You must pass the Owner Builder Exam on home-building basics as part of your application for an Owner Builder Authorization in B.C. This will help you expand your knowledge, improve the quality of owner-built homes and enhance protection for subsequent homeowners.
The Exam tests your knowledge and understanding of home-building basics in two competency areas: construction basics and the statutory obligations and requirements that owner builders must meet under the Homeowner Protection Act.
- The Owner Builder Study Guide helps you prepare for the Authorization Exam, explains how and where to schedule an exam, answers commonly asked questions and more.
- The Regulatory Obligations for Owner Builders in British Columbia video explains what you need to know to successfully answer the statutory obligations and requirements section of the Owner Builder Exam.
Make sure you review the eligibility criteria to ensure that you meet all the requirements of becoming an owner builder.
Once you have submitted your application on the Owner Builder Portal, our Licensing department will assess it. When we have confirmed all the eligibility requirements, we will notify you that you are eligible to schedule and take the Exam.
Several colleges and industry associations offer courses, in varying levels of detail, on building code, construction technology and construction management.
You can search our Education Registry to find courses in your area that can help you build your knowledge to prepare for the Exam.
Exam Criteria & Schedule
As an owner builder, you must manage the construction of your own house. The Exam will test your knowledge in two key areas:
The Exam questions on construction basics — approximately two thirds of the exam — will test your basic knowledge of being your own general contractor. This includes:
- Understanding construction sequencing and scheduling
- Understanding basic building code requirements for each major component of a home
- Understanding an owner’s obligations for site safety
- Supervising construction trades
- Interacting with construction professionals and building inspectors
If you have previous experience in construction, you can refresh your knowledge by studying the following (much of which is available online):
- Part 9 of the BC Building Code (or the City of Vancouver Building By-Law in Vancouver), available in public libraries or for purchase
- Permitting requirements
- WorkSafe BC requirements for employers
- The role of a general contractor and other roles in the construction process, such as engineer, building inspector, architect and regulated trades
- Our technical research publications on residential construction
The list below gives a detailed breakdown of what you must know on the construction basics competency:
1.1 Construction Management and Supervision
1.1.1 Design and project plans
1.1.2 Financial management
1.1.3 Risk and time management
1.1.4 Construction sequencing and scheduling
220.127.116.11 Management of sub-trades
1.1.5 Jobsite safety and workers compensation
1.2 Permits and Inspections
1.2.1 Building permit
1.2.3 Occupancy permit
1.3 Site Preparation and Foundation
1.3.1 Soil conditions
1.3.2 Foundation and drainage
1.3.3 Crawl space and basement finishing
1.4 House Framing
1.4.1 Floor framing
18.104.22.168 Best practices
1.4.2 Wall framing
22.214.171.124 Best practices
1.5.1 Roof framing
1.5.2 Flashing types
1.5.3 Roofing materials
1.6 Building Envelope
1.6.1 Exterior finishing and cladding
1.6.2 Windows and doors
1.6.3 Decks and balconies
1.6.4 Electrical outlets and vents
1.7 Regulated Trades
1.7.3 Gas fitting
1.8.1 Insulation types
1.8.2 Components and application
1.9 Interior Climate Control
1.9.1 Heating options
1.9.2 Ventilation and air tightness
1.10 Interior Finishing
1.10.1 Wall and ceiling finishing
1.10.2 Cabinets and countertop
1.11 Chimney and Fireplaces
You must be familiar with the obligations of an owner builder, as laid out in the Homeowner Protection Act and Regulations. These questions comprises just under one third of the exam. In particular, you should familiarize yourself with these sections:
- Part 7 (sections 20 and 21) of the Act
- Section 23 of the Act
- Section 4.1 of the Regulations
- Section 19 of the Regulations
This list gives you a more detailed breakdown of what you need to know:
2.1 Ownership of Land
2.1.1 Acceptable options for registered interest in land
2.1.2 Title requirements and transfers of title
2.2 Building Intention
2.2.1 Type of residential construction project
2.3 Occupancy Intention
2.3.1 Occupancy duration
2.4 Property Usage
2.4.1 Differences between personal use and restricted uses
2.5 Owner Builder History
2.5.1 Amount of time between prior Owner Builder Authorizations
2.6 Construction Management
2.6.1 Personal involvement in construction activities
2.7 Statutory Protection and Liability
2.7.1 Personal liability for home
2.7.2 2-5-10 year components
2.7.3 Optional owner builder home warranty policy
2.8 Disclosure Requirement
2.8.1 Owner Builder Disclosure Notice
2.8.2 Real Estate Board Property Disclosure Notice
2.8.3 Offering owner-built home for sale
2.9 Homeowner Protection Act Offences and Penalties
2.9.1 Homeowner Protection Act and Regulation non-compliance
2.9.2 Administrative orders and penalties
When and Where to take exam schedule
Once our licensing department has determined you are eligible to take the exam, you must schedule your attendance in an exam session at one of the regional test centres across B.C. You can take the exam at any test centre across B.C. that is most convenient for you. These centres are situated in educational institutions and other types of public organizations.
Owner Builder Exam Schedule
Test centres schedule exams on a regular basis: weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, depending on the location you choose. We will send you a schedule of exams taking place in your area.
Taking the exam
You must attend the Exam in person and show the government-issued ID that you provided on your application. Only the owner builder applicant is authorized to take the Exam.
Make sure you bring the login credentials with you that we provide when we notify you that you’re eligible to take the Exam, as you take the exam on a computer. You have 100 minutes to complete the 100 multiple-choice questions, so make sure you manage your time carefully.
The passing score is 70 per cent or higher. You cannot consult any reference materials or electronic devices while taking the Exam.
After you’ve completed the Exam, our Licensing department will conduct a final review of your application. We will then notify you of your overall application assessment for Owner Builder Authorization.
You have one examination attempt per Owner Builder Authorization application. If you don’t pass the exam, our Licensing department will notify you and issue a $375 refund within 30 days.