All Topics / Value Adding / Renovating For Profit in Brisbane – QBSA restrictions

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Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Profile photo of soloinvestorsoloinvestor
    Join Date: 2006
    Post Count: 39

    I recently saw Cherie Barber in Brisbane and was inspired to buy and renovate property using her strategy (starting with cosmetic renovations), but do it as a business meaning numerous properties one after another to generate some quick income.

    However, after discussing with a local builder I was informed that I could not do this in QLD due to QBSA – as I would need to get an owner builder's licence or use a licensed builder to organise all the trades if they amounted to more than $11,000. 

    Can anyone clarify this for me?  Could I not buy a house, organise tradesmen with their own QBSA licenses to do their individual components of work resulting in a significant renovation but not one that required council approval – ie. just kitchen, bathroom, landscaping etc?  I am confused as I cannot see any problems with doing this??

    Profile photo of Dean ParkerDean Parker
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 9


    Your builder is correct.  Check out the Queensland Building Services Authority (QBSA) website.  The link is below.  After several conversations with them my understanding is as follows:

    If you are managing more than one trades person you do need to be an owner builder or have a licensed builder to organise the trades.  Given you can only do one OB project every few years, only leaves you with the option to use a builder.  We moved up from Victoria at the start of 2010 and have to use a builder on all of our QLD projects.  It has added two significant costs to all of our projects: 1) The management fee we pay our builder, and 2) the BSA insurance fee for the project.  The other issue is the mountain of paperwork, because to the letter of the law you will need to have a contract with your builder, and your builder should also have contracts with every BSA licensed trade used on site. 

    I know it sounds daunting, and I'm sure the majority of DIY renovators probably don't follow the rules, however has not stopped us renovating 38 properties over the last 2 years up here.

    Building Services Authority Website…

    PS.  I will be speaking again at the's Mega Conference in Melbourne, so talk to the guys at for more information.

    Happy Renovating!

    Profile photo of BonnerBonner
    Join Date: 2007
    Post Count: 9

    Hi Dean

    Thanks for your post. I can see where the BSA website says that you have to use a BSA licenced contractor for work over $3,300.

    But if each project in a renovation is less than $11,000 and you are using a BSA licenced contractor then surely you wont need to be an OB? Even if a projects in a renovation are greater than $11,000 and you are using a BSA licenced contractor wouldnt you still be within the BSA rules?

    It all seems a bit grey to me and it seems like builders are just trying to stop you cutting out the middleman – which after all is why you want to do the reno yourself and make money! Am I missing something here?


    Profile photo of soloinvestorsoloinvestor
    Join Date: 2006
    Post Count: 39

    Apparently the QBSA adds the cost of all the trades together so if the total of all trades is more than $11K then you are supposed to get an owner builder licence :(  Seems like the solution is to use a licenced builder if you want to follow the rules as if you don't you are liable if anything goes wrong with the house for 6 years and you are supposed to make a declaration to buyers to say that the work is not covered by BSA insurance which I think would put some buyers off?

    Profile photo of waydo77waydo77
    Join Date: 2011
    Post Count: 155

    Great, there’s another cost..

    Profile photo of mattstamattsta
    Join Date: 2011
    Post Count: 604

    hmm. seems like an example of them over-regulating!!
    Thanks for the tip – I suppose 'll try and avoid renos for profit in QLD.
    what about in other states like NSW, WA, SA, vic? Are there similar restrictions such as these?

    Profile photo of waydo77waydo77
    Join Date: 2011
    Post Count: 155

    Have not heard of anything like this in SA , what would be the cost of having a builder manage a renovation in qld per week?

    Does the 11k just mean for labour if you supplied the materials of 5k and the trades cost 10k is still within the law?

    Also I’m guessingg the builder wouldn’t be there full time, I had a whole house built and the builder/ site supervisor was never anywhere to be seen?

    Profile photo of wisepearlwisepearl
    Join Date: 2009
    Post Count: 264

    WA rule is $20,000 total cost reno requires a builders license.

    Profile photo of waydo77waydo77
    Join Date: 2011
    Post Count: 155

    I really don’t see why u need a builder to manage it, the trades are the ones doing the detrimental work anyway

    Profile photo of brobr214brobr214
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 2

    Does this apply in any of the other states?

    Profile photo of lookingatrenoslookingatrenos
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 1

    Hi All, my husband and I are looking at renos as an income stream and are in the investigation process.
    I have read the BSA rules and understand the 11K worth of building works requiring you to be an owner/builder so then my question becomes what is defined as building work and what of doing renos would not be building work?

    I came across a booklet by BSA called 'Introduction to Building in Queensland". Here is an excerpt:
    Under the Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991 (QBSA Act) and Regulations, ‘building work’ is defined to generally include the construction, alteration or repair of any building or fixed structure and includes services, site works and management, supervisory and inspectorial services associated with such buildings or structures.
    The Regulations go on to exempt certain works from the definition of ‘building work’. These exemptions include
    • work performed by architects, engineers, surveyors, valuers in their professional practice
    • work performed by the commonwealth, state or local government
    • work associated with water, sewer or stormwater outside private property boundaries
    • busways, roads, tunnels, bridges, railway tracks, airport runways, harbours, wharfs, dams and mines
    • electrical and earthmoving work
    • signs that do not have a supporting structure
    • scaffolding
    • curtains, blinds, carpet, floating floors, vinyl, insect (but not security) screens and monumental masonry
    • work done by owner builders
    • asphalt, bitumen and line marking
    • asbestos reports and assessment of energy efficiency, and
    • work valued at less than $3,300, unless it is related to building design, plumbing and drainage, gasfitting, completed residential building inspection, site classification and termite management – chemical.

    A section on insurance provides some specific examples of construction work, ie:
    If you contract with a homeowner for residential construction work you must pay the required BSA home warranty insurance premium as soon as possible after signing the contract.
    Premiums can be paid at any BSA office or over the phone by using your BSA contractor pin number.
    Residential construction work that requires payment of an insurance premium includes work that exceeds $3,300 in value and involves
    • construction of a new house, multiple dwelling, town house or units that are no more than three storeys high (excluding car park), and
    • additions, alterations, renovations or repairs to a house, multiple dwelling, town house or unit that comprises
    – work which affects the structural performance of the residence/Related Roofed Building (RRB) (e.g. underpinning of a house)
    – replacing the roof, wall, internal partition, floor, or foundation in the residence/RRB
    – replacing or refitting a kitchen or bathroom in the residence/RRB
    – work on an unenclosed elevated platform, deck or verandah attached to a residence
    – work which increases the covered floor area of residence/RRB (e.g. raise house and build-in underneath), and
    – installation or repair of the primary water supply, sewerage, or drainage to the residence/RRB.
    A section re plumbing says:
    Plumbing approval
    Plumbing approval is separate to DA approval and can only be provided by local government (councils etc).
    All sanitary plumbing, sanitary drainage or water supply plumbing must comply with the relevant legislation, building codes and standards.
    To perform plumbing and drainage work a person must be licensed by the Plumbing Industry Council and also comply with licensing requirements of the BSA.
    Building contractors must comply with local government requirements in relation to plumbing inspections and the issue of final certificates.
    Unless otherwise agreed by the local authority, plumbing work must be inspected before it is covered up or concealed (e.g. pipe work in trenches and in wall frames).
    Plumbing approval is required for all plumbing work, except replacing fixtures where the location of the fixture is unchanged and other very minor maintenance and repair work.

    Therefore I am now thinking that:
    – I can paint, change floor and window coverings, install flyscreens, change taps, have an electrician change lights and none of that falls under 'building work' so would not be part of the $11,000
    – If I want to eg install a new bathroom if the value is less than $11,000 then I wouldn't have to worry about being an owner builder either as it comes in under the limit.

    So maybe it can be done?

    Dean and Elise I would love to hear more from you and about your experiences – we are currently overseas and have about 6 months or so until we are back in Oz so trying to educate ourselves the best we can to be prepared to hit the ground running on our return.

    Best Regards,

    Profile photo of Rental ProfitsRental Profits
    Join Date: 2008
    Post Count: 28

    If it was my house and it was under 11 k and only cosmetic, then i would just do it

    I am sure that each quote can be under $3300

    If you start doing structural things and changing rooms around and knocking walls out.. different story

    Profile photo of WomeninPropMelbWomeninPropMelb
    Join Date: 2008
    Post Count: 234

    Here is information on Dean and Elise Parker:
    Hope that helps you

    Profile photo of LeftyLefty
    Join Date: 2010
    Post Count: 40

    Hi all,

    Dean Parker has hit the nail on the head(haha). It is true in what is required in Queensland.

    i was introduced to the this man through Steve McKnight. Dean ( & Elise) is a very successful person in what has done in Victoria & Queensland. He has a very systematic & streamline style of work( I spouse that comes from his IT back ground) if you need further help I would strongly recommended completing his  "Complete Reno kit" that can be found  on the web site in the shop section. It will explain everything from what to look for before even thinking of purchasing to the step by step guide on the renovation, finance, selling process.


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