Professional home builder or owner builder-what is best for my project?


So you’ve watched ‘The Block’ and now you’re inspired to renovate your home or maybe you even want to start afresh and build a new home. The ideas are flowing fast and you are excited and motivated to get started.


The 4 types of people who should never be “Owner-Builders”


Maybe you are considering becoming an owner-builder, but you aren’t sure if you have what it takes. There are 4 distinct types of people that are better suited to hiring a professional home builder rather than doing the project themselves.


    • The perpetually busy person: You know the type, life for this person is hectic, they live life to the max and never say no to an opportunity. Work life is demanding, plus endless family and social activities are vital to keep this person happy. They are at their most contented when everything is steaming along at a fast pace. The truth is, there is no time in this lifestyle for organising major building work. The role of the professional home builder requires a huge daily commitment (during work hours, as tradesmen and suppliers will rarely be available at 11pm). There will be constant phone calls, emails and site meetings. A great deal of time will need to be spent forward planning the construction and scheduling trades and materials. Also, sourcing of material for a one off project is extremely time consuming.  For this person to successfully manage the building works something else would need to give (and few people are prepared to give up their jobs and lifestyle to keep the building work going).

stressed owner builder

  • The fussy person: This type of person loves high quality finishes and everything must be carried out to the highest of standards. Even the tiniest of defects (that most people wouldn’t notice) will upset them. They are perfectionists and love to look at perfection. This type of person needs the highest qualified professionals working for them. They will never achieve their desired level of quality without hiring a professional home builder.  A quality focused builder has years of experience and the right professionals on his team, to ensure the best results, without all the stress and worry. He knows precisely what to look for in the work to prevent problems later on.  Also a professional home builder has had years of experience at getting the highest level of workmanship from his team, and using premium materials to their best advantage. He knows how to make the most of your ideas, but will also steer you away from finishes that won’t live up to your high expectations. For best results, this person should seek out a professional builder who is just as fussy as they are. The client-builder relationship will thrive as both parties will relate well to each other.


  • The person with a tight bubuilding budgetdget: This type of person has been to many display centres and knows what they want, and perhaps has even spoken to a professional home builder. But they are under the impression that they can get more of what they want, from a restrictive budget, by overseeing the work themselves.  For this type of person, sure they are going to cut some of the expenses by not hiring a professional builder, but this is likely to cost them in other ways. Tradesmen are often less diligent when there isn’t a professional home builder to check up on them, so work standards usually drop, defects can occur and expensive rectifications are common. Owner-builders are also more likely to run over budget compared to homeowners who employ a professional home builder to oversee their work. This is because there are a multitude of hidden costs associated with building work, and a skilled builder will be able to accurately predict these and make adequate allowances for them. Owner-builders (and even inexperienced builders) simply don’t have the knowledge and experience to factor these costs into the budget. For a person on a tight budget the very worst thing that can happen is to have a budget blow out.


    • The person with a firm deadline: This person absolutely must have their building work done by a certain date (for various reasons such as to fit in with family circumstances). To have the work extend past that date would mean major disruption and inconvenience to them and their loved ones. This type of person is not suitable as an owner-builder, because building work is complex and coordinating the many tradesmen and suppliers takes years of practice. Keeping the building work on schedule is a skill in itself. Unfortunately, even some qualified builders aren’t too good at this! You only need to take a look around your neighbourhood to see some building work that has taken far too long or just looks like it has reached a standstill! For this person, hiring a professional home builder, who has excellent project management skills, is the only way to ensure their home will be ready when they need it to be.


Occasionally we get the chance to talk to homeowners about their project and they decide that they can’t afford to hire a professional home builder, so the homeowners decide to “become an owner-builder” which basically means that rather than hiring a professional builder, they act as the builder and employ the tradesmen that they require to do the hands on part of the work.

As the building industry is highly regulated there are legal considerations to become an owner-builder for your project. You will need to apply for a “Certificate of Consent” with the Victorian Building Authority.


Professional home builder or owner-builder; what is best for my project?


It is not our purpose to discourage any home owners from having a go and improving their homes. Maintenance and minor improvements can be tackled by many homeowners. But, major renovations, home extensions and the building of a new home should always be performed by a professional home builder.

If you are considering whether hiring a professional home builder is right for you, or if you have an interesting owner-builder story to share, I would love to hear from you. Give me a call on 9776 7101 or send me an email to

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