DIY and owner builders

You might be tempted to perform "do-it-yourself" renovations to save some money, maintain greater control over the project, or just for the satisfaction of completing the project yourself. Before you commit to a DIY renovation, think carefully, as there are a number of pitfalls for the inexperienced.

Master Builders recommends you always use a suitably licensed, qualified and experienced building professional for any building work.

If you do undertake DIY work as an Owner builder here are a few things to consider:

  • Only certain types of work can be completed under an Owner builder permit. You can build or renovate your house or build ancillary structures, such as decks, pergolas or carports (provided the building work is on your main home or ancillary to it).
  • You are not able to build or install a swimming pool, demolish a building, handle asbestos or perform work on a commercial building. You are not able to build a secondary residence or dual occupancy unit under an Owner builder licence.
  • You can only perform work as an Owner builder on land that you own.
  • You will need to apply for an Owner builder license. Further information about how to apply for a license is available at There are minimum qualification requirements that you will need to meet.
  • You will still need to obtain Building approval and Development approvals (if necessary).

Finally, if you embark on a DIY project, remember that safety should be your number one priority. Further information about safety on building sites is available from the Access Canberra WorkSafe ACT web site here.