Options for building or renovating | Queensland Building and Construction Commission

It’s a good idea to do some research before you decide. You may find that your original plans change as you discover some alternatives.

For example, if you want to build a house but there are budget constraints, is renovating your existing house an option?  Or maybe building a ready-made project home is the answer if you’re time-poor.

The section below may provide some guidance and help you decide.

Individually designed homes

This is where the plans are drawn for you by a building designer, architect or engineer.


  • Can make best use of aspect and shape of your land
  • Greater choice of fittings and inclusions
  • Greater satisfaction with individual design
  • May result in a more functional home



  • Can be expensive
  • More ‘hands on’ involvement and time required



Project or display homes

You choose a project home from a selection of standard plans, usually covering a wide range of prices, styles, sizes, specifications and standards of fittings and inclusions. You can build on an existing block of land, or buy a house and land package from a developer.


  • Plans are tried and proven
  • Possible cost savings
  • Display homes show quality and inclusions
  • You have a fair idea of what your home will look like when it is complete



  • May not match your needs or preferences
  • May not make the best use of aspect and shape of your land
  • Some fittings, inclusions and design features on display homes can cost more
  • House and land packages may only be available in new estates in outer suburbs



Renovations or additions

This may involve extending or restructuring your existing home.


  • A good option if you like your current location
  • Usually cheaper than buying or building a new home
  • You may not need to relocate while building
  • A well-planned renovation can match all requirements of a new house



  • May not match your exact requirements
  • You must work within constraints of existing building and land
  • Can be difficult to estimate costs



Kit/pre-fabricated homes

You can find information on kit homes at the Office of Fair Trading.

DIY – Owner builder

If you’re thinking of taking on a building project, you should consider a few things before you start. Although doing the job yourself can potentially save you money, do you have the skills and experience to do the work?

If not, you may need to consult or work with a builder to ensure that the work meets the current building standard, and any products are installed correctly. It’s also important to consider the costs in repairing the work if you make any mistakes.

You should also be aware of the types of building work you can’t do:

  • plumbing and drainage (excluding some unregulated plumbing work)
  • gasfitting
  • termite management – chemical
  • electrical work (contact the Electrical Safety Office for more information).

Additionally, if the market value of your project is over $11,000 (i.e. the reasonable cost of a licensed contractor to do the job), you’ll need an owner builder permit.

Other things to take into account if you choose to owner build include not having access to the Home Warranty insurance scheme.

Last reviewed: 3 Sep 2021 Last published: 3 Sep 2021
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