When council is the Principal Certifying Authority (PCA)
Prior to commencing any works the applicant must appoint a Principal Certifying Authority (PCA).
The Council as a PCA Fact Sheet outlines the obligations of council, owners, builders and applicants when council has been nominated as the PCA.
Becoming an owner builder
If work is not undertaken by a licensed builder, an owner builder permit is required. An owner builder is an individual who does owner builder work and holds a permit for that work under the authority of a permit issued by NSW Fair Trading.
Owner builder work is any work (including supervision and co-ordination) involved in the construction, alteration, repair or addition to a dwelling (which includes a house, terrace, townhouse, garage, swimming pool and certain other structures and improvements).
To get an owner builder permit, a completed owner builder permit application must be lodged with the Office of Fair Trading and show that the owner builder:
- Is over 18 years old;
- Owns the land or has a prescribed interest in the land (certificate of title or rate notice); and
- Lives or intends to live in the completed home or one dwelling of the dual occupancy as their principal residence.
The following must also be provided:
- A description and address of the proposed work with a copy of the plans and council development application number or complying development certificate number;
- The owner builder permit fee (visit the Office of Fair Trading website for a schedule of fees); and
- Where the value of the proposed work is over $20,000, evidence that the owner builder has either completed the approved owner builder course, or can satisfy the approved equivalent qualifications.
All property owners should be wary of any builder who suggests that the property owner obtain an owner builder permit while the builder will do all the building work. This may indicate the builder is avoiding responsibility, is unlicensed, or is unable to obtain the appropriate insurance.
The Office of Fair Trading provides Online Services including the facility to check that the licence of a builder or tradesperson is current, valid and suitable for the work to be done. All property owners should always do a licence check before entering into a contract with a builder or tradesperson, and only deal with licensed builders and/or tradespersons.
Further details on becoming an owner builder can be obtained from the Office of Fair Trading website.
Home warranty insurance
Home warranty insurance is required to be obtained where the contract price is over $20,000 or, if the contract price is not known, the reasonable market cost of the labour and materials involved is over $20,000.
Home warranty insurance needs to be provided by:
- A builder or tradesperson before taking any money (including a deposit) from a home owner (including an owner builder) under a residential building contract and before starting any work under that contract;
- A speculation (spec) and/or project home builder before starting any residential building work on a property owned by the builder;
- A developer before entering into a contract for the sale of a property on which a builder is doing or has done residential building work for the developer; or
- An owner builder (i.e. a home owner who did owner builder work under an owner builder permit) before entering into a contract for sale of the property on which residential building was done within the previous six years.
Each licensed contractor (builder, tradesperson or project manager) who contracts with an owner builder to undertake residential building works exceeding $20,000 will need to obtain home warranty insurance from an approved insurance provider for their part of the work.
Contractors who carry out residential building work must still hold an appropriate licence with Fair Trading where the labour and materials involved are valued at over $1,000.
Persons who contract and/or carry out specialist work (i.e. electrical wiring, plumbing, gas-fitting, air-conditioning and refrigeration) require a licence regardless of the value of the work.