Owners Legal Guide to Home Building and Renovations

15 MAY 2018


Taking the first steps toward building or renovating a home can be exciting and fulfilling.

Before settling on a builder and signing any contracts it may be beneficial to make some preliminary enquiries.

In New South Wales, owners and builders are guided by the rights and obligations of the Home Building Act 1989 (the Act). The Act calls for all parties of home building projects to act in accordance with the law and the Regulations. This includes a requirement for certain service providers to hold current licences and insurances during the course of the building project, and in most cases for parties to have a written agreement before undertaking certain work.


The Act requires builders and tradespersons (such as carpenters, plumbers, etc.) to hold licences for the services and work they provide to an owner on a building project. This applies to new homes and renovation work.

Services NSW provides owners with a free online tradesperson licence search which can be completed by following the below link:



The Act further requires builders and tradespersons to obtain insurance for home building or renovation works that are worth $20,000 or more.

This insurance must be obtained in these cases by the builder or tradespersons to protect the owner in cases where they would be unable to complete building works in certain cases.

The NSW Government maintains a register of insurances known as Home Building Compensation Fund. The register can be searched by owners online for current insurance policies. Depending on the policy, owners can search the register by following the below link:



The Act requires that in certain cases a written contract must be entered into for home building works. It is best practice to always have a written contract for the provision of services to help protect your best interest.

Before entering into any contract for home building services it is best to obtain independent legal advice. We at Marsdens Law Group have significant experience in advising owners on their rights and risks before entering into home building work contracts.


Where there is a contract, it is likely there will be some form of dispute. This is where the Dispute Resolution team at Marsdens Law Group can help.

We have assisted owners in a wide variety of disputes stemming from residential domestic building contracts, whether simply through settlement negotiation or handling a dispute which may require litigated in court or tribunal.

For further information on our Dispute Resolutions services please contact Aaran Johnson, Partner, on 02 9233 1133 or email him at ajohnson@marsdens.net.au  

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

Posts you may find interesting


POSTED: 15 Mar 2024
Congratulations!⁣⁣Our amazing trainee, Sophie, recently completed her Certificate III in Legal Services and will now be working alongside our other Admin Assistants in Dispute Resolution Team! ⁣⁣From the Partners and staff at Marsdens Law Group, congratulations Sophie! We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you!...
Read more