Here’s what you need to know to become an owner-builder

Here’s what you need to know to become an owner-builder
Being an owner-builder for a building project on your property or land is a rewarding and exciting process.

If TV renovation programs have taught us one thing, it’s that doing your own construction within the confines of your property is an option available to you. 

In fact, being an owner-builder is a great way to save time and money and have total control over important elements of a build like design and the construction schedule. 

If you do engage a registered builder to erect your shed, they will most likely complete the entire job including concreting, plumbing and electricity which limits your ability to find cheaper options. 

That’s why our sheds are sold for the owner builder which can reduce project costs by between 30% - 50% as you’ll be able to source your own subcontractors. 

Shed Bonanza is not a registered builder and when purchasing a shed project estimated at $16,000 or more you will be required to apply for a building permit and obtain an Owner builder’s certificate from the Victorian Building Authority (VBA).

Here’s what you need to know to become an owner-builder: 

What is an owner-builder? 

According to the VBA, an owner-builder is someone who takes on the responsibility of domestic building works on their property or land. 

Some of these responsibilities include:

  1. obtaining building permits and paying the building permit levy

  2. supervising or undertaking the building work

  3. ensuring the work meets building regulations and standards

  4. notifying the VBA if the estimated cost of works has increased at the end of the project

Completing smaller jobs like fixing shelving to walls is not considered an owner-builder situation and can often be carried out without applying for permits or consents. 

Do you need a White Card? 

If you do plan to conduct building works on your property or land, you may need to apply for a White Card. 

A White Card is a mandatory requirement for construction workers in Australia and shows evidence that you have completed a General Construction Induction course (or White Card course). A White Card applies to owner builders if the construction of a shed or carport is considered a construction site. 

Professional builders, labourers, tradespeople, surveyors, site managers and others all require a White Card. You and your team are no different. Without a White Card, you’re simply not allowed on a construction site. 

White Card courses can be completed at WorkSafe registered training organisations and are recognised in many Australian states. 

Should you become an owner-builder? 

If you’re not sure whether you should become an owner-builder, talk to authoritative bodies like the VBA and building surveyors, or contact Shed Bonanza. 

Over the last 40 years, we’ve sold  ten thousand sheds to owner builders and the feedback we receive from our customers is that erecting their own shed or carport is a much more rewarding and cost-effective experience. 

If you do become an owner-builder, you will need to comply with Victorian Building Regulation guidelines and: 

  • apply for the required planning permits from your local council 

  • be named as the owner builder on permits

  • engage a building surveyor to obtain building permits, including an occupancy permit or certificate of a final inspection on completion of work

  • Ensure that the work meets building regulations, standards and other laws

  • arrange for building inspections as required by law at particular stages of the building work

*Note: some works like electrical and plumbing must be carried out by qualified and licensed tradespeople. Owner builders must comply with these stipulations. 

Shed Bonanza is fully supportive of property owners who want to become owner builders and will help you through the process. 

If you’re thinking of becoming an owner-builder, this step-by-step checklist will detail everything you need to complete and will ensure you’re ready to go.