The Owner Builder Journey

What is an Owner Builder?

An owner builder is someone who takes responsibility for domestic building work carried out on their land and is legally responsible for the project from start to finish.

They are not permitted to do building work for others – that would require a builder’s license.

People who become owner builders usually do so to oversee the building of their own home, or an extension of it. It is also a great way to save money along the way.

Requirements and Obligations

Owner Builder Eligibility:

  • You’re the owner of the land (or the director of a company or beneficiary of a trust that owns the land)
  • Your building work is in relation to, or ancillary to, a single domestic dwelling
  • You reside – or intend to reside – in the dwelling
  • You are not in the ‘business of building’
  • You have successfully completed the owner-builder eLearning assessment, and undertaken construction induction training for the project (if required)
  • You have not previously entered into a contract to sell an owner-built home without obtaining the required insurance
  • You have not been issued with a building permit as an owner-builder in the previous five years for a different property (However, you may request an exemption if there are special circumstances relating to this requirement, such as economic hardship that might result if the application were refused.)

Certificate of Consent

A certificate of consent required for works where the value is over $16,000 can be applied for through the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). Such certificates are valid for 12 months from the date of issue or until the building permit lapses (if a building permit is required).

The VBA must be satisfied that the person applying has the requisite knowledge to undertake the work and responsibility involved. They do this by requiring applicants to sit an online eLearning assessment. All questions must be answered accurately with a score of 100% being required. The VBA also follows this up with a phone call to confirm knowledge.

More information about being an owner builder and attaining the necessary certificate of consent can be found here.

How TIV Can Help

You may be undertaking an owner builder role to save money or to try and make the process easier. But the truth is, depending on the scale of your project, it can be a huge undertaking. It comes with a lot of responsibility and obligations. You need to ensure the work meets building standards, that your worksite is safe and so forth.

Even the start of the process can seem overwhelming, so the Trade Institute of Victoria (TIV) is here to help.

NEW Owner Builder Course

The course will run on a Saturday from 9am to 3pm. The cost is normally $4,000 per applicant but starting from the 6th August 2022, there will be a special running and the cost will be $1,500. So, if this is something you’ve been considering and would like help, now’s the perfect opportunity.

TIV will assist you to

  • Complete the eLearning assessment on the VBA website
  • Complete the consent certificate application form online
  • Sign “statutory declaration” forms as required
  • Visit our Simulated Building Site, 8 am to 1 pm on a Saturday (provide you with NCCV & BCA resources)
  • We will print and scan documents (as required) on the day for you
  • Provide details of Draftspersons and Engineers to help applicant along with their designs (if required)
  • Access to a 20-minute Zoom Session with you for further follow (client instigates)

Having our trainers helping you through each step will take away the stress and ensure you’re doing everything correctly so you can start your project legally and as soon as possible.

All you need to bring with you on the day is:

  • A laptop
  • Your drivers license
  • Council rates
  • Copy of land title documents (less than 7 days old and can be downloaded on the day of the course)
  • Induction Card (White Card) if you already have one

TIV also encourages you to bring your partner along to the course at no extra charge. We understand that the owner builder journey is usually a partnership so we want to be inclusive and lessen the stress for everyone involved.

If you’re interested in becoming an owner builder and would like our help, please get in touch for more information about our course.


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