Owner-Builder New Rules

Owner-Builder New Rules

From 1st September 2016 significant changes to owner builder requirements when domestic building work is carried out on your own land. The new owner builder rules for when project values exceed $16,000 have been tightened. In fact there is no change to concept that as an owner builder you must adhere to the same rules, regulations as an employed contractor more so government is now trying to pick up “their lack of enforcement and effort” by this new process to apply for VBA consent.

This change will do nothing for those who elect to build illegally, largely due to the enormous red tape and complexity, engineered by our loving bureaucrat’s and politicians. This area remains largely untouched including ensuring complexity remains.

So what does new rules mean:

The VBA web site advises “

An owner-builder it is your responsibility for obtaining building permits, supervising or undertaking the building work, and ensuring the work meets building regulations and standards. That includes any major repairs needed from a Residential Foundation Repair Services company.

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

Some of the obligations of an owner-builder last for six and a half years after completion of the building work.

In some instances, an owner-builder’s property may become a workplace for the purposes of Occupational Health and Safety legislation and then certain obligations will apply.

If the value of the domestic building work to be undertaken is more than $16,000 you must have a certificate of consent from the VBA to be an owner-builder”

So whilst above unclear in regards the some instances, owner builders will find it frustrating to get a straight answer from VBA , council’s and anyone else, clearly the above place responsibility on the owner builder to ensure work undertaken is considered prior to proceeding.

“As Owner-builders you have a number of important duties and responsibilities.”

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Obtaining and complying with a building permit;
  • Arranging for the certification of completed work and ensuring that the work is compliant with Australian standards;
  • Ensuring site and worker safety;
  • Rectifying any defective building work;
  • Ensuring appropriate insurance policies are in place
  • you must complete an eLearning assessment before you can submit your application for a certificate of consent to become an owner-builder.
  • Attach evidence of the White Card issued by WorkSafe Victoria if required.
  • Application fee currently is $96.18.

So if electing not to employ a registered builder for projects above $16,000 then the above apply.

For projects below $16,000 some of the above not required such as obtaining VBA consent however, in principal, all other requirements remain in place.

When considering undertaking a building project consider following:-

  • Obtain professional advice from council, building surveyor or registered practitioner with knowledge of the project your undertaking.
  • Ensure you obtain a building permit.
  • Ensure you begin your planning well before your required completion date. This includes undertaking plans and permit applications well before your need to complete project.
  • Ensure you obtain a white card, as any problems on site remain your responsibility to prepare for including insurance and processes such as safety considerations.

White Card – there seems to be different views of what to do Worksafe advise (link) and other’s including whitecardonline advise (link) another view. Certainly industry associations including Master Builders and HIA have solutions for courses. Certainly the rogu trainers have even more ways. Its difficult to confirm the best process here but suggest get VBA to confirm their requirements clearly in writing.

At The Project Centre we can assist with your plan and permit needs and reviewing likely timeframes for getting your permits and consents prepared by. For details on owner-builder requirements the VBA is the department to confirm their actual requirements.This link to VBA web site will provide great information concerning this subject.