Let’s shed light on the question: how long does an owner builder have to fix defects in Victoria? This blog will explore the specific regulations and guidelines governing defect rectification for owner builders in Victoria.

Ensuring your home’s quality and safety is paramount in construction and property ownership. It becomes even more critical when you take on the role of an owner builder in Victoria. One common concern among owner builders is the timeframe. Knowing when they are legally obligated to rectify defects in their newly built or renovated homes.

Understanding Owner Builder Defects

Before diving into the timeframes, let’s first understand what constitutes a “defect” in the context of owner building in Victoria. A defect is any fault, imperfection, or non-compliance with building standards that affect a property’s structure, safety, or usability. These defects can encompass various issues, from structural problems to plumbing and electrical issues.

The Role of the Domestic Building Contracts Act

In Victoria, the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 plays a pivotal role in regulating the obligations of builders and owner builders and resolving defects. Under this act, builders are required to adhere to specific rules and timelines when it comes to addressing defects in their projects. On the other hand, owner builders have distinct responsibilities when selling their owner-built homes.

Statutory Warranty Period for Builders

For builders, Victoria’s statutory warranty period generally lasts six years. This six-year period is a substantial window during which builders are responsible for addressing structural defects. Structural defects may include issues related to the foundation, load-bearing walls, or the overall stability of the building. It’s important to note that this timeframe begins with completing the building work.

– Two years for non-structural defects.

For non-structural defects, the statutory warranty period is reduced to two years. Non-structural defects encompass many issues that do not impact the building’s core stability. These may include problems with fixtures, finishes, or internal systems like plumbing and electrical work.

– Three months for minor issues or defects related to the maintenance and finishing touches.

The shortest warranty period, three months, applies to minor issues or defects related to the maintenance and finishing touches of the building. These might include problems with paintwork, floor coverings, or minor adjustments.

Understanding these warranty periods is crucial for builders. During these specified timeframes, they must rectify defects within the respective category. Not adhering to these obligations can have legal consequences.

Selling an Owner Built Home

Now, let’s delve into the responsibilities that an owner builder has when selling their home within six years and six months of completing the building work:

Owner Builder Home Sale and Insurance Obligations

When you, as an owner builder, have intentions to sell a home that you’ve either constructed or renovated, there are specific obligations that you must adhere to, particularly regarding domestic building insurance. Here are the key points:

Domestic Building Insurance Requirement

The VBA states you are required to obtain domestic building insurance for the work you carried out under the following circumstances:

  1. If your building project was completed within the last six and a half years from the date of the issuance of your occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.
  1. If the total value of your building project exceeds $16,000.

This domestic building insurance serves as a crucial safeguard for the purchaser of the property, protecting against potential defects that may arise. Such defects could become a concern in unforeseen circumstances, such as the owner builder passing away, facing insolvency, or disappearing.


Timing is Essential

To fulfil this requirement, purchasing domestic building insurance before you enter into a contract to sell your property is essential. This ensures that the new homeowners are adequately protected. Importantly, if your property does not sell, there may be provisions to cancel the insurance policy and receive a refund on the premium.

Defects Inspection Report

Another essential obligation when selling your owner built home involves obtaining a defects inspection report. To do so, you must engage a registered building practitioner. These practitioners can include building surveyors, building inspectors, or endorsed building engineers.

The defects inspection report must be current, with a date of issuance less than six months before the sale of your property. This report provides valuable information to prospective buyers about the condition of the property and any defects that require attention.

These requirements are in place to ensure transparency and protection for everyone involved in the sale of an owner built property. Promoting confidence and trust in the real estate transaction process.

Please note that this requirement applies specifically to owner builders. It is a crucial document that provides prospective buyers with information on the condition of the property and any defects that need attention.

Get In Touch

For a wealth of expert insights, invaluable guidance, and a treasure trove of resources for owner building in Australia, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our dedicated team of Owner Builder Coaches are here to mentor and provide unwavering support throughout your building journey.

Additionally, our comprehensive Owner Builder Checklist is at your service. Offering meticulous step-by-step guidance for your project’s administrative and construction phases. With over 1000 carefully crafted steps, it simplifies the complexities of the construction process, making your dream home a reality.

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