An Owner-Builder is a property owner who acts as his or her own general contractor for a home remodeling project and obtains his or her own building permit. Typically property owners obtain owner-builder permits when they are providing all or a portion of their own labor and/or materials personally. An owner-builder assumes responsibility for the overall job which may include, but is not limited to, taxes, insurance, and other legal liabilities.
The Contractors State License Board recommends that it's best to hire a licensed contractor who is legally qualified to do the work. However, if you hire unlicensed people to perform the work, you may be considered an employer. This could make you responsible for:
If you are an employer, you must register with the state and federal governments as an employer and be subject to the above responsibilities. There may be financial risks for you if you do not carry out these obligations and these risks are especially serious with respect to workers' compensation insurance.
For more specific information about your obligations under federal law, contact the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040 and the U.S. Small Business Administration at (800) 359-1833.
For more specific information about your obligations under state law, contact the Employment Development Department at (916)653-0707, the Department of Industrial Relations at (415) 703-5070, and the Franchise Tax Board at (800) 852-5711.
Owner Builders are also responsible for many items such as:
Owner-Builders many times hire unlicensed "designers" or "consultants" instead of licensed contractors to "save money" on their project. Owner-builders should be aware that many times these designers or consultants are either a contractor who has had his or her contractor's license suspended or revoked, is unqualified to be licensed, or doesn't meet the minimum requirements to get a contractor's license. The California State License Board recommends that unless the property owner is very experienced in construction, it is best to hire a legitimate, licensed expert. Please visit our Hiring a Contractor page for additional information regarding hiring licensed contractors.
Please visit a link below to check licensing information for:
All construction complaints should be filed through the State of California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) regardless whether the contractor is licensed or unlicensed.
Questions? Contact the Building Division at (530).661-5820