Thinking about becoming an owner builder?

Thinking about becoming an owner builder - intellichoice

Thinking about becoming an owner builder?

There is something satisfying about completing your home as an owner builder, kicking back on the DIY balcony, beer in hand and admiring the view. Along the way, you may have also saved yourself some money and picked up some handy skills.

But the fact is – being an owner builder is not an easy task. It will cost you energy, frustration and in the worse case, if you don’t get it right – a lot of money. Before you start renovating or building your own house, you need to seriously ask yourself whether you have the skills (and we are not necessarily talking about trade skills) and time available to complete the necessary work and becoming an owner builder.

Consider the following before you launch into your DIY project.

Are you prepared to be responsible for the owner builder project?

An owner builder is someone who manages their own residential building project and looks after the coordinating and contracting roles that are normally undertaken by the builder. If you plan on becoming an owner builder, there are a few responsibilities you need to be prepared to take on board.

Depending on which state you reside in, you will also need an owner builder permit before you start building your house. There is usually a fee associated with this and you may also need to complete an owner builder course that will give you the basic skills and awareness in a number of essential areas. You can speak to the local council for more information about the owner builder permit and owner builder courses.


If you are building your own house, you cannot avoid using subcontractors. Even if you intend to do most of the work yourself, there are certain jobs, such as plumbing and electrical wiring, which by law, must be completed by a licensed professional.

You will need to be aware of all the associated issues with hiring subcontractors. For example, you will need to check out GST and PAYG regulations in relation to payment. You will also need to organise workers compensation, a long service levy, health and safety levy, and even a training levy.

As you are in charge of the whole project, you will also need to manage each of the subcontractors working under you. If you have a problem, you must deal with the subcontractors directly. It is also possible to employ a builder will relieve of this responsibility and act on your behalf.

Health and safety

On a construction site, there is a very real risk of injury, and if you are an owner builder you must familiarise yourself with occupational health and safety regulations. It is your responsibility to enforce these regulations and protect the people working on site as you are the person managing the building project.

How much will I save as an owner builder?

The main reason people choose to build themselves is to save money. However, the reality is that an owner builder who is not part of the building industry usually pays significantly more for materials than a professional builder. This is because they usually buy materials in bulk and pay much cheaper prices and of course, they don’t need to buy or hire their tools.

Owner building made easy

Intellichoice makes building your own home a reality, and it is ideal for first home owners, young families, or parents who want to help their children to get started in the property market. It can be a way of getting exactly the home they want at a cheaper price than they could by buying it outright.

The beauty of the owner builder system is that it guides the owner builder through the whole process and ensures the smooth running of a home construction or renovation project from start to completion.

The owner builder system also offers a range of additional services including:

• Introductions and trade discounts at national suppliers

• Assistance with the location of trades in your local area

• Full quantity take-offs of materials by a Quantity Surveyor on the clients’ plans

• Quality inspections of workmanship

• Discounted construction and public liability insurance

• 7-day access to professional telephone support from a builder

• Staged costing summary and cash flow for the owner builder project

By using the owner builder system, you can save up to 30% off the cost of even the cheapest fixed-price builder’s quote. And you get exactly the same house! For major renovations, you can save up to 50%.

For more information, call Intellichoice on 1300 55 10 now. Our mortgage brokers can also assist with owner builder finance of up to 80% of the total end market value of the completed house, instead of the usual 50% of hard costs that most mortgage lender