Many Victorians chose to carry out their own construction projects to save money and/or use their own skills. In doing so, they avoid the fees and insurances charged by professional builders which can be a significant cost and a great saving for the owner builder.
Owner-builders need to obtain building permits, supervise or undertake the building work, ensure the work meets building regulations and accept the same responsibilities, risks and liabilities as a professional builder.
In Victoria, an owner-builder can only build or renovate one house every three years, and must intend to live in the house once completed.
If you wish to be an owner-builder, and the value of the proposed building work is more than $12,000 (including labour costs and materials) you will need to apply for a certificate of consent.
The owner-builder and building practitioner, contractor or tradesperson must enter into a written contract for domestic building work costing more than $5,000.
The certificate of consent must be provided to your building surveyor in order to obtain a building permit.
As an owner-builder, you will be given the same level of protection afforded to other consumers under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995.
Selling an owner-built house
If you sell your owner-built home within six and a half years after the domestic building work has been completed (i.e. from the date of issue of your occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection), you must:
- Obtain a defects report by a prescribed practitioner regarding the domestic building work. The report must not be older than six months and a copy must also be provided to the homebuyer
- Obtain owner-builder domestic building insurance covering the domestic building work and provide the homebuyer with a certificate of the insurance. Please note that the insurance may only come into effect if you die, disappear or are insolvent.