Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Owner Builder permit application form

Click on the following link for the QLD owner-builder permit application form

How can I apply for an Owner-Builder permit?

You will need to successfully complete the QLD Owner-builder approved course; The Course in Owner-Builder Compliance 39291QLD, before you can apply for your Owner-Builder Permit with the QBCC. Once you have successfully completed the course with ABE Education, you will be emailed a Statement of Attainment.

Take a printed version of your ABE Education Statement of Attainment (e-mailed to you upon successful completion of the course) together with a completed Owner-Builder Permit Application Form to your nearest QBCC Office.

What happens if I disagree with my assessment results?

The student handbook clearly outlines the assessment process. If you are unable to achieve a pass mark of competent on your first submission, you will be able to resubmit your work up to three (3) times. The student handbook also outlines the complaints and grievance process to undertake if you are still unsatisfied.

What certification will I receive when I finish the course?

When you have successfully completed this course you will receive a Statement of Attainment.

How are the courses delivered and assessed?

All courses are delivered completely on-line. Course notes are in the form of a PDF and divided into sections. Each section is followed by a quiz consisting of only multiple choice, short answer and match-type questions. These are automatically assessed once you have submitted all your answers. Once you achieve the required percentage pass rate, you will be assessed as competent.

What if I get the questions wrong?

If you do not achieve the minimum percentage required for each module you will be provided with 3 opportunities to resubmit your incorrect answers. If you fail more than three times you may be subject to a re-enrolment fee.

How Secure is it to buy on line from ABE Education?

We are very very careful with your information! We use eWay payment gateway which has SSL technology to securely process your credit card details and at no time is this information stored on our servers. eWay payment gateway will encrypt and process your payment securely online.

What will I learn in this course?

The ABE Education course will help you to develop the skills and knowledge you need to confidently and successfully undertake day-to-day owner-builder activities, including how to;

manage, oversee and supervise the construction of a new residence, or the renovation/refurbishment of an existing residence;
apply for and obtain necessary council and authority approvals;
undertake designated work tasks with basic Work Health and Safety (WHS) knowledge and ensure a safe work environment that complies legislative requirements;
order materials, resources, equipment and management for the building site;
achieve basic reading and interpretation of plans and specifications commonly used in the construction industry;
read, interpret and implement a contract specific to the proposed building work for an Owner Builder project;
prioritise work tasks and organise time and resources to undertake given tasks effectively;
and communicate effectively as part of routine construction work

Will the ABE Education course teach me how to use hand tools or power tools to build my project?

No, the course is not a practical training course, the emphasis is on your legal and contractual obligations and responsibilities and the administrative functions required of an Owner Builder such as:

  • Project Management
  • Finance Administration
  • Contract Requirements
  • Scheduling
  • Insurance

Where should I go to find out more information about becoming an owner builder?

The owner-building industry is regulated by the QLD Building & Construction Commission (QBCC). To find out more about owner-builder requirements visit their website

Reconcile the vision before you start spending. Are you doing '60s? Hippie? or minimalist?

Budget. Get real. You need to build in a 20% contingency and the ABE Education Project Advisory Pack Calculator automatically adds this onto all of your trade and costs as you insert them. Don't kid yourself that you won't need it. If you don't use it all, then terrific. You'll have cash to splash at the end.

Don't rush to act. The reason amateur renovators make costly mistakes is they believe they have to do it all very quickly. You are not efficient when you rush.

Set priorities. You will always want to do more than you can. It is therefore useful to work out what is
(a) essential;
(b) optional;
(c) desirable.
It is also useful to work out the scope of what you can do so you can ask what options might be deleted or downgraded [in the short term]. The whole process is to make it all easier.

Divvy up the roles between yourself and partner so as to define who is specialising in what aspect of the build project'. One manages the budget and the timelines, the other might source the materials.

Power of veto is another handy tool in the minutiae of negotiations that go into renewing a shared home. If you disagree, then try to compromise. And if one partner really wants a particular feature and the other hates the very idea of it? 'you both have to have the right to say, 'No. Absolutely not!'

We suggest limiting veto power to perhaps three times and further that they can be traded as compromises.

This causes you to choose very carefully and forces you to keep thinking, looking and working until you find something that you are both happy with.

Don't expect no problems. Renovation fatigue is real however if you work through these conversations regularly, you might not only build a new house but a new relationship!

How to surmount this obstacle?

Planning and a cohesive vision start with your vision statement what is the [visual] theme of your house going to be? In a country house, you might start with a Japanese theme. In a [1860 bluestone] city house you might consider old meets new and, in a neutral colour scheme and give a signature colour to each room.

Develop a mood board so as not to become one of the many people who start with the taps, the carpet colour and the material for the curtains and they just end up being overwhelmed by choice.

First, figure out your overarching theme and develop the mood board pasted with samples, colours and room photographs. Get lots of samples for your mood board and make it an interesting exercise so that you and your partner can agree before you start spending money.

How can I make my renovation a success?

House renovations rank in the top 10 stressful life events. It happens through the collision of having a fantasy that a new house is going to give you a better life and the fact that you are spending a truckload of money.

As anyone who has lived to tell the tale knows, it also brings pressure to make fast, mostly irreversible, decisions. There is the din and disruption of building and builders and compromised personal space, whether living amid the wood shavings or renting something small in the meantime because renovating can be highly stressful Reality reno-television relies on the emotional drama of the process to maintain interest in the shows, which rate through the roof. And, just as "factual" bricks-and-mortar programming focuses on the mood fluxes and problem-solving skills of participants, renovation stress can affect marital or de facto relationships.

Renovation stress can mean trouble for a relationship because it comes on top of everything else that is happening in your life. It may sound obvious but it all starts with good planning the planning of 'what' and 'how'. So many people do not do good planning.

Poor planning that leads to amplified stress can magnify all sorts of existing issues in a relationship.

When we're stressed we resort to old, sometimes toxic habits. The veneer of 'nice' disappears and the control freak comes screaming out of the closet as a critic and judge. The procrastinator will pro-crastinate even more.

Can a Company or Charity (who owns the property) apply for an Owner-Builder permit?

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

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

Where a company is making application for a permit the following applies:

The application should be made by the company and MUST contain all director's names and signatures.

One of the directors must complete the Owner-Builder Course or be granted an exemption from having to undertake the course.

Proof of the company's directors must be provided in the form of an Australian Securities and Investment Commission Current Company Extract or an Historical Company Extract

How long will the Queensland Building & Construction Commission (QBCC) take to process my application?

Once you have submitted your application, you will need to allow for at least four (4) weeks processing time before you receive your owner-builder permit from the QBCC.

Can I obtain an exemption from completing the prescribed Owner-Builder course?

To be eligible for an exemption, you will be required to fit into a particular category outlined by the QBCC. For more information on whether you qualify for an exemption from completing the Owner-Builder course, please see the How to Obtain An Exemption Fact Sheet

What documents do I need to provide to the Queensland Building & Construction Commission (QBCC)?

To apply for an owner builder permit with the QBCC you must provide the following:-

  • A completed application form signed by all owners or company directors;
  • Payment of the application fee;
  • An original or certified copy of a Current Title Search or Registration Confirmation Statement no older than 30 days;
  • Proof of Identity;
  • Proof of a completed Owner Builder Course (i.e. a copy of your ABE Education Statement of Attainment)

You may submit your application in person at your nearest QBCC or you may also mail in your application.

A list of QBCC locations and mailing addresses can be found on their website - http://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/locate-office

Can I take out QBCC home warranty insurance?

No - Owner-Builders have no access to QBCC's Home Warranty Scheme. Work carried out as an owner builder is exempt from the definition of residential construction work and is therefore not insurable by QBCC.

Any licensed contractor engaged to perform work as detailed in the permit is NOT required to pay a premium to QBCC.

A licensed contractor engaged to perform work that is not detailed on the permit IS required to pay a premium to QBCC where it falls under the definition of insurable work - click here for more information.

You will not be covered by QBCC for payment under the scheme where a contractor fails to complete the building work for reasons that are not your fault, defects are not rectified or the building suffers from the effects of subsidence or settlement.

Do you offer any other services, products or assistance to Owner-Builders?

Yes, we are always working to expand our range of services for our owner-builder students.

Our students have access to a range of support and services some free of charge and others on a fee for service basis to assist them throughout their project.

These services and products include:

  • Project Advisory Pack & Project Budget Calculator (Pdf)
  • Owner Builder Insurance
  • Owner Builder Finance
  • General Site Safety Induction Training (Queensland)

Can I obtain another copy of my permit if the original is lost?

Yes - Complete and return the Owner-Builder Replacement Permit form with the required fee.

Can a permit be transferred to another person or property?

No - Permits cannot be transferred. The original permit must be surrendered (if not used) and a new permit applied for.

What about subsequent purchasers of a property with Owner-Builder work?

So long as a property is offered for sale within 6 years after the completion of building work performed under an Owner-Builder permit, the vendor (regardless of whether that vendor was the Owner-Builder permit holder or not) needs to supply this notice of warning to any prospective purchaser in compliance with Section 47(1) of the Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991.

Should a defect be discovered in the property, QBCC advises the purchaser seek independent legal advice for interpretation of Section 47(2) of the Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991 with regards to warranties.

What obligation do I have when selling the property on which Owner-Builder work was completed?

Where you sell your property within six years of the completion of your owner builder work you must, BEFORE signing any contract of sale, provide the prospective purchaser a written notice.

The notice should contain the following:

  • Details of the domestic building work performed
  • The name of the person (permit holder) who performed the work
  • A statement confirming the work was performed under an owner-builder permit

Supply the following notice - "Warning - The building work to which this notice relates is not covered by insurance under the Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991".

The notice must be given in duplicate and the purchaser must sign one of the copies and return it to you on, or before, signing of the contract.

What if I have completed the work but did not hold a permit?

You will need to complete and return an Application for Notification of Owner-Builder Work Already Completed form and supply the following:

  • Current Title Search (no older than 30 days)
  • Payment of $38.10 to cover costs involved for placing notification on Title
  • Where the applicant is a company - current ASIC report

A permit cannot be issued once the building work is complete. On receipt of the required documentation QBCC will issue a letter that enables you to apply for development approval for the completed construction. The letter also serves as notice to the Development Assessment Manager that no insurance premium is payable on the work and development assessment can proceed. You will also receive a fine for breaching s42 of the Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991.

Can I cancel or surrender my Owner-Builder permit?

If you have taken out your permit and do not proceed, you will need to have the permit officially cancelled by the QBCC.

You can only request to surrender an owner-builder permit if NO work has been performed under the permit.

An owner-builder permit cannot be surrendered if any part of the work on the permit has been performed.

This would include the situation where part of the work on the permit has been performed, but that value of the work performed is under $11,000.

If you decide to enter into a contract with a licensed building contractor to carry out the work, the permit MUST be surrendered PRIOR to signing the contract with the builder.

A permit can be surrendered where:

Building approval has been obtained and cancelled - provide a copy of written confirmation from the building certifier confirming the cancellation of the approval.

No building approval has been obtained - provide a copy of a current council search or letter from your solicitor confirming 'vacant land status' on the property OR supply a photograph of the property, which provides evidence no work has been carried out under the permit.

To surrender the permit, you must give written notice to QBCC and return the permit. You will be required to complete and return (along with all requested documentation) an Application to Surrender an Owner Builder-Permit form. Note - A refund of 50% of the application fee only applies to permits surrendered within six months of the date of issue.

If you complete a course but do not apply for and take out the permit, the course remains valid however, you will need to check with QBCC before proceeding to make certain of any subsequent changes to legislation.

How often can I apply for an Owner-Builder permit?

You will need to successfully complete the QLD Owner-builder approved course; The Course in Owner-Builder Compliance 39291QLD, before you can apply for your Owner-Builder Permit with the QBCC. Once you have successfully completed the course with ABE Education, you will be emailed a Statement of Attainment.

Take a printed version of your ABE Education Statement of Attainment (e-mailed to you upon successful completion of the course) together with a completed Owner-Builder Permit Application Form to your nearest QBCC Office.

Can I make a change to my Owner-Builder permit?

Where you may have forgotten to include work in the original permit or if there are changes to the plan (before or during construction) you can change the description of work or the value of work provided it is within six months from the date of issue of the permit. You will be required to complete and return an Application to Amend an Existing Owner-Builder Permit form.

Can someone holding an enduring power of attorney on behalf of a property owner apply for an Owner-Builder permit?

Yes. Contact the QBCC on 1300 272 272 for more information.

Can I renovate my apartment using an Owner-Builder permit?

Yes where you wish to perform or coordinate building work where the reasonable market cost of the labour and materials exceeds $11,000.

My elderly mum owns the property so can I (her son) apply for an Owner-Builder permit on her behalf?

NO. Only persons who own the land on which the work is to be undertaken can apply for an Owner- Builder permit. However there is nothing to prevent your elderly mother obtaining her permit (via on-line training) and that you assist in organising and running the building project with her.

Can I do all works myself?

No, there are certain areas that must be carried out by suitably qualified and or appropriately licensed persons.

The following are the trades that can only be undertaken by appropriately qualified persons:

  • Design
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Drainage
  • Gas fitting
  • Waterproofing
  • Pest – termite proofing

There are other areas that we strongly recommend that you do not attempt yourself unless you have considerable experience and or relevant qualifications or assistance:

  • Roofing
  • Bricklaying
  • Concreting
  • Rendering and internal linings

As with most things, you need to realistically assess your own capability, sometimes, hiring a building consultant to provide guidance and advice can be a cost effective solution.
Always refer to and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

What types of work are not covered by an Owner-Builder permit?

The permit must be for a building used for residential purposes only. A permit will not be issued for construction or renovation of multiple dwellings, commercial premises (e.g. duplexes, boarding houses, shops, industrial buildings, shops, farm buildings etc). Where the work is to be carried out on a farm building please contact QBCC as in certain circumstances this work may be exempt from the requirement to be carried out by a licensed person.

What can I build with my Owner-Builder permit?

An owner-builder permit allows an individual who is not in the business of building to construct a single domestic dwelling for their own use. You must state all works to be carried out under the permit and if there is any change to this you must notify the QBCC.

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

  • Undertaking a new house construction
  • Renovation or Alteration to an existing dwelling
  • Extension or addition to an existing dwelling
  • Constructing a garage, carport or domestic shed
  • Swimming pools
  • Pergolas, entertainment areas

This list is not exhaustive.

There is no upper building cost limitation for an owner-builder permit, a number have undertaken projects to the value of $3 million.

When is an Owner-Builder permit required?

It is a requirement under the Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991 that if you wish to perform or coordinate domestic building work on your property for a single project of a value of $11,000 or more you must hold an owner-builder permit. An owner-builder permit is only issued by QBCC.

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

Are there any exemptions from this 6 year rule?

In exceptional circumstances, QBCC may be able to grant a second permit within a 6 year timeframe. Exceptional circumstances could be if either you, or a person you are living with, is suffering from a serious medical condition or severe financial hardship and the work to be carried out would help.

If you are applying for another building permit within 6 years of obtaining the first permit you are required to apply for exemption from the 6-year ruling. You will need to complete and lodge an Application for Exemption from the Six-year Ruling form.

Can I apply for another building permit within 6 years of obtaining the first permit?

You are only entitled to one permit every 6 years!

Who should do this course?b

The course is designed for home/property owners intending to apply to become an owner-builder.

Owner Builder permit application form

Click on the following link for the QLD owner-builder permit application form

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