Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Building Permit and the Homeowner

I cringe when I hear that a homeowner has pulled a building permit. Homeowners do not consider the responsiblity that goes along with pulling the permit and do not really think things through before doing so.

Here's the good news-the average homeowner who pulls his own permit does not have to have a Home Improvement Contractor or Construction Supervisor license if he satisfies the following requirements:

"Exception: Any Home Owner performing work for which a building permit is required shall be exempt from the licensing provisions of 780 CMR 108.3.5; provided that if a Home Owner engages a person(s) for hire to do such work, that such Home Owner shall act as supervisor. This exception shall not apply to the field erection of a manufactured buildings constructed pursuant to 780 CMR 35 and 780 CMR R3. For the purposes of 780 CMR 108.3.5, a "Homeowner" is defined as follows: Person(s) who owns a parcel of land on which he/she resides or intends to reside, on which there is, or is intended to be, a one or two family dwelling, attached or detached structures accessory to such use and/or farm structures. A person who constructs more than one home in a two-year period shall not be considered a home owner. "

Here's the bad news:

1. If a "weekend" worker is hurt on your property, you are liable. If you hire a company, their workers are required to be covered by worker's compensation insurance (at least in Massachusetts).

2. You cannot avail yourself of the benefits of the Home Improvement Arbitration Program or the Guaranty Fund.

3. If your work causes damage to your neighbor's property, you are liable.

4. If you cause damage to your own property, your own insurance may be less inclined to cover the damage (although most insurance does not cover damage due to defective work).

5. You are responsible if your work is not up to code.

6. You are the "general contractor" and will need to coordinate the subcontractors.

Bottom line: Is it really worth it to pull the building permit yourself?


At 8:16 AM, Anonymous saimaxx said...

it seems the law will benefit the labours more and how it will work out for others is remains to be seen.

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At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Bob said...

Sometimes there is not much choice. Like when you get flooded out loose everything you have and hazard insurance says they are not going to pay. (Why do they call it hazard insurance with they get to pick their hazards) makes me wonder what other hazards are not covered. You have to do the work for about a third of what it will take. Not only do I have to act as the general contractor but also the sub contractor and the sub contractors laborer. It is that or sleep on the park bench.

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Yes, it is totally worth it to pull a homeowner's permit!! Unless you are super rich or simply rich then, yes go ahead and buy the world. But poor people cant afford what you can, so there you have it!!!

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