Owner Builder Permits

It is not usual for there to be a notation on a title search stating owner builder with a year next to it. The reason why it is there is not readily apparent.

Owner Builder Permits allow an owner of a property to carry out building work to the value of $11,000 or greater. If it is less than this amount you don’t need a permit. Certain types of work are prohibited unless performed by a licensed tradesman, for example plumbing.

One of the main issues with owner builders is that the work is not covered by the QBCC insurance. This is the statutory insurance which covers minor defects for 6 months and 6 years for structural defects. This is fair enough with the owner who did the work because why should he be able to claim for his own defective work. The problem arises where the property changes owners.

Under section 47 of the Building and Construction Commission Act a person when selling a property must disclose to the buyer any owner builder work. If the Seller fails to do this then the Seller is deemed to have given the Buyer the same warranty as the statutory warranty.

The warranty runs from when the work was completed not from when the permit was obtained or building approval was obtained. So the year noted on the title search may not be accurate. The 6 year period could have started much later.

The other issue to be aware of is that not all owner builder work is disclosed on the title deed. So while the notation on the title deed is very helpful in reminding you to ask the Seller what work has been done you should ask the Seller about possible owner builder work even where it is not disclosed on the title deed.

You must advise the Buyer about the owner builder work before they sign the contract and it needs to be in writing. There are a number of requirements that must be included in the notice so it is recommended you use a notice prepared by a law firm. We have precedent forms which you can obtain from us at no cost.

For further information please contact Roland Taylor on 0417 605 185 or [email protected]