Navigating the Section 137B Owner Builder Report

As an owner builder, you embark on a journey filled with both opportunities and significant responsibilities. This role grants you the autonomy to oversee construction projects on your property, encompassing building and renovations alike. However, this power comes with stringent legal and compliance obligations, particularly concerning the Section 137B owner builder report — an essential document when planning to sell a property post-construction. This guide aims to simplify the complexities of the owner builder role, focusing on legal requirements, benefits, responsibilities, and compliance steps, with an in-depth look at the Section 137B owner builder report.

The Owner Builder Concept

Definition of an Owner Builder

An owner builder manages construction projects on their property directly, without the need for a licensed builder. This role allows for overseeing the entire construction process, from selecting tradespeople to sourcing materials and ensuring compliance with designs and specifications. Obtaining an owner builder permit or certification, which typically requires passing a building law and practice knowledge test, is a must.

Benefits and Responsibilities


  • Cost Savings: Direct project management reduces overheads and contractor profit margins.
  • Customisation: Full control enables detailed customisation of the building process.
  • Satisfaction: The personal achievement of seeing your project from start to finish.

Key Responsibilities and Challenges:

  • Compliance: Ensuring all construction meets building codes and regulations.
  • Quality Control: Supervising the quality of both workmanship and materials.
  • Project Management: Handling budgets, timelines, and trade coordination proficiently.

Understanding the Section 137B Owner Builder Report

Legal Background

The Section 137B owner builder report is mandated by The Building Act 1993 for owner builders in Australia, who wish to sell their property within 6.6 years of completing construction. This report acts as a defect warranty, providing potential buyers with assurance about the quality and compliance of the construction work.

Contents of the Report

The report provides a comprehensive evaluation of:

  • Structural Integrity: Assessing the robustness of the construction.
  • Compliance: Ensuring all building codes and regulations are met.
  • Defect Identification: Highlighting any issues or incomplete elements.

Obtaining the Report

Authorized Professionals:

  • Registered building inspectors or surveyors.
  • Licensed architects or structural engineers.

Steps to Acquire:

  • Engage a professional authorized to issue the Section 137B owner builder report.
  • Provide all necessary documentation of the construction work.
  • Arrange an inspection to compile the report.

Legal and Compliance Requirements for Owner Builders

Building Permits and Regulations

It’s crucial to obtain the necessary building permits before starting any construction to ensure the work complies with local building codes and regulations.

Step-by-Step Compliance Guide

  • Research: Understand the specific regulations for your project.
  • Permit Application: Apply for permits with detailed plans and specifications.
  • Inspections: Ensure regular compliance checks during and post-construction.
  • Documentation: Keep a meticulous record of all related activities and inspections.

FAQ Section

What is an owner builder permit, and how do I obtain one?

Answer: An owner builder permit is a certification that allows you to legally undertake and manage construction projects on your own property. To obtain this permit, you must apply through your local building authority, demonstrating your knowledge of building laws and practices, typically through a test. The specific requirements can vary by region, so it’s important to check with your local authority for the exact process.

Can I sell my property immediately after completing owner builder work?

Answer: Yes, you can sell your property immediately after completing the work. However, if you sell within 6.6 years of completion, you must provide the “Section 137B owner builder report” to the buyer. This report assures the buyer of the quality and compliance of the construction work, acting as a mandatory warranty against defects.

What happens if my project fails to comply with building regulations?

Answer: If your construction project fails to comply with building regulations, you may be subject to fines, required to undertake remedial work, or both. Non-compliance can also affect your ability to sell your property, as the “Section 137B owner builder report” might highlight these issues to potential buyers, impacting their decision or the property’s value.

By understanding and following the legal and compliance requirements, including securing an owner builder permit and ensuring your project adheres to local building codes, you set the stage for a successful and compliant owner builder project. Remember, the Section 137B owner builder report is crucial if you plan to sell your property within 6.6 years of project completion, ensuring you meet all necessary legal standards.

Author: Marianne Ligan