HBC exemptions

Explains when HBC cover is not required and how to apply for an exemption.

Home Building Compensation cover is not required for:

  • residential home building work with a contract price of less than $20,000 including GST
  • work that is excluded from the definition of ‘residential building work’ in clause 2 of Schedule 1 of the Home Building Act 1989
  • work involved in the construction of new multi-storey buildings (buildings with a rise in storeys of more than three and containing two or more separate home units, and where ‘storey’ and ‘rise in storeys’ have the same meaning as they have in the Building Code of Australia of the National Construction Code Series (clause 56 of the Home Building Regulation 2014)
  • certain residential building work in specified types of retirement villages (clause 57 of the Home Building Regulation 2014)
  • contracts to do built-in furniture work, and any incidental electrical wiring work involved in the installation of lighting as part of built-in furniture (clause 58 of the Home Building Regulation 2014) some of the scenarios are listed in the built-in furniture exemption scenarios factsheet
  • contracts to supply components of kit homes (kit home suppliers do not require a licence or insurance to sell the components of a kit home to a home owner, as long as the supplier will not be doing any residential building work involved in assembling the home)
  • projects with an exemption approved in writing under section 97 of the Home Building Act 1989 before work starts.
  • residential building work done by or on behalf of public sector agencies from 1 September 2018. An automatic exemption to residential building work done under a contract for public sector agencies will not apply unless the contract specifies that the person is relying on the exemption under section 103E Home Building Compensation Act 1989.

More information about these exemptions or former exemptions can be found in the Home Building Regulation 2014 and the Home Building Act 1989 No 147.

Special exemptions

Developers or contractors doing residential building work can apply to us for an exemption from their HBC obligations (under section 97 of the Home Building Act 1989). Owner builders cannot apply for an exemption on behalf of contractors that they engage to do work on their behalf.

We are only able to grant an exemption if there are exceptional circumstances or if full compliance is impossible or would cause undue hardship. We require applicants to provide evidence establishing that there are such grounds. Exemptions are only for works that have not yet commenced. We cannot issue a retrospective exemption.

Where SIRA decides to grant an exemption, it can do so unconditionally or subject to conditions.

How to apply for an exemption

It is important that you apply for an exemption well in advance of the planned commencement date of the work. If you are considering seeking an exemption to home building compensation requirements, please call us on 13 10 50 (8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).

Written applications must be sent to the Executive Director, Workers and Home Building Compensation Regulation Division, State Insurance Regulatory Authority, Level 14-15, 231 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000 or emailed to