How to be a home owner builder in the Illawarra NSW.

Helpful Info

January 13, 2022

Building a home is an expensive time and we’re always looking for ways to save some money. For many, becoming an owner builder is a great way to keep a close eye on your project, from both the build and financial perspectives. It might sound like an easy solution, but it’s good to weigh up the risks and rewards before jumping into owner builder mode.


Means any work, including supervision and coordination of the construction, alterations, repairs or additions to a property. Only the owner(s) on the property title can be an owner builder.

Four things to consider as an owner builder



Juggling a full-time day job in addition to your building project doesn’t leave many hours left in the day! You’ll need to understand who needs to be on-site for each stage of the project and manage your trades’ relationships. You’re the key decision-maker – so expect to be on call 24/7 for the whole period of your project!

Example: Kitchen reno? You could have up to five trades working on-site at the same time: plumber, joiner/carpenter, electrician, tiler and painter.



We’ve all been inspired by reality TV renovation shows, but for those in the know, you might have spotted some things that aren’t to Australian Code! Bad news. Remember that as the owner builder, legally, all responsibility falls on you. It pays to have knowledgeable trades helping you throughout your build – get good advice from the start, do it right the first time and avoid any rework after the build.

 Example: We all hate stubbing our toes on the bathroom floor tiles that stick out in the doorway – did you consider dropping your floor to avoid this? Experienced trades can identify small issues that can make a big difference in the outcome of your project.



Everyone’s doing it, so it must be easy, right? Not so fast! You’ll have a head start if you’ve got experience in the building industry, you understand the building process and have strong connections with trades. It pays to be in the know.



Building and budgets go hand in hand, and there are a few things to keep in mind. How are you planning to finance your build? Often it can be harder to get a bank loan because banks see owner builders as having a higher risk. Banks typically only lend around 60% of an owner builder project cost and 80% for a project through a builder. This means you will need to have more cash flow available for your project.

Did you know? Only one owner builder permit can be issued within any five-year period unless the application and any earlier permit relate to the same land or special circumstances exist.


Traits of a great owner builder 

A home that you’ve built yourself is no mean feat, so the rewards and satisfaction are obvious. Ultimately, it’s you who knows best whether you have the right qualities to make a great owner builder:

1. Multiple connections with trades – and hopefully get some mates rates!

2. You have time and energy to manage your whole build

3. Great people and negotiation skills

4. Excellent time and budget management skills

5. Willingness to learn on the job or you have building experience


Becoming an Owner Builder

Apply For Owner Builder Permit

Owner Builder self-assessment tool

Owner Builder fact sheet






take the first step

Ready to turn your home
into a

place you love

Your Forever Home holistically imagined, designed and approved.


Your Forever Home holistically imagined, designed and approved.