An owner-builder is an individual who does owner-builder work and holds a permit for that work under the authority of a permit issued by NSW Fair Trading.
What is owner–builder work?
Owner-builder work is any work (including supervision and co-ordination) involved in the construction of, or alterations, repairs or additions to, a dwelling (which includes a house, garage, shed and certain other structures and improvements):
• where the reasonable market cost (including labour and materials) exceeds $5,000, and
• which relates to a single dwelling or dual occupancy:
• that requires development consent under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, or
• that is a complying development within the meaning of that Act.
What are my responsibilities as an owner–builder?
As an owner-builder, you are responsible for:
• overseeing and supervising all tradespeople
• ordering of materials and management of the building site
• obtaining all necessary council and authority approvals
• ensuring that the financial, taxation and insurance requirements of the building work are met and fully comply with all laws
• being aware of your obligations under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 and Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 and providing a safe work environment that complies with WorkCover requirements
• ensuring any contractor engaged is appropriately licensed and insured to do the work contracted for
• warranting that the work and materials will be fit for the purpose and that the work results in a dwelling fit for occupation.
Do your sums before you start and ask yourself if any saving you will make is worth the time and responsibility it will take. As an owner-builder you are guaranteeing the work you undertake.
How do I get an owner–builder permit?
To get an owner-builder permit, you must lodge a completed owner-builder permit application at a Fair Trading Centre and show that:
• you are over 18 years old
• you own the land or have a prescribed interest in the land (certificate of title or rate notice)
• you live or intend to live in the completed home or one dwelling of the dual occupancy as your principal residence.
You must also provide:
• a description and address of the proposed work with a copy of the plans and council development application number or complying development certificate number
• the owner-builder permit application fee
• where the value of the proposed work is over $12,000, evidence that you have either completed the approved owner-builder course, or can satisfy the approved equivalent qualifications.
The following publications provide more information and they are also available as pages on the Fair Trading web site:
• Owner builder approved education course
• Owner builders approved equivalent qualifications
There are no exemptions from the need to complete the approved course unless you hold an approved equivalent qualification.
Home warranty insurance
Each licensed contractor (builder, tradesperson or project manager) who contracts directly with an owner-builder to undertake residential building work must provide home warranty insurance from one of the approved insurance providers when the total contract sum exceeds $12,000 (including material supplied by the contractor). The certificate of insurance should be provided to the owner-builder before taking any money on the contract and before starting any work.