Owner Builders and Contracts
I know we harp on about it, but as an owner builder, you have the same responsibilities and obligations as a registered builder.
This is true across all areas of owner building, including your responsibilities and obligations in respect to the relevant legislation that covers building contracts in your state and territory.
Queensland, through the QBCC, has possibly the most comprehensive range of standard contracts that may be downloaded free from their website and are available for use on all building projects including those of owner builders.
In this blog, I will discuss the legislative requirements as they apply to owner builders in Queensland, however, the general information is reasonably consistent across both New South Wales and Queensland. For the specific requirements that affect your project in each state and territory, owner builders should visit the website of their relevant governing authority.
All building works should be the subject of a contract, be it written or verbal. For works valued at over $3,300 in Queensland the works must be covered by a written contract.
The applicable legislation will outline the elements which are mandatory for a contract to be valid and the will specify the dollar amount that will require a written contract.
It is important to note that the dollar amount as specified includes the cost of labour and materials.
The QBCC and the relevant legislation, further provide information through fact sheets which outline the responsibilities of each party to a contract that covers domestic building works.
A good place for owner builders to start is the QBCC produced Consumer Building Guide. This document is a mandatory item to be provided to a client, (by the contractor), where the value of works is $20,000 or more.
The guide is to be signed as an acknowledgement that the contractor has provided the client information on the rights and responsibilities of each party. It includes important information on:
Cooling Off Periods
QBCC Licence Requirements
QLD Home Warranty Insurance
Deposit and Progress Payments
Building Approvals and Inspections
Dispute Prevention and Resolution
Extensions of Time
Practical Completion and Handover
Again, while there are differences across the states and territories, owner builders can get a good understanding of consumer law and protections as it applies in the building industry from this document.
The QBCC has made available to its contractors (including owner builders) a range of documents which if applied correctly, effectively and with a degree of discipline, form the basis of contract management for a small domestic construction works that would be typical of an owner builder project in any state or territory.
I would strongly recommend that our owner builder students visit the QBCC website and download each of those documents or forms which may be applicable to their site and works.
The documents include registers for project participants (contractors, suppliers, consultants etc), Prime Cost Schedules, and allows for the establishing of a relationship between the forms provided and other contract elements including working drawings or specifications.
Abacus Training are happy to discuss these valuable project tools and intend on developing a series of videos that show their correct use and application as they could relate to an owner builder project.
Any questions, drop me an email or leave a comment on this blog post.
Best Regards, and Happy Building,
Rick Heaton is a Building and Construction Industry professional with formal tertiary qualifications in management and training.