Self Build Vs Registered Builder

We simply are All About HOUSES.

While financing your project is a major component of house building, financing the project is considered under the financing section. This section covers only the process of 'building'.

Thanks to intergovernmental agreements, the process of building a house in Australia is, as much as politics will accommodate, a relatively uniform process throughout the country. The information on this page, while general in nature, is a useful guide to building houses, no matter in which State you choose to do it.

In building a new house you have two options.
They are:
Option A - Have a selected building design constructed by an independent party (often referred to as the Registered Builder) and delivered into your possession upon completion. - Commonly referred to as Contract Built ; or

Option B - Take responsibility for the construction of the building yourself. - Commonly referred to Owner Build.

Contract Built

If you select Contract Built all you need do is go through the process of-

you are done.

Owner Build

If you select Owner Build you now have a whole plethora of sub options available to you. However before we can enter into a discussion of these sub options it is essential that we consider the task components required to build a house.

These components are:
Building Design
• Lawful Approval
• Lawful Construction
• Project Management
• Financial Management

Let's now look at each of these components in more detail

Building Design

Designing the house you wish to build can be as simple as selecting one of the plethora of predesigned homes that abound in design and draft organisations. Purchase the copyright of the design and proceed to the next stage of the process;
It can be as complex as undertaking
• the architectural process; (determining the form and style of the building).
• the type of construction materials; (applicability and performance)
• the delivery of essential services;
• engaging the necessary professional engineering support; (to ensure that your design can be erected so as to conforms to statutory engineering standards - necessary for Lawful Approval).

Or anywhere in between.

A competent design process must accommodate consideration of the relevant site for both:
foundation design; and
• environmental exposures, such as
        o - wind;
        o - fire;
         o - flooding;
         o - seismic;
consideration of the building design relevant to
footprint size
energy conservation.
fixtures and fitting
surface finishes
essential services of
         o - drinking water
        o - storm water
        o - sewerage
         o - energy
        o - communications
        o - transport access
Thankfully at present in Australia we don't yet have to consider conflict protection support designing (Wars and terrorism)

Lawful Approval

No matter where you build a house in Australia you will be required by law to have a development permit issued to lawfully allow construction to commence. To obtain the development permit you will be required to make an application and support that application with sufficient documentation to have your Building Design checked against the current statutory performance standards and approved.

The development process is most likely to contain a component of statutory planning approvals as well as building standards.

Building a house is not a lawful right on all land in Australia and besides prohibiting house construction on certain lands, planning provisions may well require the adoption of particular styles, types of materials or even external colours, along with site coverage and positioning - but to mention a few.

Lawful Construction

No matter where you build a house in Australia the law will regulate the process of construction.

These laws will prescribe requirements as to:
• the individuals that may undertake the practical process; (Owner Builder or Registered Contractor);
• impose obligations in relation to:
         o - workplace health and safety
        o - environmental impacts and protection.
         o - Resale of the land

Project Management

A successful outcome of the process of building a house requires the application of project management skills.

House construction requires:
material and services procurement and delivery;
site management;
coordinating and monitoring a number of building trades;
engaging regulatory oversight;
management of cash flow.

Financial Management

A successful completion of the process of building a house requires the construction be completed within budget.

This will require:
• Competent cost accounting practices.
• Allocating a contingency fund.
Coordinated arrangements with funding institutions for timely access to funds.(Unless of course you have the total funds required available as cash perhaps in a box under your bed)

Owner Build - Sub Options

In an Owner Build, while contractors you engage will have their own independent responsibility for the delivery of their services, in the final analysis you will have ultimate responsibility for the completed project.

Starting at the least demanding and progressing to the most demanding.

Sub Option 1.- ALL Independent Sub Contractors
Under this option you simply adopt all the risk inherent in the process of constructing a new house but you contract out ALL the particular components of the building process outlined above.

On the flipside however you will have significant control and day to day input into the performance of the work and the quality of the materials utilised. Whether this is a plus or minus for this option, entirely depends upon personal capabilities. It is recognised that a person undertaking an activity for their own benefit is much more applied to the matter at hand. However technical competence is also a component and commitment of itself will not overcome shortcomings in this department.

This is as close as you can get to Contract Built option.

Generally this option will cost less than the Contract Built option but the savings are offset by the adoption of the risk that would have be carried by the Regsitered Builder. Under a Contract Build, should things go pear shape or you discover that your project management skills were not as comprehensive as you had estimated you will be left with recovery process and costs.

Sub Option 2. - SOME Independent Sub Contractors
Under this option you contract out the particular categories that are components of the new house building process outlined above that you determine are outside your skill set but retain those categories where you would like to inject your practical skills and energies into the construction process.

This is perhaps the most popular Owner Build process for building houses.

Undertaking this process, the most common cause of problems are from owner builders over estimating their capabilities and underestimating, mainly due to ignorance, the complexity of the process.

The level of savings for this sub option are even greater than sub option 1 but again the trade-off is the acceptance of higher levels of risk from either the ability of the owner builder to perform and/or the financial consequences of failure.

Sub Option 3. - LITTLE Independent Sub Contractors
Under this option you embed yourself physically into the day to day activity of the majority of the planning and practical construction work, engaging only those subcontractors to undertake work for which there is a regulatory impediment upon you so doing.

The level of savings for this sub option are greater than sub options 1 or 2 but offcourse this saving is just a reflection of the ever increasing amount of risk plus the rate of return on the physical energy invested in the project.

Sub Option 4. - MIX and MATCH
This option is a blending, in various proportions, of the other three sub options. It is the delivery of your own particular mix of, injecting yourself physically into the day to day activity of planning and practical construction work and the number of subcontractors you call upon to undertake work that you cannot (by skill set or law) or do not want to deliver

The level of savings for this sub option are mixed and depend upon a range of factors, which we will attempt to address as we progress.

My life's observation is that this option tend to be more favoured by younger adults usually in the throes of starting or having just acquired a young family and almost unanimously avoided by the older and I suspect somewhat more experienced segment of Australian home owner builders.


Some examples: of Cobb1 and Mud plus Estimation and Plastic bottles and then Rammed earth and also stairs and straw bale and insulation info


Enjoy All About HOUSES

Tell a Friend Home

Ways you can share the benefits of this site with your friends and the community.

Blog Home

Read articles and comments on topical matters related to houses, leave a tip or make a knowledge contribution.

Register Home

Tap into the huge knowledge base and oppertunity for commercial benefits offered FREE by this site to members