FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION
If i start the course online and do some of the course can i log back on and start off where i
The system is set up to allow you to go in and out as often as you require.
Our Learning Management System stores your work, including during the owner builder final assessments.
How long does the course take to complete on line by staying on line from start to finish.
Depends entirely on your commitment, background and personal experience. The nominal course duration is 24 hours for Queensland Owner Builder Course and 50 to 60 hours for the 5 Units of Competency required to satisfy the NSW Owner Builder course. These times include study and assessment time.
Most people allow a weekend or two to get through the QLD course content and complete the assessments/assignments. For NSW we normally tell people to allow at least one week to get through the course and assessments.
Do I need the safety induction card?
You can obtain an owner builder permit for Queensland without the White Card (General Safety Induction Training) however, we believe that as an owner builder and hence the Principal Contractor, the legislation requires you to hold a White Card. For NSW, the Department of Fair Trading require the Owner Builder Permit applicant to hold a White Card or proof of General Safety Induction Training
Once I pay for it on line can how long before I can start the course?
Normally immediately, but within a few hours if manual enrolment is required.
If I need support, is correspondence by email only.
It is our preferred method of answering questions for two reasons:
1) We do not tie up human resources for unnecessarily long periods of time. This allows us to remain efficient and continue to offer our courses at a price point which represents great value to the owner builder and allows us to continue to refine our services and offerings.
2) Often, as for this email, we can use the responses to include in our frequently asked questions so all student have the opportunity to benefit from the responses given by Abacus Staff
Can Owner Builders borrow money to finance their projects?
Yes they can, however it is more difficult generally than if you were to engage a builder and enter into a contract.
Our best advice is be organised, have a reasonable deposit to get you underway, present a sound "business plan" to your lender to demonstrate your ability to run the project. Obviously proof of having completed a genuine accredited course in Owner Building will help.
What are the most common mistakes an owner builder makes?
Believe it or not, there are not that many, but the greatest mistake we see is a lack of understanding of what it takes to control project finances. Many owner builders are not equipped to handle large volumes of money and struggle in the area of cash flow management. A failure to ensure the project can be resourced and funded in an appropriate manner leads to delays, conflicts with suppliers and contractors plus places enormous stress on the owner builder. To get around this, always ensure you understand the requirements of project finance and use the strategies and tools provided to all of owner builder students.
I want to build a duplex, is that allowed?
Generally the answer is no, however some state and territories allow you to build a duplex.
The original idea for an owner builder was to build a house that they intended to live in for at least 5 years, again this was state or territory dependent. As we move towards a more community focused lifestyle, and the shortage of aged care, these restrictions can often be waived if an owner builder can demonstrate a good reason to allow such a development. Granny flats etc are a classic example of where the restrictions have been lifted. Owner Builders need to check their individual state authority for the latest provisions of the legislation and any exemptions that may be granted.
How often can I have an owner builder permit?
NSW Owner Builders may only apply for and be granted one owner builder permit in any 5 year period.
For QLD Owner Builders, the restriction is 6 years.
In both cases, this restriction may be waived in exceptional circumstances.
Can an owner builder prepare their own construction drawings?
The answer is yes, an owner builder is treated the same as a registered or licensed builder and the legislation allows for them to prepare drawings for projects they are going to build. Therefore, an owner builder may produce their own working and construction drawings.
We would strongly discourage this unless it is a very simple project with basic design elements and structure. Owner Builders should focus on the management and coordination of their project and leave specific works to the professional. Drawings that are inaccurate, incomplete or lacking in detail will always lead to overruns, variations, cost blow outs and delays. Owner Builders should employ the services of a qualified Building Designer or and Architect for more complex projects.
Why are there so many restrictions on Owner Builders?
By definition, owner builders are not in the business of building!
This definition provides part of the answer. It is important that as an industry, we protect those registered and licensed builders who have invested substantial resources, (time and money) to learn their craft and establish a business. It is difficult to enough, to regulate the industry, without giving owner builders free reign.
The restrictions and regulations are about preventing unauthorised works and helps to protect the trade contractors who complete the various scopes of work required or requested by owner builders and their projects.
Are owner builders subject to the same contract requirements as a registered builder?
Yes, owner builders have the same legislative obligations as a registered builder when it comes to entering contracts between themselves and their subcontractors. Each state and territory will have specific legislation in respect to contracts for domestic construction works. Owner builders can (and we advise they do), access the standard form contracts that are available to cover the types of works that an owner builder may typically complete.
Some states require a contract to be entered into and be in written form where works (including labour and materials exceed a given amount. This is typically set at around the $5000.00 mark, but some states are as low as $1000.00 Owner Builders need to check the current legislation in respect to contracts in the local region (state or territory).
What is Home Warranty Insurance and how does it affect Owner Builders?
This is possibly the most frequently asked owner builder question and one of the most difficult to answer fully.
Basically, each state and territory has its own relevant legislation in respect to owner builders and you must visit the relevant website to check on specific obligations and requirements. We do cover this in the NSW and QLD Owner Builder Courses in the Abacus prepared study or learner guides.
Home Warranty insurance is a consumer protection insurance that 'warrants' the house in respect to poor quality workmanship or materials.
The cover is normally effected for a specified period to cover defects and the subsequent repair costs in the event the builder goes out of business or disappears.
When it comes to owner builders, some states only recognise works completed by a registered builder. In this instance we always advise our owner builder students to ensure their contracts with individual suppliers and trades persons are well written and cover warranty and defect periods. Most licensed contractors have a requirement to pay insurance to cover the works they do where a specified amount is reached. Again, we can only stress that you check the requirements and expectations in your state.
Be AWARE, where Home Warranty Insurance is not carried, the Owner Builder will be responsible for covering the affected works for the period stated in the relevant legislation.
A good place to start is to refer to your Owner Builder Learner Guides - Owner Builder Insurance
Why does your Owner Builder Course take a lot longer than the times quoted by other providers?
It is a good question and easy to answer.
The only way to satisfy the legislated requirements for education to be eligible for an owner builder permit or license is to undergo the appropriate nationally accredited course.
For QLD, this is the QBCC accredited course 39291QLD Course in Owner Builder Compliance, it consists of one Unit of Competency and has a learning volume specified at 24 hours. This course has been specifically written and tailored to address the requirements of skills and knowledge for Owner Builders.
NSW Department of Fair Trading, requires the completion of 5 Units of Competency from the CPC08 Plumbing and Construction Training Package.
These units will take you around 50 to 60 hours to complete. They are more generic, however Abacus Training has contextualised the units to meet the needs of our owner builder course students. We also provide a considerable volume of resource specifically written for owner builders.
So when a provider tells you they can get you through your owner builder educational requirements in 3 hours (yes, three hours, we see this constantly on the Google Search Engine results), you should ask yourself, "How could I possibly get the knowledge and skills required to build my house as an owner builder in three hours?"
We take pride in providing a true course that allows our students to build and develop genuine skills and knowledge that will make the owner builder experience as good as it can be,