Many property owners are not aware of a construction process available to them that can save them thousands of dollars, lots of time, and allow them to achieve ultimate project control.
The term for this process is Owner-Builder and under certain conditions the Owner-Builder is exempt from local regulations. For example, the California Contractors License Law which allows work on his/her own property pursuant to the following Owner-Builder Declaration found in local Building Permit Applications:
In general, the first option permits the property owner or his/her employees to perform construction work so long as the structure is not intended or offered for sale (Sec. 7044, Business and Professions Code reads: The contractor license law does not apply to an owner of property who builds or improves thereon, and who does such work himself or herself or through his or her own employees, provided that such improvements are not intended or offered for sale. If, however, the building or improvement is sold within one year of completion, the owner-builder will have the burden of proving that he or she did not build or improve for the purpose of sale); and
The second option permits the owner to hire the various licensed specialty contractor(s) directly to construct the project thereby eliminating the need for a General Contractor (Sec. 7044, Business and Professions Code reads: The Contractors License Law does not apply to an owner of property who builds or improves thereon, and who contracts for such projects with a contractor(s) licensed pursuant to the Contractors License Law).
By contracting directly with licensed specialty contractors the Owner-Builder can:
By answering YES or NO to the following questions could determine if this Owner-Builder process is right for your next construction or alteration project:
A YES answer to all of these questions probably makes you a good Owner-Builder candidate.
However, those who can’t answer YES can still take advantage of this Owner-Builder process. The owner can still have ultimate control over schedule and costs by hiring a Construction Manager for fee who basically acts as his/her agent. Some Construction Managers will help set up a project and/or work on an as needed consulting basis. This gives the owner the best of both worlds because Construction Managers are required to be licensed by the Contractors License Board and Construction Management fees are generally substantially less than a General Contractors combined specialty contractor mark ups plus his/her over head and profit. Also, the Construction Manager for fee, acting as the owners agent, owes a client a “Fiduciary Duty” (Trust). Where as, a General Contractor is an independent contractor who is free from the influence, guidance, or control of another or others and does not owe a “Fiduciary Duty”.
Using the Owner-Builder process can prove extremely beneficial to Homeowner Associations performing Maintenance and/or Repairs because the following licensed specialty contractors can usually be easily coordinated and their scope of work defined without risk of conflict.
|Painting and Decorating
|Roofing (Subs out C-43 Sheet Metal)
|Earthwork and paving
|Concrete (Subs out C-51 Reinforcing Steel)
|Masonry (Subs out C-51 Reinforcing Steel)
Every construction project is unique and as such must be evaluated, planned, implemented based on the owners budget and scheduling objectives. The Owner-Builder process is one way of achieving these objectives. Also, every jurisdiction has it’s own regulations regarding the Owner Builder process. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you contact your local building department for their respective Owner Builder rules and regulations.