Can You Build It? Yes You (Still) Can!


Lashings of red tape–particularly changes to legislation–are rarely intriguing. But don’t be surprised if recent alterations to the Building Act have you raising your eyebrows.

If you are an owner-builder in Victoria – that is, if you’re undertaking domestic construction independent of a registered builder – these changes will affect you.

Spearheaded by The Victorian Building Authority (VBA), these revisions aim to improve the standard of domestic building works, and reduce claims on the all-important owner-builder insurance.

That sounds great on paper, but what are the changes and how can they impact you?

From 4th July 2016          

Offences and penalties

Conducting work without a permit, or breaching laws and regulations, will cop you a fine of 500 penalty units per offence. Each penalty unit is now $151.67.

Powers of VBA inspectors

 Inspectors can now enter owner-builder sites and:

  • Examine work
  • Request information
  • Request and copy documentation, including proof that you have owner-builder construction insurance

Directions to fix building work

There are 500 penalty units if you fail to follow a written direction, and 50 penalty units for compliance bribery.

From 1st September 2016

Abolition of Building Practitioners Board

The VBA has absorbed all functions and powers, including determination of owner-builder applications.

Builders cannot appoint private surveyors

It’s now an offence for builders to appoint a private surveyor for you.

Certificates of consent

  • Minimum works value have increased to $16,000
  • Budding owner-builders need to complete an eLearning assessment
  • Certificates are now limited to 1 every 5 years (although you can reapply for multiple extensions at the same property)
  • Certificates expire at 12 months if you haven’t used them to obtain a permit.

Owner-builder public register

The VBA’s public website now records owner-builder projects – that will include yours.

You can still build your dream home, but it’s important for you to be aware of these changes – especially to penalties, certificates, and inspection powers. So get informed, and get building.


For more information about these changes, as well as on a range of issues relevant to you as an owner-builder, go to

FD Beck Logo

Suite 18/296
Bay Road,
Cheltenham, VIC, 3192

Phone 03 9585 6377