DIY and owner builders

There are many reasons why you might decide to renovate, rather than build a new home, and you may be tempted to do renovations yourself. You might also be considering becoming an owner builder and completely building your own home.

The value of building work should help you make an initial decision. For work that exceeds $3,300 the law states it must be carried out by a licensed contractor and for work of $11,000 or more, you must hold an owner builder permit.

If you are weighing up the pros and cons of do-it-yourself (DIY) renovations and owner builder work, compared to hiring an expert, there are a few things to consider before you start.

Owner builders

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (QBCC Act) states that if you wish to perform or coordinate any domestic building work on your property, for a single project of a value of $11,000 or more, you must hold an owner builder permit. An owner builder permit is only issued by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) (formerly the Building Services Authority) and must be completed by an applicant named on the title of the home.

The owner builder status will remain on the title of your home for six years. You should also be aware there is no QBCC insurance on owner builder work. As an owner builder you are fully responsible for the work that is done and you must be aware of all the legal requirements, including ensuring the work complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

All building and renovation work must have building approval and you are responsible for gaining this approval from your local council or a private certifier. A certifier is prevented from giving an approval until after receipt of the owner builder permit.

DIY renovations

For DIY renovation work, you must also understand all requirements surrounding the required approvals, inspections and general building requirements.

Bracing, joists, bearers, correct fixings, balustrade heights, minimum post sizes, proper termite protection and timber durability are all issues covered by the BCA and will be assessed in the approval process of your new renovation.

A lot of the time, renovations aren’t as simple as they seem and ensuring building requirements are met requires knowledge only a building or trade contractor will have.

Getting the job done properly first time around by a licensed builder or trade contractor can save you time and money in the long run.