Owner building

About owner building

If you’re thinking about doing some building work on your own property and you want to do it yourself, you may need an owner builder permit. 

We issue a permit for work over $11,000, which allows you to personally perform the building work and take on the role of head contractor on a building project. You’ll be responsible for engaging and co-ordinating your contractors, as well as the scheduling of work.

Please note - you can't personally carry out work where you need an occupational licence, or for fire protection work over $1,100. 

Work you can do as an owner builder

  • build a new home
  • renovate, alter or extend an existing home
  • build a garage, carport or residential shed
  • build a swimming pool for residential use
  • build a pergola or entertainment area for residential use.

Work you can’t do as an owner builder

  • occupational work such as plumbing, draining, gasfitting or pest control unless you have an occupational licence
  • fire protection work in excess of $1,100 (unless you have the appropriate licence)
  • build commercial or industrial buildings (e.g. shops, industrial sheds, farm buildings)
  • build or renovate multiple dwellings (e.g. duplexes, boarding houses, block of units).

Note: There are special provisions for farm buildings. If the value is no more than $27,500, an owner can personally do that work.

What are the disadvantages?

There are restrictions on the number of projects you can do as an owner builder. We can only issue one permit to you every six years.

In addition, some of the services that are naturally available to homeowners who engage a licensed builder are not accessible to owner builders. This includes the use of our dispute resolution services if there is a problem, and access to the Home Warranty insurance scheme.

We’re unable to help you resolve disputes

If there are contractual issues or problems with the work, you can’t access our early dispute resolution system, nor can we provide assistance to help with rectification of defective work.

No access to Home Warranty insurance

The Home Warranty insurance, which protects owners against incomplete or defective work, is not available to owner builders.

Even if the contractor paid an insurance premium to us in error, the work is still uninsurable.

QBCC licensees working on their own properties without an owner builder permit still pay QLeave levy

If you are a QBCC licensee and you choose to not apply for an owner builder permit, QLeave will expect you to pay a levy of 0.475% of the total cost of your works.

QLeave's legislation, taken from the Building and Construction Industry (Portable Long Service Leave) Act 1991 Part 8 Section 71(1) states:

"A person carrying out work under an owner-builder permit is exempt from payment of levy on all work carried out under the permit".

They can only grant you an exemption from the levy if you present them with your owner builder permit. Depending on the value of the work you intend to do, it may work out cheaper for you to apply for an owner builder.

If you are a current QBCC licensee, you will be eligible for an exemption from completing the owner builder course.