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Owner Builder

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The Owner Builder

Leeza Sipek  
Matthew Sipek  
Hazel Foote  

Colour photographs, Illustrations
248 pages, 245 x 170 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

    Paperback - 2012
ISBN: 9780643100428 - AU $ 45.00

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Building your own home could save you thousands of dollars. The Owner Builder is an easy-to-understand, step-by-step guide for people who want to build their dream home in a financially responsible manner. From choosing a block of land to decorating the inside of the house, this book guides the reader through the entire building process.

The authors share their personal experiences with photos of the building process in 68 steps. They include tips and hints on the approval process, construction ideas and how to avoid mistakes. They also uncover potential hidden costs, and offer other ways to save money if you don't have time to manage the construction yourself – such as hire a project manager, which is cheaper than a contract builder.

Renovators, DIY enthusiasts and anyone considering building a home will find a wealth of practical information in this book. Even if you are hiring a builder, this book can help you understand what is involved in building a home and what to expect at each stage of the project.


  • Guides the reader through the whole pre and post building steps
  • Personal photo gallery of the building process
  • Tips for saving money
  • Hidden costs
  • Learn valuable lessons from the authors personal experience

 Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Responsibilities of the owner builder
Chapter 3 Obtaining finance
Chapter 4 The building process in 68 steps
Chapter 5 Choosing your land
Chapter 6 House design
Chapter 7 Building materials
Chapter 8 Tradespeople
Chapter 9 Insurance
Chapter 10 Estimating
Chapter 11 Housing Energy Rating Scheme
Chapter 12 Bushfire protection
Chapter 13 Knockdown rebuilds
Chapter 14 Contracts
Chapter 15 Exempt and complying development
Chapter 16 Theft and vandalism
Chapter 17 Certification
Chapter 18 Contract builders
Chapter 19 Project management
Chapter 20 Colours, concepts and common problems
Chapter 21 Gardens and landscaping
Appendix A: Resources
Appendix B: Trades, materials and services directory
Appendix C: Budget planning worksheet
Appendix D: Endnotes

  • Any person intending to build a home
  • Renovators
  • DIY enthusiasts
  • Kit Home companies and customers

 "So do I need another book about being an owner builder? I wasn't convinced, but by the end of CSIRO's new manual, simply called The Owner Builder, I had learned a lot, and my enthusiasm was beginning to simmer once again."
Nick Goldie, Summit Sun, pp. 6, April 2013

"There are 68 steps in the building process, the authors say, and this clear and informative book will help the owner-builder through them all."
Beverley Johanson, Domain - The Age, pp. 12, November 2012


 Leeza Sipek is a full-time mother of two, who decided to share her building knowledge and experience with others. Leeza has worked in the building industry for over 10 years, as a Project Housing State Sales Manager, a design consultant and an owner builder. Prior to this she was a nurse, working in major public and private hospital systems for over 7 years.

Matthew Sipek is a Sales Manager for a commercial building supply company. A large part of his daily activities is to inspect waterproof membranes on commercial buildings all over Australia. Prior to this role he was in the same company as a Sales Representative for many years.

Hazel Foote is a full-time carer for her father, Thomas. At the time of writing The Owner Builder she was working as a Sales Advisor for a local contract builder. Hazel has worked for major property developers and small-to medium-sized builders for several years.


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