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Know the role: 3 considerations for becoming an owner builder

  • Written by NewsServices.com


Becoming an owner builder is an exciting challenge for any property owner. You take on the legal compliance and responsibilities that come with being a registered building practitioner, meaning you must be aware of the obligations attributed to you.

Owners corporation lawyers in Melbourne can help clear up any confusion surrounding the role, but here are three fundamental considerations for becoming an owner builder.

  1. Know the role

When becoming an owner builder, the most important thing to know is that you are buying, owning or co-owning the land with the intention to live on the property. This means that you are building a new home on the property with the goal of living there yourself (and not building it for investment purposes!).

Given that it’s for yourself, you will play a more central role in the construction, maintenance and repairs that take place as well as any alterations or renovations taking place in the future.

  1. Subcontracting to other builders

Owner builders don’t have to carry out all the construction themselves. Most people aren’t construction all-rounders, and probably don’t possess the skills to finish the job from start to completion. Therefore, owner builders can enlist the services of a building practitioner to build some of the property (for which they will be responsible for in the terms of the contract).

Whenever the works surpass $5,000 you need to ensure that the contractor is a Registered Building Practitioner and can provide you with a domestic building contract. Written contracts are vital so that the owner builder and subcontractor are aware of the works being conducted and that the risk of dispute is minimised.

When the work surpasses $16,000 the Registered Building Practitioner must also take out domestic building insurance, and it is important to note that an unregistered building practitioner cannot take out domestic building insurance and neither can you in these circumstances. You also need to find the details of your building practitioner so that you can easily search them on the Victorian Building Authority website.

Owner builders are still liable for their legal responsibilities under the Building Regulations, so ensure you are fully aware of these responsibilities and can oversee the construction of the brand new property!

  1. Building permit & building surveying

You cannot commence construction without a building permit and this should involve enlisting the services of a qualified building surveyor.

Surveyors can help define the proper description of your works and the costs associated with it when applying for your construction Certificate of Consent. The Certificate of Consent doesn’t mean that you will receive a building permit, but the surveyor will evaluate whether the construction complies with the Building Act and Building Regulations requirements.

You may choose to enlist a building surveyor by nominating an agent or engaging with one. You can also enlist the services of a building surveyor from your council. You can only enlist the services of one building surveyor for your project, with a private surveyor taking over from the municipal surveyor once the permit has been issued. You can then commence works once the building permit has been successfully issued.

Contact an owners corporation lawyer to learn more

Naturally, there is a lot more to becoming an owner builder - these are just three fundamentals of getting started on your new building project! An owners corporation lawyer can provide you with detailed information and clear up any confusion surrounding the role including the responsibilities of becoming an owner builder.

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