Innovative Living Homes Quality Residential Builders, South Australia






Innovative Living is an experienced Quality Builder of New Homes and House Extensions based in the Adelaide Hills. Our passion is to build your Dream Home or House Renovation.

After 25 years in the building industry I have come to appreciate new and innovative building ideas and designs. It's so good to see people being creative with their building projects and thinking outside the square. I believe the most important part of a new home or extension is the client. The people who will live there. Is it really what they want, what meets their expectations and budget? To me the building process is forming a relationship with the client and working together to see their dream come true. It's an exciting industry to be in and I’m passionate about building.
I love my job.

Owner Builders - Can You Build Your Own Home?

Can you build your own home?

 

I often get asked this question. Is it still possible to be an ‘owner/builder’? Can you build your own home or house extension?

 

Well the answer is - Yes. But…………. The process is not easy and there are many traps for the inexperienced. Yes you can do it yourself. It is very rewarding and can save you a lot of money. We will look at some of the obstacles here and if you prepare yourself you can avoid some of the costly mistakes that are common.

 

Building Codes and Council Requirements

I once asked a friend of mine who worked in a council in the Building and Planning Department about this – can someone build their own home? They said that if the plans and engineering have been certified and the finished product on site complies with those plans and specifications then the method of how it was constructed is of little importance. The main concern is that the structure must comply with all the codes and requirements and be inspected. This is done by the mandatory notifications to council when that stage of the work is complete and by either a licensed builder or inspector.

 

Now in most cases the council will be wary of someone building their own construction project without the appropriate license. They will normally require that you contract a builder or building inspector to oversee the works.

 

This is a service that we at Innovative Living Property Solutions can offer. I will come back to that later.

 

What about Plumbing and Electrical work?

Both of these construction components must be carried out by a licensed tradesperson. As for the plumbing work, the council must be notified when the drainage pipes are ready for inspection. You must also submit a plumbing layout with your plans showing the location and sizes of the drains pipes, vent pipes, flood gullies, hot water type and location, etc. The authorities are not so interested in the type of your tapware, etc. as long as they comply with the water efficiency ratings. If you require more info for this, contact our office for some advice.

 

As for the Electrical work, the electrician will issue you with an ‘Electrical Certificate of Compliance’ when the work is completed. A copy of this must be sent to the council for their records.

 

Home electrical systems are very complicated and the rules are changing continually. I strongly recommend that you don’t even consider doing any of the work yourself. What if there was a fire and the problem is traced to some unlicensed work. Opps – no insurance cover.

 

What you can do yourself is some of the non 240 volt wiring. The sky’s the limit these days with data cabling, home theatre systems, door bells and monitoring, intercoms and lots of other clever stuff.

 

Owner Builder Finance

Now this is a big problem! I get this all the time. People want to build their own home to save money which usually indicates that they don’t have all the funds and need to lend money and the banks don’t want to know about them. Why?

 

Well think about it like this. When a bank lends you money for a new home or extension it is usually in the form of a mortgage. Yep, they take part ownership of the property. Now if there is no building contract with a builder showing the contract price the bank will be worried about the actual cost and whether you are lending enough money to complete it. This is not an easy one and the situation has been made worse by the ‘Global Financial Crisis’.

 

If you are in this situation you may need to talk to us. It is an almost impossible hurdle to jump without nominating a builder to help out. Some form of documentation to show that you are serious and realistic about what you are doing.

 

Planning and Approvals

This is one area where most people don’t know what they are doing. They get confused by the ‘red tape’ and are totally stressed. I have helped some people who thought they knew the system and have wasted years (Yes years!!) trying to get their building consent.

 

All I can say is talk to someone who knows what they are doing. If you submit all the requirements it is a speedy and inexpensive process. There is no going back and forth with extra info and plan changes which can take months. The other thing to consider is that by using an experienced project manager the application will carry credibility. That is well worth paying for!

 

Certificate of Occupancy

Now you may not know that there is such a thing. The bottom line is that the dwelling cannot be occupied until you have permission to do so. I know, the temptation of any owner builder is to set up camp in an incomplete building. Two problems, it is very easy to never complete the project and it is illegal (watch that insurance).

 

You don’t need to have everything complete but there are some things that are essential to finish off. All the structural work completed and inspected. All electrical, plumbing, wet area water proofing, tiling, sanitary ware fitted, storm water connected and bush fire requirements met and inspected.

 

Before you move in there is a document called a ‘Statement of Compliance’ which must be signed by the builder and the owner. This is part of the Development Act 1993, and basically states that the work is completed as per the approved plans.

 

Summary

To sum it up, yes you can build your own home or extension. Although some of the above may have put you off, it should not. It is a wonderful experience and the reward is yours for life. Hard work? Yes, but anyone with a few handy skills, some tradie mates and a supportative family can do it.

 

We at Innovative Living Property Solutions have been working with owner/builders for many years. We can assist you with your project. Every job is different and every individual’s level of involvement can vary.

 

Talk to us about your next project and we can arrange a package that suits your requirements. It can save you money and will definitely save you time. In the end you will have a fully certified dwelling that you can have the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

 

Happy building!

 

Bruce

 

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