What is an owner-builder?

An owner-builder is defined as a person who constructs or renovates a domestic building on his or her own land, who is not in the business of building.

An owner-builder assumes the responsibilities, risks and liabilities of a builder. The level of those responsibilities, risks and liabilities depends on the extent of the building work undertaken by the owner. To be an owner-building you do not have to physically build your project, the amount of work you do yourself and the amount you contract out will affect your levels of responsibility.


As an owner-builder you would need to obtain building permits, supervise or undertake the building work, and ensure the work meets building regulations and standards.


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 $16,000 (including labour costs and materials) you will need to apply for a certificate of consent.


For building works valued over $16,000 an owner-builder must obtain a Certificate of Consent from the Building Commission Practitioners Board in order to obtain a building permit.


It is recommended that ALL owner-builders read and understand information on their legal obligations and responsibilities outlined in the Building Commissions Owner-builder Application Kit and Information Statement brochure. A link to this brochure is below.


What is a Certificate of Consent?

A Certificate of Consent is issued by the Practitioners Board of the Victorian Building Commission and is an individual's written approval to act as an owner-builder on their own land in the State of Victoria.


Requirements for selling your property

If you sell your owner-built home within six and a half years after the domestic building work has been completed (ie. 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.

If you sell your owner-built home on or after six years, but within six and a half years of completion of building work, you need only provide a defects report.