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Owner-builders

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Owner-builders manage most of the work of a building project themselves.

In Victoria an owner-builder can only build or renovate one house every five years and must intend to live in the completed house.

Before you apply for a building permit to carry out domestic building works that are valued at more than $16,000, you need to obtain a Certificate of Consent from the Victorian Building Authority.

To obtain a Certificate of Consent owner-builders must declare they:

  • Are building or renovating only one dwelling
  • Have not had a permit to undertake work as an owner-builder within the past five years
  • Understand the obligations and responsibilities associated with undertaking domestic building work as an owner-builder

Owner-builder responsibilities

As an owner-builder you must understand and manage the technical aspects of building, as well as the administrative, legal, occupational health and safety and taxation requirements associated with building construction.

 You are required to:

  • Ensure construction is done according to your plans and documentation
  • Manage any amendments to your building permit
  • Notify your building surveyor at the completion of each stage that requires inspection
  • Understand requirements for the registration of providers or trades and services

Organising surveyor inspections

The Building Regulations define the stages of a building project. At each of these stages the person in charge of the work must notify the building surveyor who issued the building permit to arrange an inspection. The stages are listed on the building permit.

Ensuring that work follows project documentation

The owner-builder must also ensure that construction follows the approved plans and documents. Any variations to the approved documents must be authorised by the building surveyor under the building permit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that amended plans or details are supplied and proposed variations are approved before these works begin.

Working with contractors and sub-contractors

Each building trade contractor (tradesman) an owner-builder employs to carry out work on their project is for legal purposes a ''contractor'' as opposed to a sub-contractor.

When a contractor does building work worth more than $5000, including labour and materials, that person must be registered with the Building Practitioners Board and provide building defects insurance appropriate to their work.

If an owner-builder engages someone to supervise building work on their behalf – e.g. a carpenter arranging and/or coordinating the work of another trade - that person is treated by the Building Act 1993 as a manager/supervisor and must be registered with the Victorian Building Authority.

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For more information about building services please contact us on 03 5434 6347


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