What you need to be an Owner Builder!

An owner-builder is someone who can do ‘owner-builder work’ under a permit issued by NSW Fair Trading.

What is owner-builder work?

Owner-builder work is any work, including supervision and coordination of the construction,alterations, repairs or additions to a property:

  • where the reasonable market cost (including labour and materials) exceeds $10,000, and
  • which relates to a single dwelling-house, dual occupancy* or a secondary dwelling that:
    1. requires development consent under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, or
    2. is a complying development within the meaning of that Act.

Should I do owner-builder work?

An owner-builder permit is for people who have the skill or capacity to build their own house or supervise construction work. While an owner-builder permit is not a builder’s licence, as an owner-builder, you are responsible for the building work as a fully licensed builder would be.

What are my responsibilities?

As an owner-builder, you are responsible for:

  • overseeing and supervising all tradespeople
  • ordering materials and managing 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 the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to provide a safe work environment that complies with SafeWork NSW requirements. Significant penalties may apply if you don’t meet this obligation. Our dealing with hazardous materials page has more information on some possible risks, such as asbestos and lead
  • ensuring any contractor engaged is appropriately licensed and insured to do the work contracted for
  • warranting that the materials and work will be fit for the purpose and result in a dwelling that can be occupied.

Do I need an owner-builder permit?

An owner-builder permit is not needed when:

  • the market value (labour and material) of the residential building work is less than $10,000
  • the work does not require development consent.

To be eligible for an owner-builder permit, the development approval must be in respect of a single dwelling-house or a secondary dwelling. In special circumstances dual occupancies may be approved.

An owner-builder permit cannot be issued for:

  • renovations to an existing apartment/unit/flat/townhouse within a strata complex
  • property not for residential purposes.

How do I get an owner-builder permit?

To get an owner-builder permit, you must lodge an owner-builder permit application either:

When lodging your application form you must also attach copies of the following documents, together with proof of identity requirements and the owner-builder permit application fee:

  • evidence of ownership or a registered lease with Land and Property Information
  • development consent (development application (DA) approval or complying development certificate (CDC) approval) from a certifying authority (council or private certifier) for the subject building site
  • a current general construction induction training card (within the meaning of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011), also referred to as Safework Whitecard or a Safework Statement of Training
  • if the work is over $20,000 in value, evidence that you have met the owner-builder education requirement
  • all other owners of the land for which an owner-builder permit may apply must also be listed – these other owners will not be able to apply for another owner-builder permit relating to different land for 5 years.

For the current general construction induction training card (Item 3 above), Fair Trading will also accept a Safework Statement of Training, issued within the 60 days prior. This acknowledges that it may take up to 60 days to issue the general construction induction cards once you have completed the relevant training.

Fair Trading will also accept, in certain circumstances, interstate general construction induction training cards or cards issued in NSW under previous arrangements that are recognised under Work Health and Safety laws.

Go to the owner-builder approved education requirement page or the owner-builder equivalent accreditation page for more information.

What are my limitations under the permit?

An owner-builder permit is not a building licence. It does not allow you to do:

  • work other than the project covered by the development application or complying development certificate
  • specialist work such as electrical, plumbing, gasfitting, airconditioning and refrigeration work (unless you hold a licence for such work).

Only one owner-builder permit can be issued within any five-year period, unless the application and any earlier permit relate to the same land, or special circumstances exist.

If you have any more questions give us a call at Gosford frame and Truss on