How to become an Owner Builder - Owner Builder Club
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How to become an Owner Builder

Please note, requirements to become an Owner Builder (we shorten to OB) differ by state. You need to get your head around state and local council requirements as recommended under our Pre-Plan section. Let's go…

Step 1 – Do your research

The Owner Builder Club is big on knowledge being power. Some state governments provide brilliant information for OBs – check the ‘Relevant Links' below for more information. Also think (or dream) about what your new home looks like. Think Pinterest, vision boards, cut out pictures, visit new homes/display homes, do a rough plan/layout and talk to people in the know. All of this will help with the next step.

Step 2 – Engage a draftsperson/architect

There are a few reasons that support engaging a draftsperson or architect:

  1. It may help you decide whether or not to become an OB.
  2. Will help bring your vision to life.
  3. To obtain final plans/structural drawings required for development applications/approvals (the plans kick start the process including budgeting).
  4. Depending on your budget, help you with permits/approvals.

Step 3 – Engage a Building Surveyor

A good Building Surveyor is worth their weight in gold, they're a vital part of the building process. A Building Surveyor knows the ins and outs of rules, regulations and legislations when it comes to building. Phew, we love that! Take your plans to a Building Surveyor and inform them of your intention to undertake the project as an OB. Depending on the state you're building in, here are some things you're likely to require from a Building Surveyor:

  1. Submit application for an OB Permit through a Building Surveyor.
  2. Have the surveyor issue a Certificate of Likely Compliance (after you get your OB Permit).
  3. Issue a Start Work Certificate.
  4. Help understand cost of build (or you may need an Estimator).
  5. To partner with you through the entire build.

Step 4 – Do a Budget

This is not really a step to get your permit however we think it's an important part of the initial process which is why we've included it here. The reality is, you need to know what you can afford. To help you, The Owner Builder Club has put together a detailed Budget Planner (and it's FREE). This is a brilliant resource especially if you're getting finance (the bank will love it).

Get Your FREE Budget Planner here

Step 5 – Do an OB Course (and get a White Card)

This is another requirement to becoming an Owner Builder however it does differ by state. You also need to get a White Card by doing a Construction Induction course  in order to get a permit. Although The Owner Builder Club does not currently endorse course providers, we have reviewed all the course providers out there and selected a few for your convenience. Hover over Courses on the menu bar and simply select the state you're building in for course information.

Step 6 – Get your Owner Builder Permit

You're getting there! Again, this process differs by state however generally speaking you need to – complete a permit application with required proofs (outlined on form); pay a fee; and wait for approval (again differs by state but can take up to 4 weeks). This permit application is done via the relevant state government department. Once the permit is approved, you will be issued with your Owner Builder permit number (a must celebrate moment). You're now ready for the next step.

Step 7 – Get a building permit from local council

Again, check the specific requirements with your local council because they will differ. What you need at this stage (and it may vary) is – final plans; OB Permit; Certificate of Compliance.

Step 8 – Final checks by Building Surveyor

Your Building Surveyor may have done a great job earlier on explaining the process however now is the time to see what else is required (state based requirements) before you commence the build. For example, a ‘Start Work Notification' and any other permits e.g. plumbing permit. That's it! Don't be daunted by the process, the more informed you are, the better you're experience will be.

Relevant links:

State Government links – Where to Get Information. Understand the Design Process – The Design Process Understand the Build Process – The Building Process Need Finance – Owner Builder Finance. Wise words from an Architect – click here.