Owner Builder Tips

shutterstock_77351404-300x200An owner-builder is an individual who carries out owner-builder work under the authority of a permit issued by the Office of Fair Trading. Owner-builder work can cover many aspects of construction, alterations, repairs or additions, be it a garage, a swimming pool, a shed or an entire home.

Being an owner-builder can be challenging, but the rewards can be very gratifying. On top of this, the savings of not having to hire professionals for all the work can be huge, bringing down the overall costs of construction significantly.

If you are thinking about becoming an owner-builder, follow these handy tips for a great building experience:

1. Do your research

The moment you consider entering the world of owner-building, you need to start doing your research. The more you know about the building industry, the smoother the process will be.

Having strong knowledge will give you a feeling of empowerment, which you will need when overseeing your building site. Tradespeople have their own opinions and ways of doing things, so the clearer you are on what you want and how you want things done, the better. If you feel one of your tradies is not listening to your opinions, be firm and listen to your instincts.

2. Understand the responsibilities that come with being an owner-builder

Do your sums to determine whether or not the time and effort you put in as an owner-builder will be worth it in the long run. To warrant being an owner-builder, you either have to enjoy the idea of being involved in the construction of your own project or see significant savings in the overall costs.

Responsibilities include overseeing and supervising all tradespeople, ordering materials and managing the site and obtaining all necessary council and authority approvals.

3. Ask questions

Your local council is your free resource centre, so use it! The ‘On Duty Building Inspector’ can answer a wide range of your questions and will often be able to recommend local tradesmen.

Don’t be afraid to ask local tradesmen questions, who are often willing to help you out. Just be mindful of the time they give you and don’t ask for a quote unless it’s absolutely required.

4. Set a budget and stick to it

Don’t just go into a project with a rough guide of what things will cost. Break everything down and work out where you can save. Things such as building supply auctions can give you a bit more cash for your budget.

5. Get insurance

Insurance varies from state to state, but all owner builders will require a Home Warranty Insurance certificate from every licensed contractor when the contract sum exceeds $20,000.