How to obtain an Owner Builder Permit to build your shed or carport in New South Wales

For those living in New South Wales interested in building their own shed or carport as an owner-builder, the process to do so is quite simple. Before getting started, you will need to both apply for an owner builders license and complete an owner-builder course. However, the requirements for doing so are relatively minimal ensuring the process can be completed quickly and simply. As a result, you can soon get your project underway and enjoy the DIY benefits of constructing such a structure yourself.

If you live in New South Wales and are planning on purchasing a shed or carport kit from Modern Steel Buildings and building it yourself, then read the following article to find out if you need any specific licences.

What is an Owner-Builder?

As an owner-builder you, as the property owner, can perform the construction work or supervise the build for the building project. An Owner-Builder is responsible for building work, just as a fully licenced builder would be. If you are not contracting a licensed builder, and plan on supervising or doing building work that is worth over $10,000 (including labour and materials) on your home, you will need to undergo a licence and permit application process to obtain an Owner-Builder Permit.

Who can apply for an Owner-Builder permit?

If you want to apply for an Owner-Builder Permit, you must be at least 18 years of age, and be the owner or joint owner of the land. Also, the building work must not have commenced, and you must intend to live in the property after the building work is complete.

Works worth less than $10,000

No permits are required; however, New South Wales Fair Trading manages the developmental approval for build projects. NSW Fair Trading should be your first point of contact before purchasing a shed, garage or carport kit from Modern Steel Buildings because all applications must be submitted and requested through this department.

Works worth over $10,000 but less than $20,000

If the building work is worth over $10,000 (including labour and materials) but less than $20,000, you will need to obtain a White Card (link to White card application).

Works worth over $20,000

If the value of the work is greater than $20,000 you will also need to complete the Owner Builder course or have an equivalent qualification and experience.


White Card Course

Complete a White Card Course (unit CPCCWHS1001 Prepare to work safely in the construction industry), which is a basic safety course for anyone who wants to carry out work in the construction industry. Every Owner Builder in NSW must also have a White Card.

If you have a White Card:

  • If you already have a White Card that has been issued within the last two years, you will be able to complete the NSW Owner Builder course and apply for the Owner Builder Permit using this White Card.
  • If your White Card was issued over two years ago, and you have not been working in the building industry, you will need to undertake a new White Card course before applying for the Owner Builder Permit.

Apply for White Card

Once you have completed a White Card course, you can apply for your White Card through SafeWork NSW. This is a mandatory requirement for all owner-builder permit applications.


What is the Owner-Builder Course?

The NSW Owner Builder Course must be complete before applying for the NSW Owner Builder Permit (unless you have previous relevant qualifications). Many training organisations provide the Owner Builder Course and White Card Course. See link for training organisations.

The owner-builder education requirement consists of the five units of competency, which cover the following information:

  • Workplace health and safety requirements, policies and procedures in the construction industry
  • Read and interpret plans and specifications
  • Undertake basic estimation and costing
  • Plan and organise work
  • Conduct workplace communication.

(Owner-builder permits | NSW Fair Trading)


How to apply

When you have completed the Owner Builder Course and received your White Card, apply through Service NSW for an Owner Builder Permit.

You can apply for an Owner-Builder Permit online through MyServiceNSW or in person at a NSW Service centre.

Before you complete your application, you will need the following:

  • a MyServiceNSW account
  • proof of identity (see link for requirements)
  • documentation showing proof of ownership or long-term lease agreement relating to the land specified in your application, such as:
    • council rates or water rates notice less than one year old
    • Certificate of Title from NSW Land Registry Services
    • solicitor settlement letter showing settlement date (cannot be future dated and must be less than 3 months old)
    • copy of the lease (minimum 3 years) registered with NSW Land Registry Services.
  • estimated cost of the building work for labour and materials
  • details of the proposed plans
  • a copy of approved development consent (not an application number) such as:
    • development approval (DA) from the local council
    • complying development certificate (CDC) from the local council or accredited certifier
  • a current white card (Fair Trading will also accept a Safework Statement of Training issued within 60 days before your application, as it may take 60 days for your white card to be issued following your white card application)
  • certificate showing completion of Owner Builder Course if the value of work exceeds $20,000
  • payment for the licence fee (see link for Service NSW fees page).

The application process will usually take about 4 weeks. Visit for more detailed information about the application process.


If you have any questions about the process, contact Modern Steel Buildings and we will help you in any way we can.