Am I eligible for an owner-builder permit?

There are a bunch of criteria that must be met before a person can obtain an owner-builder permit.

Under the Home Building Act 1989, a person can get an owner-builder permit if:

  1. the cost of the proposed work (that is, the cost of labour and materials) is greater than $10,000;
  2. the work relates to:
    • a single dwelling (like a typical house);
    • a secondary dwelling (like a granny flat); or
    • in special circumstances, dual occupancy developments (that is, two houses on one block of land, which might be attached, or might be free-standing); and
  3. the work in point 2 above requires a development consent (issued by a local council), or a complying development certificate (issued by a private certifier or a local council).

There is also other criteria which must be met before a person can obtain an owner-builder permit.

A person must:

  • be of or above 18 years old;
  • own the land (it’s ok to own the land with other people – but see the important note¬†below);
  • occupy the residence (or one of the residences) after the work is complete;
  • hold a current general construction induction training card (commonly known as a White Card); and
  • if the work cost more than $20,000, you must to satisfy an education requirement by:
    • completing a training course (find out more about that here); or
    • providing evidence that you have a suitable accreditation (for example, evidence that you are a building certifier).

Important note: An application for an owner-builder permit will generally be refused if a person owned other land and an owner-builder permit was issued for that other land within 5 years from the most current application. This could be an issue if land is owned by multiple people Рif one person applies for an owner-builder permit, everyone else is prevented from applying for an owner-builder permit for 5 years. This rule may be wavered in special circumstances, like if there are genuinely unforeseen events or occurrences which support a new owner-builder licence being issued.

When is an owner-builder permit not required?

An owner-builder permit is not required when:

  • cost of the proposed residential building work (that is, the cost of labour and materials) is greater than $10,000; and
  • the work does not require development consent.

To find out more about how to apply for an owner-builder permit, visit the Department of Fair Trading website here.

Posted by

Alyce is a civil engineer and a practicing lawyer, who has a desire to share her insights on the legal and practical realities of the development industry.

4 thoughts on “Am I eligible for an owner-builder permit?

    1. Thanks for your question James. I suggest that you contact the Department of Fair Trading to discuss your specific circumstances. Their number is 13 32 20.

    2. I have never held an owner builder permit, previously. But my application was declined as the property was being build by a project home company that had their licences suspended, and we terminated our contract halfway through the build cause of that bases. Now i want to continue the build myself but has by permit rejected by Service NSW and now i am currently appealing the decision with fair trading.

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