The Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Victoria is pleased that the construction industry regulator, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is further restricting the activities of bogus "owner builders" within the sector. SPASA Victoria strongly recommend consumers: use only practitioners that are registered with the VBA, fully insured, use compliant construction Contracts and are members of the industry peak body, SPASA Victoria . All consumers should be protected from those undertaking large-scale owner builder work and are urged to read the SPASA Victoria Fact Sheets and the regulators communication, as follows.
VBA Advice to Owner-Builders taken from: http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/owner-builders
An owner-builder is someone who takes on most of the responsibility for domestic building work carried out on their land. As an owner-builder you would need to obtain building permits, supervise or undertake the building work, and ensure the work meets building regulations and standards.
In Victoria, an owner-builder can only build or renovate one house every three years, and must intend to live in the house once completed.
If you wish to be an owner-builder, and the value of the proposed building work is more than $12,000 (including labour costs and materials) you will need to apply for a certificate of consent.
Note: The owner-builder and building practitioner, contractor or tradesperson must enter into a written contract for domestic building work costing more than $5,000.
The certificate of consent must be provided to your building surveyor in order to obtain a building permit. As an owner-builder, you will be given the same level of protection afforded to other consumers under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995.
Warning for Potential Owner-Builders
Do not submit an owner-builder application if you intend to engage one builder to do all the building work – you will not qualify as an owner-builder. Instead, you will need to enter into a domestic building contract with a registered building practitioner.
Be wary if a builder or tradesperson asks you to sign a building permit as an owner-builder, even though they will be doing the work. This is risky and may end up costing you a lot more than you expect. The builder may be unregistered or trying to avoid their legal responsibilities.
Contact the VBA or your lawyer to get advice before you agree to become an owner-builder in these circumstances.
Even if you have signed as an owner-builder on the building permit:
• you and a builder, contractor or tradesperson must enter into a written contract for domestic building work costing more than $5,000
• a builder, contractor or tradesperson must give you domestic building insurance for work costing more than $16,000
• warranties still apply
Selling An Owner Built House
If you sell your owner-built home within six and a half years after the domestic building work has been completed (ie. from the date of issue of your occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection), you must:
Obtain a defects report by a prescribed practitioner regarding the domestic building work. The report must not be older than six months and a copy must also be provided to the homebuyer.
Obtain owner-builder domestic building insurance covering the domestic building work and provide the homebuyer with a certificate of the insurance. Please note that the insurance may only come into effect if you die, disappear or are insolvent.
Note: If a registered building practitioner carried out the work under a major domestic building contract, the work should be covered by their domestic building insurance. However you will also need your own domestic building insurance to cover any building work you completed. Domestic building insurance covers non-structural defects for two years and other defects for six years. After six years, the property is no longer covered by domestic building insurance.
If you sell your owner-built home on or after six years, but within six and a half years of completion of building work, you need only provide a defects report.
A buyer of your home who finds defective building work that did not appear on the required defects report can make a claim against you for breach of statutory warranties. If the defective work was carried out by a registered building practitioner, then you may have a claim against that practitioner.