Each of the Owner Builder regulating authorities places certain restrictions and conditions on the use of an owner builder permit.
For our major owner builder student base, we are going to do a quick comparison.
However, before we consider the differences lets look at the fundamental principles of an owner builder permit that remain consistent across all of the states and territories:
An owner builder permit is available to an owner of a property or someone who has an interest in a property such as a long term lessor or a trustee where the property is held in a trust.
An owner builder permit is for the primary purpose of building, extending or renovating a domestic dwelling that the owner builder applicant intends to live in for a minimum specified period of time.
Owner builder permits are issued to a real person only and cannot be issued to an entity, they are restricted in the number of permits which may be issued to a person in a given period of time. This is to protect those registered builders and trade contractors who have significant investment in their skills, knowledge, qualifications, equipment and resources in their business.
An owner builder is not in the business of building.
An owner builder has the same responsibilities as a registered builder and is considered the Principal Contractor.
An owner builder has an absolute responsibility in respect to the Work Health and Safety issues on their site.
The owner builder is responsible for the organisation of all required inspections and certifications for their project and the retention of the associated documentation.
I think that pretty much covers the basics of the obligations and responsibilities that are consistent for owner builder across the states and territories. Lets now have a quick look at the differences:
- In NSW an applicant may be issued an owner builder permit once in every 5 year period. For QLD, this is a 6 year period.
- In NSW you are permitted to build a duplex, in QLD, you are not however, you may build a granny flat.
- In NSW, the Department of Fair Trade issue the owner builder permits. In QLD, this is done by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
- In NSW, you must provide evidence of having completed General Safety Induction Training (White Card) prior to being issued an owner builder permit. In QLD this is not a requirement, however WHS legislation places an obligation on a Principal Contractor to have completed the White Card, that is to say in QLD, they are not linked.
- Both states have an educational component as a pre requisite to obtaining an owner builder permit. QLD has a specifically tailored single unit of competency which is heavily focused on owner builder activities. NSW has adopted the approach of selecting 5 units of competency from the CPC08 Plumbing and Construction Training Package. They are not contextualised for the owner builder and are quite generic in nature. Abacus Training has attempted to focus to the extent possible, on owner builder activities whilst still maintaining the integrity of the required skills and knowledge listed in the performance criteria for the unit.
These are the major differences between NSW and QLD, I hope this has provided a little clarity and answers the common questions that Abacus fields from our owner builder students.
As always, good luck with your project and,
Happy Owner Building.