Owner-builder FAQs

Acceptable owner-builder projects must relate to single domestic dwellings, and include:

  • the construction of single residential dwellings
  • alterations renovations and additions to single dwellings
  • swimming pools and outdoor spas
  • retaining walls
  • fences
  • masts
  • pergolas
  • al fresco
  • sheds
  • garages and carports.

You cannot perform demolition work or subfloor work. Owner-builders are not permitted to work on the relocation of a home, which would include stumping or subfloor work. However, completion of work to an already relocated home where the subfloor work has been completed is acceptable.

You will have to get a certificate of consent to be an owner-builder if you intend to do building work on your own land that is outside the scope of work authorised for your category or class of registration.

If your registration authorises you to carry out the work you plan to do, you do not need a certificate of consent to be an owner-builder.

If you are a registered architect with the Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV), you do not require a certificate of consent to apply for a building permit as an owner-builder.

It will take approximately 28 calendar days to process an application for a certificate of consent if all the required information is provided. To help with the speedy processing of your application, make sure all required documentation is provided at the time you are submitting your application.

  • An alteration is a change to a building's internal or external appearance, function or capacity. It may involve a decrease or increase in floor area.
  • A renovation is a building project involving extensive building work, change of appearance and function within the footprint of the existing building.
  • An addition to a building enlarges its covered floor area.

You may contact the Land Titles Office on (03) 9194 0601 or order your Register Search Statement online at www.land.vic.gov.au. The Certificate of Title/Register Search Statement you provide must be dated within seven days of the date of your owner-builder application.

Note: A transfer of land statement, bank mortgage information or letter from a solicitor is not sufficient and won't be accepted.

This is the estimated cost if you were to engage a registered building practitioner, including all labour, materials and GST. Your building surveyor can check your estimated costs for accuracy.

Construction induction training must be completed with a registered training organisation (RTO). Contact WorkSafe Victoria to find out which registered training organisations are recognised.

No. We do not accept a Statement of Attainment as evidence. Contact WorkSafe Victoria for training and white card information.

Yes – we will accept a current construction induction card issued by an equivalent Worksafe counterpart.

Red cards were issued before 1 July 2008. We will not accept red cards because our policy regarding owner-builders' knowledge of their responsibilities requires applicants to have up-to-date training based upon current learning modules. Applicants who hold a red card may be able to apply to an RTO for conversion of the red card into a white card. See WorkSafe for more information.

You can pay fees via VBA360 with a credit or debit card. The VBA uses a Westpac payment gateway, which is a secure banking platform.

VBA360 is a fast and simple way to submit your owner-builder application. It is an online portal enabling real-time processing, management and tracking of your owner-builder application. You will need to create an account with VBA360 to complete an owner-builder application. Make sure the details you use to create your account, such as date of birth and address, match the details you used when you created your eLearning account.

VBA360 allows you to check the progress of your own application. Different stages of the application process include:

  1. Allocation: Your application has been received and is waiting to be assessed.
  2. Assessment: Your application is being assessed by an owner-builder officer.
  3. Recommendation: The owner-builder officer has finished assessing your application and made their recommendation to the owner-builder manager.
  4. Decision: Your application is with the owner-builder manager and is awaiting final review. You will have a response soon.

In the Description of work section in the application form, you need to select the building project(s) that you plan to do. But first you need to select from the category types on display – the different acceptable owner-builder building projects will then be displayed within the relevant category. The categories to choose from include:

  • new single dwelling (not a relocatable home)
  • conversion of an existing building into a home
  • building works to an existing home
  • non-habitable structures (related to a single dwelling, dependent person’s unit, bungalow or studio).

You may need to click on the different combinations listed to find the correct proposed building works before making your final selection.

  • If you are planning to build a deck, balcony, verandah or al fresco, these building works will only appear once you select 'Building Works to an Existing Home'.
  • If you are planning to build a shed, garage or swimming pool, these building works are ‘Non-Habitable structures related to a single dwelling’ and will only appear if the proposed building works is on non-vacant land or part of the construction of a new single dwelling.

You have the option to select more than project within a category, one combination as illustrated below.

image of the VBA360 application screen where the categories are listed

If the planned project is not displayed on the form, it could be that this project is not an acceptable project for an owner-builder (e.g. demolition work, subfloor work, or it does not relate to a domestic building).

Or it could be that the description of work is too specific. For instance, it is not necessary to state 'rumpus room' or 'sewing room' when 'Addition to an existing home' would describe the project.

An owner-builder project must relate to the carrying out of domestic building work in relation to, or ancillary to, a single dwelling. This means a home must already exist on the property, or it must be being built as part of the same project. So a shed on vacant land is not an acceptable owner-builder project.

A habitable structure is a building intended for people to live in. In the case of owner-builders, a habitable structure is a single, domestic dwelling.

Class 10 buildings are non-habitable buildings or structures and include three sub classifications:

  • Class 10a is a non-habitable building e.g. sheds, carports, and private garages.
  • Class 10b is a structure such as a fence, mast, retaining wall, swimming pool.
  • Class 10c is a private bushfire shelter. A private bushfire shelter is a structure associated with, but not attached to, a Class 1a building.

If we do not issue you with a certificate of consent to act as an owner-builder, it means your application was refused because it failed to meet all or part of the requirements in Section 25 of the Building Act 1993.

You have the right to appeal this decision directly at the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) within 60 days from the date of the decision letter. For more information, visit the VCAT website.

A certificate of consent is valid for:

  • 12 months from the date of issue, or
  • if a building permit is obtained, until the permit lapses.