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Advice for owner builders

An owner-builder is a person who carries out domestic building work on his or her own land, and who is not in the business of building.

Things to think about before becoming an owner-builder

  • In Victoria, an owner-builder can only build or renovate 1 property every 5 years and must intend to live in the property once completed
  • If the value of the proposed domestic build work is more than $16,000 (including labour costs and materials), you must apply for a certificate of consent from the Victorian Building Authority to become an owner-builder
  • If you sell your home after carrying out building works valued at more than $16,000 you continue to be liable for any defective works for 6 1/2 years from the completion of the work
  • You must purchase domestic building insurance before entering into a contract to sell your property. This insurance covers future owners for defective works if you die, disappear or become insolvent
  • You must obtain a building permit before you commence building works and be named as the owner-builder on that permit
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that the work meets building regulations, standards, approved building permit documentation and our Building Site Code of Practice
  • You must arrange for building inspections as required by your building permit at particular stages of the building work
  • You must obtain an occupancy permit, or certificate of final inspection from the relevant building surveyor once work is completed.

Selling an owner-built house

An owner-builder must be covered by insurance when entering into a contract to sell a house that they constructed.

If an owner-builder sells their building within 6.5 years of construction, they must also provide a report on the building from a registered building practitioner and provide the required insurance cover.

Find out more about the required insurance for owner-builders when selling a building.