What is an Owner/Builder Permit?

If a contractor suggests that it will be better if you, the owner, obtain the permit, here are a few things you should know:

An “owner/builder” permit is one that specifies the property owner (not the contractor) is responsible for all aspects of the construction work as spelled out in the permit application.

  • You will be required, by law, to act as the contractor and provide direct, onsite supervision for all work performed by persons who are not licensed contractors.
  • By signing the permit application, you take full responsibility for compliance with all laws, including:
    • Employment expenses (withholding of federal payroll tax, payment of Social Security and Medicare taxes, payment of unemployment compensation tax, providing workers’ compensation insurance coverage) of any person not licensed.
    • Liability for injury to persons or damage to property associated with the project
    • Ensuring that all persons or companies providing goods or services are paid
    • Compliance with all laws and regulations for building codes, federal and state environmental, safety, and other requirements
  • An “owner/builder” permit is not allowed for property that is sold or leased within 1 year. It is also not allowed for commercial work valued at more than $75,000.00.
  • Why would a contractor suggest that you obtain an “owner/builder” permit? The most common reason is so that the contractor can avoid liability for injury, unpaid subcontractors and suppliers, or compliance with safety requirements and building codes. A contractor may also suggest you obtain an “owner/builder” permit if the contractor owes suppliers or others money and does not want his or her name listed on a permit (or cannot purchase materials to complete the work) or if the contractor does not have a required license or has one that is suspended or revoked.

    You can check to see if your contractor is licensed and in good standing by going to www.myfloridalicense.com and selecting “verify a license”

    You can check to see if there are outstanding judgments against the contractor suggesting an “owner/builder” permit by performing a search of court records in your area (most of this can be done online).

    You can check to see if the work needed requires a building permit by contacting your local (city or county) building department – they can usually answer the question quickly over the telephone.

    For more information, please contact The Central Florida Roofing & Sheet Metal Association (CFRSA) or visit our website at www.cfrsa.org

    To read Florida law on this, see section 489.103(7), Florida Statutes.