Owner Builder

Anyone who carries out ‘builder work’ valued over $20,000 must be a registered builder or an approved owner-builder before applying to the local government for a building permit. However, there are a number of exemptions where registration is not required. Please refer to 'Do I need to be a registered builder?' publication from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

Owner-builder work consists of the following:

  • Class 1a (i) building – a single dwelling, being a detached house. This includes an extension to a house or a habitable dwelling on the same property but separate to the main house such as a granny flat;
  • Class 10 building – being a non-habitable building such as a private garage, carport, shed or the like; or
  • Small commercial building – being a one or two-storey building with a floor space of less than 500m2 that is not a detached house, Class 10 building or farm building

Under the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011, owner-builders are required to obtain approval from the Building Services Board, administered by the Building Commission, before obtaining a building permit to carry out owner builder work on their land. Applicants are required to provide evidence of their ownership of the land and demonstrate that they have sufficient knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of an owner-builder.

Please visit the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety – Building Commission website for more information on Becoming an Owner-Builder 

Home indemnity insurance for owner-builders

Owner-builders are responsible for the building work carried out for a minimum of six years. If the owner-builder sells the home within seven years from the date of a building permit being issued, they are required under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991 to have in place a policy of home indemnity insurance that covers subsequent owners if problems with the building develop and the owner-builder is unable or fails to rectify faulty or unsatisfactory workmanship due to disappearance, death or insolvency. 

The home indemnity insurance policy must cover the purchaser of the home and subsequent owners for the remainder of the seven year period.

All residential building work valued over $20,000 must be covered by home indemnity insurance, however home indemnity insurance is not required for 'associated work', such as building only a pergola, fence or swimming pool.

Home indemnity insurance can be obtained by contacting an approved insurance provider.

Approved owner builder home indemnity insurance providers:

Assetinsure Pty Ltd (via Australian Owner Builder Insurance Services Pty Ltd)
Phone: 1300 850 131

QBE Insurance (Australia) Pty Ltd
Phone: 133 723