Home indemnity insurance and owner-builder requirements

Home indemnity insurance covers the home owner (and subsequent owners) for residential building work and loss of deposit should the builder die, disappear or become insolvent within six years from the date of practical completion of a new home.

If you are thinking about building your own home (owner-builder) or small commercial buildings, you are required to apply for an owner-builder approval. To obtain an owner-builder approval you must be the owner of the land. If the building work relates to a dwelling, you must reside, continue to reside or intend to reside on the land on which the building works is completed. In the case of commercial building work or a non-habitable building work you must intend to occupy or use the land when the owner-builder work is completed.

Owner-builder approvals can only be issued to individuals and not to corporate bodies or trusts.

Home indemnity insurance and owner-builder approval

All residential building work over $20,000 excluding swimming pools, fencing, pergolas or the like, must be covered by home indemnity insurance or an owner-builder approval.

Owner-builders can carry out the following types of building work on their property:

  • Construct a detached dwelling, including a granny flat
  • Carry out additions and alterations to an existing dwelling
  • Construct a non-habitable building such as a private garage, carport, shed or the like
  • Construct small commercial buildings – being a one or two storey building with a floor space of less than 500m2 that is not a detached house, Class 10 building or farm building

Further details on home indemnity insurance and owner builder approval can be found on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website..