Get an owner builder certificate
This page is for people who are not in the business of building and want to build or extend a home on their land.
An owner builder certificate is not a building permit.
You can only hold one owner builder certificate at a time.
Owner builder certificates are issued for one block of land and last three years.
They can be renewed for another three years.
You must wait six years from the issue of an owner builder certificate before applying to be the owner builder for another property.
Building work permitted
You must have an owner builder certificate for work over the value of $12,000, on all the following types of buildings:
- a single dwelling or detached house - a class 1a building
- a garage, carport, or shed - a class 10 building - attached to and built at the same time as a single dwelling attached house
- a retaining wall that is unattached to but supports a class 1a or class 2 building
- extensions to any of the above where you are increasing the floor space.
The construction, extension or renovation of duplexes, townhouses, flats or units can't be done by an owner builder.
Owner builders have all of the following legal responsibilities:
- occupational health and safety of workers
- compliance with building control certification requirements such as arranging permits and inspections
- direct and assess workmanship of others
- site protection
- insurance and registrations for tradesmen
- rectifying defective work for up to six years if you sell the property.
Engaging a project manager does not remove any of your legal obligations as an owner builder.
Who can apply
Only individual property owners can apply to be an owner builder.
All individuals named on a property title must be included on the certificate.
An owner builder can't be a company or trust.
If you are registered as a building contractor residential, you do not need to also be registered as an owner builder.
Before you apply
Caution about registering at the recommendation of a builder
It may be cheaper to register yourself instead of contracting work out, but you will also take on the full responsibilities of a builder.
As an owner builder you have no protection against defective work. You can only take subcontractors to court.
A builder who recommends that you become an owner builder while they supervise and organise tradespeople, or act as the project manager, may be avoiding legal responsibilities or be unregistered.
How to apply
Last updated: 31 March 2016