If the idea of controlling materials, trades and design decisions appeals, or you are looking to build or renovate using a product that differs from the norm, owner-building may just be the answer.
It is, however, easy to be lulled into a false sense of security regarding the workload involved in construction, or what a day on site really looks like, by watching a season of The Block
or House Rules.
The simple fact is owner-building can be every bit as challenging as it is rewarding, and the decision to embark on the journey is not one to be taken lightly. Nor should it be undertaken without extensive research into what’s involved, to avoid becoming unstuck part way through a project.
The one-day Home Base Owner-Builder course is designed to introduce potential owner-builders to the process. The course is complemented by the Owner-Builder Support Network (OBSN), the only network of its kind in Australia. Together, these two offerings have the potential to create a well-informed and successful owner-builder.
Course presenter David Uhe, a retired architect and builder, says it is important not to jump start into building as there is a strict application process to follow.
“Owner-builders have to be registered with Building and Energy before they can apply to their local government for a building permit,” he says.
The Home Base course, held every six weeks, is a first-look at this application process and the responsibilities of an owner-builder. It offers plenty of advice and insight into the construction process itself.
Upon completion, attendees are issued with a certificate that can be used as part of their application to the Building Commission, demonstrating a sound understanding of the processes involved in owner-building in WA.
David says the most common mistakes made by owner-builders are underestimating the time that construction takes, running out of funds and requiring additional finance, and not being prepared with quality documentation as prepared by qualified professionals.
After completing the course, owner-builders may then choose to join the OBSN to use the various services on offer. Support services and features include three building inspections, educational site visits, a project scheduling consultation, a plumbing and electrical consult, access to a recommended trades and services list, discounts from selected suppliers and more.
Home Base OBSN coordinator Megan Waru says that personal development and overcoming the feeling of being alone in the journey are two additional benefits of having access to such an initiative.
“There are hundreds of owner-builders in all shapes and forms,” she says. “Being part of a network removes the isolation factor and leads you to the opportunity to learn from one another’s experiences. That sharing with like-minded owner-builders is part of the journey. It provides a way forward from mistakes and words of wisdom are always welcomed for preventative action.
“The owner-builder journey is always a mix of highlights and lowlights but rest assured the experience is like no other and will provide you with a valuable skillset that you can overlay on both your professional and personal life.”
In addition to introducing potential owner-builders to the process and providing a range of services available to those in the Owner-Builder Support Network, Home Base also has an exclusive range of experts who provide products, services and advice for owner-builders to help them create their dream homes.