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Home Renovations

Owner builder vs using a professional builder

Deciding to build a new home or embarking on a significant home renovation is an exciting time but one which accompanies a lot of decision making. For some, one of the first decisions they encounter is whether to take the steps to become an owner builder or to enlist the services of a professional builder

Maybe you’re a dab hand with the tools or you’re keen to keep building costs down as much as possible by doing some of the work and project management yourself. Whatever the reason, it’s important to consider all aspects of this option to ensure you are well prepared and have a realistic idea of what becoming an owner builder involves.

Owner builder requirements

Owner builders don’t necessarily do all the work themselves but they are responsible for overseeing and managing the complete building or renovation project on their land. 

Owner builders are required to:

  • Cover all insurances
  • Ensure all work is compliant with the relevant codes
  • Comply with all building inspection requirements
  • Comply with relevant technical building codes
  • Ensure all tradespeople and sub-contractors are licensed and insured
  • Ensure work is being carried out to the required standard
  • Gain an Owner builder permit which usually requires carrying out an approved course
  • Provide the project management/supervision skills and the time to commit to the organisation of a big project. Building a home or supervising an extensive renovation project can be very time consuming
  • Take responsibility for the safety and security of the building site
  • Have a good understanding of the building industry
  • Be responsible for the building permits, town planning permits, build over permits, and council approvals
  • Rectify any work which does not meet inspection standards or is defective
  • Ensure site and worker OHS requirements and safe work practices are met
Building Site

Other points to consider include:

Owner builders are not only responsible for the building while the project is being carried out but also for up to 6 ½ years after project completion.

Some banks are hesitant to lend to owner builders, especially those with little to no experience. This could be a very important factor when considering your finance options.* 

As an owner builder you’re limited to one project every 6 years.

Home builders can’t access Home Warranty insurance cover. Home Warranty insurance provides protection for the homeowner in the event a contractor fails to complete work, the work is defective and they don’t fix it, or the building suffers from subsidence.

What work can you do as an owner builder in Queensland?

As a holder of an Owner Builder Permit in Queensland you can carry out projects such as:

  • Build a new house
  • 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
Looking for expert help? Contact our experienced Gold Coast Builders today

What you can’t do as an owner builder in QLD

Unless you hold the relevant licence in addition to an Owner Builder Permit in Queensland you are not permitted to do:

  • Plumbing, draining gasfitting or pest control work
  • Fire protection work in excess of $1,100 work
  • Mechanical services
  • Building of commercial or industrial buildings
  • Building or renovating multiple dwellings - e.g townhouses, duplexes, apartment blocks
Completed Building Project

Advantages of using a professional builder

Using a professional builder might cost a bit more but there are so many benefits which provide extra value.

  • A professional builder is covered by all the necessary insurances including public liability and professional indemnity which means you have a safeguard against anything going wrong during or after the building process
  • Using a builder allows you to access Home Warranty Insurance cover which offers added protection
  • Most builders will have years of experience with the relevant local, state, and Australian building codes, standards and regulations. They’ll know what needs to be done when to ensure your project adheres to all requirements
  • Your builder will ensure all permits are completed and all approvals met
  • The builder will ensure the coordination of all trades is streamlined to keep to project timelines
  • Often builders will have an established team of trusted trade professionals who they know offer great attention to detail and quality workmanship ensuring fewer issues and a high standard at the completion of the project

If you’re planning a building project on the Gold Coast and you’d like more information on how a professional builder can ensure the success and smooth running of your project contact the experienced builders at Symcorp today.

*This information is of a general nature and not designed to replace professional financial advice.


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We understand that when hiring a builder for a major home renovation, addition or extension, or building a new home can be one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life. There are many variables and questions, and no doubt you want to make sure you’re making the best decisions for yourself and your family. And most certainly, you want to feel confident that you’re choosing a trusted builder who is reputable and works with you to deliver a high quality finished product.

At Symcorp, we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure our business and building systems are world class and that our entire team is focused on working together to deliver an amazing experience and product for you and your family.