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Department of Justice

Owner Builder Registration Process

Owner builder 7 steps

Owner builder

7 Steps to becoming an owner builder

  1. Develop your plans with an architect or accredited building designer and decide whether you want to become an owner builder.
  2. Take your completed plans to a building surveyor and tell them that you intend to be an owner builder.
  3. Book in and complete:
  4. Engage a Building Surveyor and complete an application form for an Owner Builder Permit. The application form is to be lodged at a Service Tasmania Shop with supporting documents (particularly insurance and training course certificates as evidence of having undertaken the owner builder course) and make the payment of the Owner Builder Permit fee.
  5. If approval of the application is granted, the Administrator of Occupational Licensing will issue a letter of confirmation (The Permit) with a permit number. The building surveyor will then issue you with a Certificate of Likely Compliance.
  6. You now need to apply for a building permit from your local council. You will need to include the following with your application for a building permit:
    • all design documents;
    • a copy of the approved letter for an Owner Builder Permit; and
    • the Certificate of Likely Compliance.
  7. Before you start building, you must provide your building surveyor with a Start Work notification form which you can download below or from your local Council.

Start Work Notification and Authorisation - Building Work Form (DOCX, 29.7 KB)

Owner Builder FAQ

Owner Builder FAQ from 1 January 2017

Are there new restrictions on work of owner builders?

Yes, the biggest change is that an owner builder permit will only be issued for work on a residential building (detached dwelling or a conjoined unit).  Permission won’t be issued for any work on commercial buildings.  Other changes include:

  • Only two owner builder projects are allowed in a ten-year period.  However those two projects could include two entirely new dwellings.
  • Owner builders cannot keep performing more work on what they have already constructed.  Each new building project must receive a new owner builder permit.
  • There is a fee for each owner builder permit (registration) issued.
  • Reintroducing owner builder insurance.  This insurance was discontinued in 2008 when Housing Indemnity Insurance ceased (this will only cover the work of the owner builder and is not re-introducing home-owner warranty insurance).
  • Fee and insurance requirements for owner builders will be the same as a licensed builder.

Does this affect farmers?

  • Farm sheds up to 72m2 will not require Owner Builder licences to be built.  Sheds to be constructed that are larger than this will need to be notified to councils.
  • The Government has also simplified the building approvals process for farm buildings, so there will be much less regulation that primary producers need to comply with.

Does this restrict “home handyman” projects?

  • Not at all, as smaller sheds and outbuildings (Low Risk Buildings) are already exempt from owner builder registration.
  • The Building Act 2016 further simplifies the building approvals process and will be of great benefit to homeowners and handypersons.  A homeowner will be able to build:
    • a shed, garage or carport up to 18m2, or up to 36m2 if prefabricated.
    • a porch or veranda up to 9m2, or a deck up to 1m high 
    • a temporary swimming pool up to 9m2 with a child safety fence
    • perform maintenance or repairs on a dwelling using similar materials as those replaced.

This and more may be done without needing council building approval.

What are other requirements of owner builders?

  • Limit of two projects in 10 years (this only covers work on habitable buildings).
  • Complete an owner builder awareness course (same as present)
  • Obtain a White Card for health and safety construction training (same as present)
  • Individual “natural” persons who own the land must be the applicants as property held in the name of a company cannot receive an owner builder permit (same as present).

Administration of owner builder permits:

  • Owner builder permits will be issued under the Occupational Licensing Act 2005.  That Act has been amended to allow these changes and the Building Act 2000 has been repealed.
  • The new Building Act 2016 contains no licensing or registration provisions.

Owner Builder Permits: True of False

The applicant must live in Tasmania
False.  Owner could live elsewhere

The owner must live in their owner builder residence
False.  No such requirement or any period of time to be resident

A Licensed Builder cannot be granted an owner builder permit
False.  No restriction on any persons licensed under the Occupational Licensing Act from also receiving an Owner Builder Permit.

Applicants must be owners registered on the title deeds
False, as a person who has signed a contract to buy land or a building is also classed as an “owner” under the Occupational Licensing Act.

Work on a residence (Class 1a), that is in the Notifiable or Permit Work categories, requires an Owner Builder Permit
True. In addition, work that might fall into the Notifiable category will still require a building permit if undertaken by an owner builder.

Any building work on a residence over $20,000 that requires an application for a Certificate of Likely Compliance needs an Owner Builder Permit

Registration required

Owner Builder Permit required

Under the Building Act 2016 there are only two ways for a landowner to engage in a building project which requires a certificate of Likely Compliance:

  1. contract with a licensed builder; or
  2. become an owner builder to manage or carry out the building work themselves.

The Occupational Licensing Act 2005 seeks to allow genuine owner builders to undertake building work and prevent people without the appropriate licence engaging in illegal building activities. Owner builders are limited to 2 building projects in 10 years.

A permit for owner builder will expire on the completion of the project. The Administrator of Occupational Licensing can cancel an owner builder permit if necessary – such as where an owner builder is in breach of the Permit conditions.

The owner builder permit allows a non-licensed person to perform the work of a licensed builder.

All building projects by owner builders also require a building permit from the local council. This permit relates to the actual building work and gives permission to build a particular project, once the designs have been assessed as likely to comply with national standards and Tasmanian legislation.

An owner builder has the same responsibilities as a licensed builder.

Apply for owner builder permit

Applying for an owner builder permit

  • Owner Builder Permits are issued under the Occupational Licensing Act 2005.
  • Only individual “natural” persons who own the land and premises may apply for an owner builder permit.
  • At least one owner must undertake the approved Tasmanian Owner Builder Training Course (mandatory from the 1 September 2013).  This course must be successfully completed within 12 months prior to the date of an owner builder permit application.
  • There are three Owner Builder Responsibilities approved courses.  Every applicant must also hold a Construction Induction card (White Card).
  • An applicant for an owner builder permit must have engaged a licensed building surveyor in respect of the work to be performed as an owner builder.
  • An applicant is to hold an insurance policy to provide indemnity in respect to personal and property damage caused by an occurrence in building work carried out or managed by the holder.
  • The insurance policy is to include construction liability cover for the damage to existing property where the owner builder permit holder has physical or legal control of premises.
  • The amount and period of insurance is to be not less than $5 million and is to be held prior to the commencement of any building works and is to continue until a Certificate of Completion (building work) is granted. An application for an owner builder permit is to be lodged at a Service Tasmania shop and the owner builder permit fee paid.
  • The Administrator of Occupational Licensing will check the applicant’s eligibility and if approved, will issue a permit.
  • A letter of approval with a permit number is issued to the approved applicant.

Download Application for Owner Builder Permit  (rtf, 4.1 MB)This form is for print purposes only

Download Application for Owner Builder Permit (pdf, 491.9 KB) This form can be completed online


Owner Builder Permit Fee: $372.00

Building start work notice

Before you start building

Lodge a Start Work notification form with the building surveyor and seek authorisation to start building work.

Start Work Notification and Authorisation - Building work form (DOCX, 65.3 KB)

You can commence work once you have received the following from your local council (Permit Authority):

  • a building permit;
  • plumbing permit; and
  • planning permit if required).

Earthmoving and excavations must not be started without the start work authorisation from the building surveyor.

Building surveyor

Building surveyor's role

The owner must engage a Building Surveyor and:

  • present plans and specifications for the proposed works;
  • make application for an owner builder registration certificate through the Building Surveyor; and
  • receive a Certificate of Likely Compliance from the Building Surveyor.

The owner is then required to apply for a building permit.

The owner must provide the Certificate of Likely Compliance, copies of the plans, specifications and title documents to the local council (Permit Authority) with the application.

The owner builder is required to notify the Building Surveyor at the mandatory notification stages throughout the building project, as identified in the Certificate of Likely Compliance and the Building Permit. The Building Surveyor will normally inspect the work at these stages and may inspect at any time.

Moving in

When can I move in?

  • The owner builder will need to complete and send an Application for An Occupancy Permit to the Building Surveyor. 
  • The Building Surveyor will assess if the critical works are completed (including smoke alarms, sanitation, and water supply) before issuing an Occupancy Permit. 
  • A copy of the permit will be sent to the local council (Permit Authority).

Tasmanian Approved courses

Tasmanian Approved Courses

Only Tasmanian approved courses are accepted for applicants wanting to be an owner builder.

ABE Education Pty Ltd

Absolute Education Pty Ltd

Whetstone Pty Ltd

Construction induction cards - training and how to get a white card