Selling Your Home? This Report is Crucial for Owner Builders

The property market in Melbourne is highly-charged at the moment, with the median house price now tipping the million dollar mark.

If you’re selling, you will probably already have your to-do list in order – find a reputable real estate agent, arrange photography, spruce up the garden, lock in an auction date.

If you have completed construction, renovations, alterations, extensions or other applicable repairs and improvements in the preceding six and a half years, you may be an owner builder.

If so, you also need to provide an Owner Builder Defects (137b) Report as part of your Section 32 documentation.

This report is a legal requirement and must be no older than six months at the time the property is sold.

Failing to supply it can give your buyer grounds to withdraw from the sale without penalty.

Am I an Owner Builder?

An owner builder is someone who constructs or renovates a building on his or her own land and who is NOT in the business of building.

Your rights and responsibilities as an owner builder are governed by the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 and the Building Act 1993. A full explanation of these is outlined Owner Builders section of the VBA website . Additional information can also be found on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website under the Home, Housing, Building and Renovating page: .

What Else Do I Need?

If the value of the works exceeds $16,000 (both materials and labour) you also need to provide domestic building insurance (previously called builder’s warranty insurance). This should be provided to you by the tradespeople who carry out the works before you make any payment.

This insurance protects your buyer in the even that the builder dies, becomes insolvent or cannot be located. It covers costs up to $300,000 to fix structural defects for six years, and non-structural defects for two years.

If you have completed the works yourself, you will need an Owner Builder Defects Report as part of your application for this cover.

Who Can Carry Out an Owner Builder Defects Report Inspection?

Only a registered building practitioner with the right knowledge such as a building surveyor, architect, structural engineer or draftsperson should carry out this type of inspection. Before engaging anyone to prepare this report, check their qualifications on the VBA’s Find A Practitioner website.

Vendors, do your due diligence when it comes to Owner Builder defects reports and rest easy knowing you have your legal requirements covered.


Submitted by The Home Inspection Hub, Melbourne Autumn Home Show 2022, Stand J39.