A question we quite often get asked is;
“what happens if I have a change of circumstance that significantly affects my ability or desire to complete my owner builder project?”
In Queensland, the QBCC has provision to allow you to either:
Change, replace or surrender your owner builder permit
If your project scope changes, for example, the value or description of the works, you must advise the new details by completing an Application to Amend an Existing Owner Builder Permit form (PDF).
You will need to provide details of the change, reason for the change and make a declaration that states the information you provided it true and correct.
If you misplace your paperwork and need to replace your owner builder permit, you will be required to lodge the Owner Builder Replacement Permit form (PDF) and pay the replacement fee.
Make certain you have recorded your Owner Builder Permit number as this will be helpful in quickly organising a new/replacement permit.
Surrender your owner builder permit
If you feel you need to surrender your owner builder permit, you can do this by writing to the QBCC. The most common reasons for surrendering an Owner Builder Permit is that you have decided to engage a Licensed Contractor to complete the works indicated on your permit. It is important to understand, that once surrendered, you can’t perform any more owner builder work on the property.
To surrender your permit you must complete the Application to Surrender an Owner Builder Permit form (PDF).
The point at which you surrender your permit, will determine the status of your construction in respect to Home Warranty Insurance and the requirement to place a notification (Warning) on any subsequent contract of sale.
The following summarises your owner builder responsibilities and obligations if you surrender you permit before or after signing with the Licensed Contractor.
Surrendering an owner builder permit after work has started?
The QBCC will not cover any work you did under the permit under the Queensland Home Warranty insurance scheme. This includes any work done by a licensed contractor.
Your property title will still have a notification about the permit for 7 years.
Surrender an owner builder permit before work starts?
Should you decide to engage a licensed contractor to complete the works that were subject of an owner builder permit, you must surrender the permit before you sign a contract.
You will also need to provide proof of having cancelled your building approval (written confirmation by your Building Certifier or PCA).
Once this is received by the QBCC you can request to have the title notification removed only where you surrendered the permit.
The other circumstance where you can surrender your owner builder permit without having restrictions placed on your title are should you not obtain building approval. You will be required to provide a current council search, or a letter confirming 'current land status' from your solicitor.
I hope this helps cover and adequately answer the questions in respect to surrendering, replacing or changing your owner builder permit in Queensland.
Best Regards and Happy Owner Building,
Another Day, Another Blog !!!
Someone asked me the other day why we try to do a blog as often as we can.
Simple reason is, we like to share information with our owner builder students, to ensure they have the best learning experience and have accesses to the latest information that is available.
It does not always work, at times we get so caught up in the day to day business matters and RTO compliance works, that we just do not get time.
This time of year though, student numbers can get a bit slow so it makes sense to catch up on the latest owner builder news and make the information available to our owner builders.
I just had an email from one of our students and again, the question came up about whether the White Card is mandatory for owner builders.
The answer is simple.
As an owner builder you will be considered the Principal Contractor and the person in control of the site.
That means you are absolutely responsible for the WHS and OHS matters on your site.
The confusion comes about because the requirement is covered under different legislation and not referred to in the building code other than talking about the requirement to complete General Safety Induction Training.
The White Card is the resultant document from the completion of this training and is satisfied by successfully undertaking CPCCCOHS1001 Work Safely in the Construction Industry.
For our NSW Owner Builder students, Services NSW make it very clear, without the White Card (and you must present the physical card) you will not be granted your owner builder permit.
In Queensland, the QBCC have not placed this pre requisite, which causes confusion, but let me assure you the legislation applies equally in QLD and it does in NSW and owner builders must have completed General Safety Induction Training to comply.
Recently the requirements changed in respect to the assessment for the White Card and I will cover that in another post.
Best Regards and Happy Owner Building
Selling Your Owner Built Property
At some stage you may want to sell your dream home and move to something more suitable.
It could be your family has left and the house is too big leaving you to a decision to downsize.
It may be that your job has taken you to another location and you need to sell to fulfil your career aspirations.
Perhaps you enjoyed the process so much you want to do it again!
There are a few things you need to consider.
Of course, if you are going to do another project, you will need to ensure you have met the requirements in respect to the prohibited (exclusion) period to gain another owner builder permit.
But there are other considerations.
If you need to sell inside the regulated time and inside warranty period, you will need to ensure you include a warning in the contract of sale that brings the attention of any owner builder works to the notice of the purchaser and advise them the works are not covered by a government backed Home Warranty Scheme.
This always raises more questions than I have been able to satisfactorily answer in respect to the individual insurances and statutory warranties that are required either under building legislation or through common law practises.
Most state legislation requires any works undertaken by a licensed contractor, in excess of a stated value, to be covered by insurance and warranties.
So where does the owner builders obligation end and the contractors start?
I wish the answer was easy.
My best advice is to consider yourself as the owner builder to be required to meet the same legislative requirements in your capacity as the Principal Contractor. This means those obligations that would be required to be met if you were a licensed builder with the appropriate classification of license. Eg; General Builder, Builder Low Rise etc.
This in most cases will require you to warrant the structural component of the construction for a period of 6 or more years and unlimited warranty in some areas.
All this without the ability to effect Home Warranty Insurance under the applicable government scheme.
Sounds daunting, and it is.
So, our advice to all our owner builders is to take the time to consult with professional construction insurance providers, understand you relevant legislative requirements and always employ qualified and insured tradesman.
You can mitigate against all the warranty and insurance pitfalls, but it takes diligence.
Take care and Happy Owner Building
Owner Builders and Consultants
I always encourage our owner builders to take advantage of the skills and knowledge that professional and consultants can provide in support of owner builder projects.
Very few individuals have an overall knowledge of all aspects of the building industry and the specific details or information that make projects more efficient and more importantly compliant.
You may during the course of your owner builder project seek guidance on a number of varied matters that one person would not reasonably be expected to have a complete working knowledge.
Of course, the use of consultants and the requirement to draw on external advice will be driven by the size and complexity of your project.
A recent example that is quite topical as we come into this time of year, is the use of Bushfire Management Planners.
If you happen to be building in a bushfire prone precinct, I can not stress enough, the important of good design and consideration of all of the factors that will influence the ‘survivability’ of your construction if the worst happens.
This is a great example of where specialist skills and knowledge is required to determine the design and practicality factors that should be considered and incorporated in an owner built domestic dwelling.
Lifestyle living is becoming increasingly popular as is the requirement to build in a sustainable manner.
I am appreciating more and more the importance of good design and the requirement to keep up to date with the latest developments in sustainability and renewable energy.
Unless you are dedicated to that area or design discipline, it is impossible to remain truly up to date and still maintain your day job.
That is why, more and more, I am turning to professionals who focus only on energy ratings, new products and sustainable concept dwellings. It is not hard now to be truly ‘eco friendly’ and many owner builders are heading down this track.
We have always maintained a contract/project management facility to assist owner builders and whilst it went through a considerable lull for around 5 years, more and more of our owner builder students are seeking this service.
I guess what I am saying is, no person could be across all of the requirements and legislative considerations. Give some thought to seeking the advice of those who really know their industry and have the time to keep up to date with current trends and innovation.
It may involve a cost, but the ultimate savings to yourself, your community and even the planet, are usually worth the investment.
Happy Owner Building
Rick Heaton is a Building and Construction Industry professional with formal tertiary qualifications in management and training.