So, I know I give NSW a hard time about the validity of their owner builder educational requirements not covering vital legislative information to ensure owner builders run their projects compliantly, but ....
One thing they have right, is they require owner builder applicants to provide proof of having completed General Safety Induction Training (White Card) before being issued a permit.
Other states are still to make this a requirement and they should.
The reason is, that whilst covered by separate legislation, as an owner builder, you have defined responsibilities in your capacity as the Principal Contractor or PCBU for your site.
Last week, I was told of an owner builder in Queensland (one of our past students), who was paid a visit by a WorkSafe Queensland inspector.
The owner builder was asked to provide the following:
The owner builder could not provide any of the required documents and was forced to cease all works on the site immediately till the shortcomings were addressed and rectified.
I understand that the owner builder was fined for not having appropriate safety signage and for not providing the required amenities on site for the contractors.
Now this might sound harsh, but I think the owner builder in question was possibly very fortunate.
Had this site suffered a serious incident that resulted in death or injury, there exists a very real possibility that the owner builder may not have been covered by insurance.
You could argue that the individual contractors should have workcover and other related insurances that cover themselves and their staff, but given the owner builders lack of attention to detail in other matters, I doubt they would have made the required checks to satisfy themselves that this was the case.
So if you think I am trying to drum up business when I suggest that our owner builders complete General Safety Induction Training, you are right.
However, it is also largely based on my knowledge that to complete a project as an owner builder without this training is both non compliant and carries serious risk.
Abacus training provides access to all of our owner builder students, considerable resources to help you manage WHS obligations on your site.
Take care out there and Safe Owner Building!
Wow, I cannot believe I have been asked that question again!
Why does a XXXXXXX (insert any qualified trade contractor) charge so much?
It just amazes me that it is so poorly understood why a good tradesman, that runs a profitable business, that is compliant and reliable charges 100 plus dollars an hour.
The fact is any owner builder needs to understand, if you engage a trade contractor, you should be prepared to pay the appropriate hourly rate.
When you engage a contractor, you have a reasonable expectation that the traddie will be prompt, courteous, professional, competent, carry the appropriate insurances and be respectful of your needs and the requirements of the other trades he works with on your project.
So lets take a typical small contractor that employs two or three tradesman.
There business needs to comply with the relevant legislation and remain compliant against the provision of their individual or corporate licenses.
Consider the following fees and overheads that must be met before they can even ‘open the doors’ these days:
Each week, month and year, these costs are there for trade contractors. These obligations need to be paid in full or the business cannot operate.
After you consider the business expenses, think about what it is that you are paying for.
Do you want safe and compliant services and finishes for your property or will you be satisfied with shoddy workmanship that does not really provide value and may make it difficult to realise a fair price for your property should you choose to sell?
None of this even considers the time and effort that the contractor has expended to gain their qualifications.
Most trades require considerable study and effort to demonstrate competency and be granted their license.
So, if owner builders feel they cannot afford a fully qualified, registered, competent and insured contractor, I would argue they cannot afford not to!
Happy owner building!
Since posting my update last night on the advances and enhancements to the NSW owner builder course, we have fielded several questions from our QLD students.
Fact is, the QBCC maintain an appropriate course that covers the relevant information on owner builder obligations, responsibilities and the legislation.
That does not mean that we are not improving our QLD owner builder course offering.
We are working on updated presentations which support the text resources. These will replace or at least compliment the current presentations hosted on the Learning Management System.
Adobe Acrobat is not as well supported as it once was and we are seeing more and more issues and difficulties with student trying to view the SCORM packages.
Whilst we can in 99% of cases solves these very quickly, it is not the most efficient delivery and we are trying to make all access and viewing as seamless as possible.
To this end, each presentation for:
They will be accessible by password and will provide our owner builder students consistent and ready access to our learning resources and information during their course and throughout their construction project.
We look forward to bringing these improvements to you.
Best Regards and Happy Owner Building
In 2015 what was then Fair Trading NSW, (now Services NSW) made the decision to move away from the accredited short course for owner builders This change required owner builder candidates to complete 5 units of competency from the Certificate I in Construction to satisfy the educational requirements for the issue of a permit.
I was against the move then as I still am, believing that whilst they provide a sound platform of learning, they miss several key points of knowledge which are truly vital to owner builders.
This is becoming more and more evident whilst I field questions from our students that should be covered in any course that truly prepares you to understand your role and the responsibilities that go hand in hand with operating under an owner builder permit.
We have decided to change this by providing additional resource materials and reading which will answer each of the most frequently asked questions.
What is really exciting, is the way that we are going to present the resources and learning materials.
They will be in a format that allows easy access via your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop regardless of the operating system you use.
They information will be available from early January 2019 and the access link will be accessible from both the Learning Portal and our primary website.
It will be interactive and include review questions to allow you to self check your knowledge.
This mini course will in no way replaces the required learning, but simply and effectively allows our owner builder students to readily identify the legislative obligations of an owner builder in New South Wales.
It is our intent that the current presentation content for the 5 Units of Competency which are hosted on our Learning Management System will also be delivered on the new platform.
This is scheduled to be rolled out late first quarter, 2019.
Stay Tuned and Happy Owner Building
Recently I am getting a lot of questions from our owner builder course students about the legal aspects of building dual occupancy, specifically duplexes.
In the past, we have always responded that this is allowed in NSW but not Queensland and we have been very happy with our answer.
More and more, we are being told that some certifiers are approving duplexes for construction by Owner Builders in Queensland.
We have done considerable research and we confirm that the QBCC still has a restriction under the legislation that prohibits the construction or modification of multiple dwellings, dual occupancies and duplexes under an owner builder permit.
If you are told by your Principal Certifying Authority that it is allowed, then our suggestion to our owner builder students, is to seek clarification from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) for a ruling before you expend any funds on the project.
Failing ti do this may result in the owner builder being in breach of the legislation and be fined or sanctioned as a result.
For those of you who have asked this question, I apologise for the slow reply on this forum, but we wanted to be certain of our facts.
NSW owner builders continue to be able to construct duplexes.
Hope this information is of value.
Best Regards and Happy Owner Building
Rick Heaton is a Building and Construction Industry professional with formal tertiary qualifications in management and training.