owner builders
Owner builders are advised to take out builders contract insurance (formerly all risk), which covers fire, theft and public liability insurance.
Builders warranty insurance is also required if you sell the house within six years and six months of completion.