Armchair Builder

Building Scams: Owner Builder Permits

Good professional builders hate to hear about building scams because it makes us all look bad.  So one of our objectives here at is to be your building advocate.  We want to be an open book about the industry surrounding the remodel, repair and build out of your home.  If we hear about something that’s causing problems for homeowners or homeowners-to-be, we will bring it to your attention.  There are several building scams out there…today our focus is on owner builder permits.

Owner Builder Permits

If you’re thinking about building or remodeling and you’re leaning toward having a full service contractor handle the project, you will want to pay close attention.  One of the biggest building scams going is the general contractor that forces you to pull an owner builder permit.  For the unsuspecting customer, these building scams can create some big problems.

Building Scams:  Possible Outcomes

Obtaining your own permit as an owner builder is fine as long as you plan on taking full responsibility for the project.  But when you intend for someone else to handle the schedule, quality, and budget, your owner builder permit can bite you in the rear.  Here are some potential outcomes when you hire a full service contractor and they have you pull an owner builder permit…

  • Quality – If the quality turns out to be less than stellar and the contractor refuses to come back to make repairs, you will be responsible for the repairs.
  • Budget – Most people that hire a full service builder leave the budget details to them.  In other words, the owner many times doesn’t get involved in the material ordering and subcontractor payments.  If you pull an owner builder permit, this is a big mistake.  If someone doesn’t get paid or the contractor runs off with the money, you may be stuck with a major problem.
  • Liability – When you willingly take on a project as an owner builder, you will obtain the proper insurance for coverage in the event of injuries.  Job sites can be very dangerous…trust me, I have seen some pretty gory worker injuries on home building projects.  But people that hire a full service builder sometimes assume they have the proper insurance when actually, they may not.  If you pulled an owner builder permit, have no insurance, and someone gets hurt, you could be in for a major liabilityissue.  This situation can put your life savings at risk.

    Exposure to Liability

Most people that take on the owner builder role for their building projects know they are responsible for the outcomes.  But for those that plan on hiring a contractor to oversee everything, beware of the owner builder permit.  Always make sure the people in charge put their name on the permit to help protect your interests.  Have you had any bad building experiences?  Please share them with us at


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