Owner building

Going owner builder

If you wish to perform (or coordinate) domestic building work on your property for a single project of a value of more than $11,000, you must obtain an owner-builder permit from the Queensland Building Services Authority (QBSA). You must display the permit details in a prominent position on the building site (typically the front fence). This is a requirement under the Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991 (QBSA Act).

If the estimated work is under $11,000 you do not need a permit from QBSA. Visit QBSA or phone 1300 272 272 for more detailed information. Please note, only QBSA administers owner builder regulations - and we are unable to help with these enquiries.

Owner builder permits are for residential purposes only.

The permit must be for a building used for residential purposes only. A permit cannot be issued for construction or renovation of multiple dwellings, commercial premises (e.g. duplexes, boarding houses, shops, industrial buildings, farm buildings etc).

Who can be an owner builder?

Any individual or company can be issued with a permit provided they are one of the following:

  • a person listed on the property title
  • a company director if the property is owned by a company
  • a lessee if the property is under a lease agreement.

What type of building work can an owner builder complete?*

Examples of types of work covered under an owner builder permit include:

  • construction of a new house
  • renovation or alteration to an existing dwelling
  • extension or addition to an existing dwelling
  • construction of a garage, carport or domestic shed
  • construction of a swimming pool
  • construction of a pergola or entertainment area.

*This list is not exhaustive.

Owner builders forfeit QBSA insurance on the building work

By becoming an owner builder you forfeit your right to BSA insurance on the building work performed. As an owner builder in your role as head contractor, you will be personally responsible for dealing with individual contractors if problems in workmanship occur. You will also be personally responsible for payment to rectify any defects in the building work or to complete any work left incomplete by an individual contractor.

Owner builder's role

Your role is that of head or main contractor and you will be personally responsible for dealing with individual sub-contractors if there are any problems with workmanship.

By contrast, if you were to engage an appropriately licensed contractor to perform the whole job, you would only have to deal with the contractor – they then hold the responsibility of dealing with subcontractors – and if they fail to correct a defect you are able to use the BSA dispute resolution service, including being able to claim BSA insurance. This service is not available to owner builders.

PLEASE NOTE: The material above has been sourced from QBSA (accessed June 2012). Please enquire with the QBSA directly for more detailed advice.


Related information

Building in the region

Calculate building application fees

Erosion and sediment control

Inspection timing

Types of building work