Is It Legal to Build Your Own House Without Using a Contractor?

Is It Legal to Build Your Own House?

House Under Construction

House Under Construction

Can you build a house by yourself without hiring a contractor? This is a question that some people would like to have answers for. The answer is it depends. There are situations and conditions which make it legal to build a house on your own, and there are situations and conditions which make it illegal to build a residence on your own.

It’s legal to build your own home without hiring a construction company if you meet the following requirements:

1 – You Have a Building License

A building license is not a building permit. These are two different things. A building license is a trade/professional license that allows you to operate as a building contractor. In order to get this license, you must have relevant certifications and qualifications in your trade. A minimum level of experience is also required in a trade you are applying for as well as other documentation. In some cases, you have to pass Trade Exams by the local boards and authorities. The minimum age requirement to get a license is 18 years, good credit scores and a certificate of competency are some of the items that are needed. Each and every state in the USA has its own licensing requirements and laws which may be more or less the same.

As you can see, you have to be a qualified/certified builder by profession if you are planning to build your own house. Without a trade license, you are not allowed to build a house on your own. There are various types of licenses required in the construction industry and these are specified by the municipalities/local authorities under their Building Regulations and Departments. There are 3 broad categories of licenses which limit the type, size and scope of work you can do and these are General Contractor, Building Contractor and Residential Contractor licences. Trade specific licenses for bricklaying, plumbing, HVAC, plastering, painting, roofing, carpentry, tiling, glazing, electrical installation and so on will also be required.

The question you must ask yourself is, are you competent, qualified, experienced and certified in all these specialty trades? Most likely you aren’t and you will need to hire skilled labourers and artisans to perform certain duties and jobs. As an example, you might be a qualified bricklayer, but you will need a skilled plasterer, tiler, roofer, painter, plumber, HVAC technician and electrician to complete tasks that you aren’t qualified in.

Getting a building license is not easy. According to reports, 90% of applications will be rejected by the local authorities. Building is a complex task that should comply with statutes and codes set by the state and local government authorities, to prevent potential disasters, hazards and disorder.

2 – You Stay in a Remote Unregulated Zone

In some countries, there are rural areas whereby the area is undeveloped and unregulated. This territory usually lacks basic infrastructure such as electrical, water and sewer reticulation. In such areas, people usually build their own homes in clustered communities since the area hasn’t attained village or town status. Note that once the area has been designated under an authority for development purposes, the settlements and homes will be subject to Municipal Building Regulations and Codes. That means the homes will be destroyed and taken down.

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