Under the New Home Buyer Protection Act, owner builders must apply for authorization to construct their own home. This is done through the Owner Builder Application for Authorization process. If approved, the authorization will allow the owner builder to construct their own home, either with or without a warranty.
The mandatory warranty coverage required in the New Home Buyer Protection Act is designed to provide homeowners with recourse options if defects occur within their new home. Owner builder authorizations are available as an option out of respect for an individual's right to build their own home. However, owner builder authorizations are issued with an understanding that approved owner builders, specifically those that build without warranty, cannot pass their risks onto a second homeowner. This means that if an owner builder decides to build without warranty, they cannot sell the home before the conclusion of the 10-year warranty protection period without first ensuring that warranty is in place.
If you are approved for an owner builder authorization and build without warranty you are essentially agreeing to provide warranty coverage to the next homeowner should you decide to sell the home before the 10-year protection period ends.
Owner Builder Criteria
An individual must meet certain criteria to be eligible for an owner builder authorization. An individual must:
- Intend to reside in the home as their primary residence for at least ten (10) years;
- Be the registered owner of the property for where the home will be built as either the sole owner, or as joint tenancy, or a tenant in common (the property must be in person(s) name, not a corporation);
- The land title is "fee simple" (this is listed on the Certificate of Title);
- Intend to personally engage in, arrange for or manage all or substantially all of the construction (i.e. control, supervise, oversee of the building site, procurement of materials and the hiring, direction, scheduling and payment of tradespersons and other labourers, for all of the new home construction);
- Not have previously contravened New Home Buyer Protection Act;
- Not have provided any false or misleading information on a previous application;
- Not have been approved for a previous Owner Builder Authorization, for at least 3 years since the date of the individual's first occupancy of the new home associated with their most recent authorization; and
- Not have been approved for a previous Owner Builder Authorization as an ordinarily resident (the place you normally resided) for at least 3 years since the date of approval.
If you do not meet the above criteria for an owner builder authorization, you may submit an application but must also attach additional information providing a rationale for why your situation should be considered for an owner builder authorization.
Corporations may not be eligible for an owner builder authorization. Corporations may have to obtain a builder licence.
- If your home will be financed before, during or after construction, we strongly suggest you check with your lender to see if they require warranty.
- As an individual, if you choose to build without warranty but decide to sell before the end of the 10-year protection period, you will need to obtain home warranty coverage before selling the home. If a warranty provider considers your request for coverage, they may:
- request detailed information about the home and the construction process,
- determine the cost of warranty coverage by using a risk assessment model, and/or
- refuse to provide new home warranty coverage.
Note: Currently, in today's market there is no insurer of last resort. There is no guarantee that you will be able to obtain warranty coverage during or after your home is constructed and lived in.
Detailed instructions on how to apply for an owner builder authorization can be found here.
An application needs to be completed if you plan to build with or without warranty.
Owner Builders Constructing with Warranty
An owner builder may choose to build with warranty. The owner builder should consult directly with the warranty providers doing business in Alberta to choose a policy for their home. Government does not regulate the costs of warranty.
There are currently seven warranty providers that operate in Alberta. You may need to contact more than one provider as not all of the companies offer coverage to owner builders.
- Millennium Insurance Corporation
- National Home Warranty Group Inc. - Aviva Canada Inc.
- Progressive Home Warranty Solutions Inc. - Aviva Canada Inc.
- Progressive Home Warranty Solutions Inc. - Echelon Insurance
- Blanket Home Warranty Ltd. - WBI Home Warranty Ltd. / Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada (RSA)
- The Alberta New Home Warranty Program
- Travelers Insurance Company of Canada
- WBI Home Warranty Ltd. - Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada (RSA)
On this page you will find detailed instructions on how to apply for an owner builder authorization:
To apply for an Owner Builder Authorization:
New Home Buyer Protection Office
Alberta Municipal Affairs
16th Floor, Commerce Place
10155 – 102 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5J 4L4
- You will need to become an authorized user of the New Home Buyer Protection System Portal. Access to the portal is obtained by submitting a NHBPS Access Request. If you are unable to view the NHBPS Access Request application above, please contact the New Home Buyer Protection Office at NHBPS.firstname.lastname@example.org. Access request applications will be processed in approximately three business days.
- Once access has been obtained, create an Application for Authorization and submit the $750 application fee. This payment can be done online or by cheque payable to the Government of Alberta.
- The application fee is non-refundable.
- Applications are reviewed and recommendations developed approximately 14 business days after a complete application is received. During peak construction times, this may take longer than 14 business days. Recommendations are reviewed weekly by the Registrar for decision, outside of the above noted timeframe. Applications without a fee payment will not be reviewed.
- A completed application must include a questionnaire and affidavit of execution from each person listed on the land title.
- Once the originals have been received in the New Home Buyer Protection Office, you application for owner builder authorization will be assessed. If it is approved, you will be able to apply for a building permit.
- If an applicant is applying for a mortgage on the new home, it is strongly recommended that the applicant speak to their lender prior to submitting their Application for Owner Builder Authorization. Some lenders in Alberta may require warranty on the home if you are using financing (i.e. a mortgage or line of credit).
- As the Primary Applicant, you are responsible for the accuracy of the information submitted, including:
a. The questionnaire and affidavit of execution for each person listed on the land title and anyone over 18 years of age living in the new home, not listed as an applicant but who will reside in the home as an ordinarily resident;
b. The provision of an updated list of major subcontractors; and
c. The provision of a copy of the final inspection report once occupancy is granted.
- Print off and sign the application. Complete an Affidavit of Executions. Mail completed documents to the New Home Buyer Protection Office (if you are not paying online your payment must be mailed with the completed application documents).
- Once the owner builder authorization certificate is approved, applicants will be contacted by email.
Owner Builder Portal User Manual
Detailed instructions for the application process can be found in the Owner Builder Portal User Manual (PDF). The guide provides:
- an overview of the options available to owner builders,
- how to apply for an Owner Builder Authorization,
- how to manage payments,
- instructions on how to register an owner-built home constructed with warranty, and
- how to obtain a Registrar's Certificate.
Note: It is recommended that you read the Owner Builder User Manual prior to filling out your application
In order to have your application evaluated in a timely manner, the following tips are recommended:
- When mailing the application package, use registered mail. This will allow you to confirm when your application was received.
- If an in-person discussion is required, please call 1-866-421-6929 to make an appointment.
- If paying offline, use a certified cheque as payment. This speeds the payment process, which will result in a faster review of your application.
- Check with your lender if you intend to use financing as warranty may be required.
Note: Your application will not be considered complete until we have received all of the original signed application documents in the New Home Buyer Protection Office.
To connect with the Public Safety Division:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-644-1010 (within Canada and the United States)
Toll free: 1-866-421-6929 (within Canada)