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

Okay, so what we talk about here is the actual process to get your Owner Builder Permit and Building Permit (the permits are different).

At this point in the process, you'll know the state based requirements (for the state you're building in) and importantly, if you can afford to build as an Owner Builder.

So now is the time to start engaging the services of professionals.

Step 1 – Engage a Draftsperson/Designer or Architect

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

  1. It may help with your final decision to become an OB.
  2. Will 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. Help you with permits/approvals.

Step 2 – Lodge the Development Application (DA) with local Council

If the services of your Draftsperson/Designer or Architect don't extend to submitting your plans for approval, then you'll need to do it yourself.

Contact your local council and ensure you are crystal clear as to the requirements prior to submitting the DA. For example, they may require that some steps below are completed prior to submitting.

Step 3 – Engage a Building Surveyor/Certifier

A good Building Surveyor/Certifier 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.

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 get help with from a Building Surveyor:

  1. Help with the application to get a ‘Building' Permit.
  2. Issue a Certificate of Likely Compliance (after you get your Building Permit).
  3. Issue a Start Work Certificate.
  4. To partner with you through the entire build.

Step 4 – Do an OB Course (and get a White Card)

The need to complete an Owner Builder course is something else that differs from state to state. It's mandatory in some states and not others.

Then there's the White Card (also known as Construction Induction training). Again, how you do the training differs state by state (online or in a classroom).

In some states, you need to do both an Owner Builder course and have a White Card in order to get your ‘owner builder' permit.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, the person who does the course MUST be listed on the property title.

The good news?

The Owner Builder Club has done the work for you and evaluated 12 owner builder course providers. We're now proud partners with Absolute Education.

Click here to find out more.

Step 5 – Get your Owner Builder Permit

Again, this process differs by state however generally speaking you need to – have completed the course; 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 6 – Get the required Building Permit from your local council

Again, you'll need to check the specific requirements with your local council.

Step 7 – 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.

So that's it!

Don't be daunted by the process. The more informed and educated you are, the better your experience will be.

Some super relevant links:

  • To access a comprehensive Pre-planning Checklist – click here
  • To access the Build Sequence by stage – click here
  • State Government links – click here


Click ‘Find Out More' below and discover our Courses designed to help Owner Builders simplify the process.