Building your own home is satisfying. It can even be fun! But it also comes with a whole lot of compliance. As an owner builder, it’s important you understand the rules around building permits to make sure you don’t put yourself at financial or legal risk. Under the Building Act 1993 (the Act) and Building Regulations 2006 (the Regulations), most building work is subject to the issuing of a building permit. There are some exceptions under the Regulations, however, it’s wise to check with your local council regarding the need for a permit.
Why a building permit?
A building permit not only grants you permission to carry out work set out in the permit, it also protects you as an owner builder. It ensures:
proper documentation for compliant construction
independent review of building documentation
independent inspected work at key stages of completion
independent assessment to ensure your building is suitable to be occupied.
Penalties without a permit
If you commence work without a building permit, you could end up with some huge penalties. Individuals may be fined 500 Penalty units, or about $77,700, as of 1 July 2016. That’s not only your budget out the window, but a serious setback and distress, as well.
Know what you’re signing
As an owner-builder, you’re responsible for ensuring all building work is authorised under your building permit, and that you comply with the Act and the Regulations. Otherwise, you may be subject to penalty amounts similar to those above. Know what you’re signing. Never sign a blank form authorising another person to obtain a permit on your behalf. Also ,avoid signing a building permit as an owner builder when another builder or tradesperson is doing the work: the builder may be unregistered, or unwilling to take legal responsibilities. Remember that when you take responsibility for someone else’s work, you also take the rap when things go wrong.
It’s not worth it.
Keep to the rules, and keep building your home; keep the satisfying experience you want it to be. For more helpful advice, contact us.
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