In trying to get our renovation project off the ground more, and open up more options for getting the work down I did a Queensland Owner Builder Course.
The idea behind the owner builder course is to allow people who are not licensed building Trade Contractors to build their own homes and perform renovations, extensions, etc. on land that they own. A Owner Builder Permit is required for work where the total value would exceed $11,000 (including GST and labour) if performed by a licensed building Trade Contractor. With the Permit the owner builder is allowed to do all the building work, except for plumbing and electrical tasks.
The course can be delivered in many different ways, including classroom delivery or by correspondence. Because of my workload and family commitments, and the fact that I couldn’t find it being offered in Townsville, I took the course by correspondence with The Peach Institute. I probably could have completed the entire course in a weekend If I had sat down for an entire weekend to do it, but instead I spread it out over a few evenings in the span of a month and completed it.
Overall it was a pretty good and helpful course. I really wish that I had taken it a year and a half ago though when we first purchased our house and were looking at renovating it. As often happens, I think that if I had that information with me back then I would have probably (or hopefully) made a lot less mistakes so far.
Below is a list of topics for the Owner Builder Course from The Peach Institute web-site:
- Legal Obligations of an Owner Builder
- The Initial Decision
- Roles of an Owner Builder
- Choosing Land or Position
- Consultants & Engaging a Designer
- Environment & Energy
- Choice of Materials
- Building Methods
- Preliminary design drawing
- Approvals & Inspections
- Setting Goals
- Estimating, Costing and Budgets
- Planning and Scheduling
- Finance & Loan Requirements
- Controlling Cost & Time
- Financial Records
- Establishing Supplier Accounts
- Relevant Administrative Authorities
- Taxation and Portable Long Service
- Workplace Health & Safety
- Record keeping
- Trade Contractors and Contracts
- Organisation of Supplies
- Payment of Suppliers
- Progress Payments to Trade Contractors
- Final Payment to Trade Contractors
- Construction Stages
- Conflict Prevention and Resolution
- Move In and Maintenance
The Peach Institute provides quite a few materials with the course and the workbook is quite easy to work through with the help of the study guide.
One thing that almost got me though was after I had actually completed the course I still had to apply for the actual Owner Builder Certificate with the BSA. On the application form it is best to list absolutely everything that you might even be thinking about doing during the life span of the permit, this includes swimming pools, redoing the roof, adding a shed, etc. Even though none of that is on the plans at the moment, they are still on my permit in case I choose to do it in the next few years.
You can find out more about the Owner Builder Course at The Peach Institutes Web-site.