What All Successful Owner Builders Should Know


Being an owner builder can offer a lot of freedom and rewards, but it is also a massive undertaking and there’s a load of stuff that you’ll need to know before you should even attempt it. Below we’ll go through the most important things you should know before becoming an owner builder.

Have a vision

Before you even start a project, ensure that you have your complete end picture in mind. It’s impossible to start a project without knowing what your end result will look like.

Prepare a budget and manage it well

Successful owner builders are well versed in producing accurate budgets and sticking to them. It’s important to forecast well and have a good idea of what each task will cost you.

Have a contingency plan in place for possible cost blow-outs to make sure that it won’t affect your project adversely. Murphy’s law is whatever can happen probably will happen; overspending or having to do rework can blow your budget out by thousands, so it’s important to have a plan to cover you for tasks that pop up unexpectedly

Keep your expectations in check

Don’t kid yourself; being an owner builder is a demanding job. You’ll need to be able to think on your feet, deal with setbacks calmly and have a can do attitude. Be prepared to deal with a wide selection of subcontractors and to project manage all aspects with key precision to keep tasks on time and budget. If you can, find a mentor, someone who has done it all before to help guide and prepare you.

Know your local legislation

Before you start any works ensure you have the right permits in check and have a clear understanding of all legislation involved in building a home. All owner builders need to be registered as owner builders with their state Building Commission before they can even apply for a building permit with their local government.

Once you have your permit in place, you then need to ensure that the site is secure and well supervised and that you are complying with all conditions of your local building code. In all cases, this will involve the installation of temporary fencing around the entire site. Temporary fencing ensures the security of your site and the safety of the surrounding public.

There are many helpful courses out there for owner builders. It could also be a good idea to engage the services of qualified people to assist with the initial stages and construction set up.

Have adequate insurance

Insurance can be a stressful component for any owner builder. It’s important to that you do not fall into the trap of under-insuring for the sake of saving a few bucks. Do your research, your time and money needs to be insured against unexpected events like theft, flood, fire and of course public liability. If you are borrowing to finance your project then it will also be a condition of your mortgage that you have adequate insurance in place.

Work with top quality tradespeople

Engaging with the dodgy tradespeople can ruin your home building project. Ultimately you want to ensure that you have the best people on your side, who understand your vision and are working with you and not against you.

Check that your potential tradesperson has a valid license by conducting a free license check with licensedtrades.com.au. Don’t be afraid to ask for references either and be sure to document all conversations in writing; nothing is more frustrating than being told that the cost of works will increase half way through completion.

For more information on legislations and requirements in your state check out the following websites