How to Perform an Owner Builder Licence Check

Welcome to your definitive guide on performing an owner builder licence check in Australia. In the realms of construction and home renovation, confirming the legitimacy and adherence to compliance standards of an owner builder is essential. This article navigates you through the process of licence verification, explores the legal framework surrounding owner builders, and assesses the pros and cons of undertaking projects in this capacity. Whether you’re considering the owner builder route for your next project or thinking about hiring one, this guide offers vital insights and practical steps to ensure you meet all legal and regulatory requirements.

What is an Owner Builder?

An owner builder is a homeowner who takes on the responsibility of managing construction projects on their property without the oversight of a licensed builder. This role includes tasks ranging from minor renovations to building a new home. Owner builders must obtain the necessary permits, hire subcontractors, and ensure all construction activities comply with local building codes and regulations.

Legal Requirements and Eligibility

The journey to becoming an owner builder involves navigating diverse legal requirements and eligibility criteria that vary across different states and territories. Generally, you must obtain an owner builder permit or certificate from your local building authority. This process typically requires proving competency through relevant courses or tests, demonstrating a thorough understanding of building laws, and satisfying certain financial requirements. Understanding and complying with the specific regulations in your jurisdiction is crucial to avoid legal issues.

How to Perform an Owner Builder Licence Check

Performing a licence check is a critical step in ensuring the legality and compliance of any construction project. Follow this detailed guide to assist you:

  1. Identify the Governing Body: Determine the local or state regulatory body responsible for owner builder licensing in your area.
  2. Access the Verification Tool: Utilise online tools or databases provided by regulatory bodies to perform an owner builder licence check.
  3. Enter Required Information: Input the necessary details such as the owner builder’s name or licence number into the verification tool.
  4. Review the Licence Details: Examine the licence status, check its validity, and note any disciplinary actions or limitations.
  5. Confirm Compliance: Ensure that the licence is active and complies with all relevant local standards and regulations.

Pros and Cons of Being an Owner Builder


  • Cost Savings: Managing your own project can lead to significant savings on labour and materials.
  • Control: Gain complete control over every phase of your project, from design to completion.
  • Personal Satisfaction: There is immense satisfaction in completing a project under your own direction.


  • Time and Stress: Managing a construction project can be time-consuming and stressful.
  • Financial Risk: Owner builders face financial risks from budget overruns and unexpected expenses.
  • Legal and Compliance Risks: Non-compliance with building codes and regulations can result in fines, legal challenges, and potentially having to redo work.

Compliance Checklist for Owner Builders

  • Permits and Approvals: Ensure all necessary building permits and approvals are obtained before starting your project.
  • Insurance: Maintain appropriate insurance coverage, including public liability and workers’ compensation.
  • Building Codes and Standards: Familiarise yourself with and adhere to all applicable building codes and standards.
  • Contractor Licensing: Verify the licence of all subcontractors and tradespeople you hire.
  • Safety Regulations: Implement all required safety measures and comply with occupational health and safety regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I sell a property I built as an owner builder?

Yes, you can sell a property you have built as an owner builder. However, you must comply with specific legal requirements, such as obtaining a building completion certificate and ensuring all work complies with local building regulations. In some jurisdictions, you might need to provide a statutory warranty period to the buyer, covering any defects for a certain period after the sale.

What are the consequences of hiring an unlicensed contractor?

Hiring an unlicensed contractor can lead to several serious consequences. You may face penalties and fines if caught by regulatory authorities. Additionally, work done by unlicensed contractors may not meet the required safety or quality standards, leading to potential hazards. If the work does not comply with building codes, you might be required to pay for rectifications, and the property may be difficult to insure or sell.

Do I need separate permits for electrical or plumbing work?

Yes, separate permits are typically required for specialised work such as electrical or plumbing installations. These permits ensure that the work is performed according to the specific safety standards and codes applicable in your area. Hiring licensed professionals who can obtain these permits is crucial to ensuring that all aspects of your construction project are legally compliant and safely executed.

Ensuring Compliance and Success

Embarking on a project as an owner builder or hiring one requires a comprehensive understanding of legal requirements, potential benefits, and associated challenges. By rigorously following the owner builder licence check process outlined in this guide, you can ensure compliance, minimise risks, and make informed decisions. Remember, successful project completion as an owner builder depends on diligent research and strict adherence to local building laws and standards.

Ensure your project adheres to the highest standards by conducting a thorough owner builder licence check. Stay informed, remain compliant, and build confidently.

Author: Marianne Ligan