Talked to a guy the other day that was telling me that his wife and
him were trying to get a bank loan to build a house. The bank told him
if he was a California lic. contractor, didn't matter what kind, they
would give him the loan. Now this guy can't hammer a nail into a soft
board and plans to build his home overseeing the whole operation of
building the house. The license he going for has nothing to do with
woodworking at all. I was wondering is this something they allow. To
me this is saying a Licensed Mechanic could oversee the building of a
Yes but could he over see the project of building a house. He even
admits he never did cement work and plans on doing it himself and just
"asking around" how to do it. I built homes years ago in Canada and I
would not even deal with it.
I don't know specific CA law, but all states have "homeowner exemption"
clauses that provide that an individual can serve as their own GC under
I'm certain if you googled the CA state web site you would have no
problem discovering what their particular version's requirements look
like. Of course, individual localities may have their own
restrictions/requirements on top of state law.
It's surprising how many who have no clue think it would be simple to do
this -- almost uniformly, the live to regret it unless they really do
have some knowledge.
I understand, but you are asking two different things...
1. The bank's attitude: it is up to them.
2. The ability of this person to actually build a servicable
In question 1, as I said, it is the bank's shot to call, each may have
very different rules.
In question 2, that is what building codes and building inspectors are
You ask "could he oversee" and I'm translating that as can he be the
general contractor. That is, he subcontracts the jobs to other
(qualified) contractors. Sure, if he's a smart person, can get good
sub-contractors, keeps his Ts crossed, his Is dotted.
Would I do that if I were him? No friggin way! I'm qualified, and it
is a major bit of work to get two, three or four sub-contractors all
workign together on teh same schedule, doing acceptable work!
As to his never having done cement work, and now wishes to do it
himself, well maybe he can... Again, I'm experienced... Guess what? I
hire someone to do that type of work, it takes practice and experience
to get it right, believe me.
So now I have to ask: what's your interest in this project anyway? Why
not sit back and watch the show so to speak?
I plan on sitting back and watching. The thing is I have seen some of
his work in respects to building, mechanical, and ,God forbid,
electrical work. He thinks you can square cement forms by using a
laser level ( This one I have to see).
I have tried to explain to him that he is going to have all of this
work inspected, and if does the electrical work himself he will try to
cut some corners and ending up having to rip all of it out and start
over. I am sure that who ever they get their house insurance from will
need to know who has done a lot of the work on different projects. He
figures since he can put in a light switch he is qualified to wire a
That *would* be quite some laser level, wouldn't it! I'm sure what he
is confused about is leveling the forms (which you can do with a laser
transit) and squaring the forms which is not going to work that way...
Wiring a house is not that difficult... Properly wireing a house is!
The building inspector will catch that one very fast.
Want some fun with him? Ask him how he's goign to wire in his AFCIs,
and which outlets will be protected...
If he's as bad as you are saying, then he'll not have a clue what an
AFCI is, or where it is required by code.
If your wonderment is why the bank gave him the loan, my guess would
be the usual one: he has collateral, favorable credit record or a co-signer.
If your subject
had none of those but the lender invested with him because of faith in his
ability, then it will
end real tough for the bank should results agree with your opinion.
But, if the house proposed is his property, then he is a qualified
California. That status doesn't require any contractor's license but it does
the funds to buy an insurance policy or set aside a sequestered
account of a specified valuation to cover specified liabilities.
Well as far as the bank thing goes they are going with someone that
"Bad Credit" is something they will work with. And yes the house is on
their property. The only thing that worries me is that its my step
daughter that he is married to, and she can be very gullible when it
comes to things like this.
As a father, I can tell you that there comes a time when you cannot
continue to 'protect' your children, and they will have to learn from
their mistakes. That's harsh, but the truth: you won't be around to
protect her forever.
My guess is that he'll not get very far at all, then realize iti is
much more work than he expected.
And now I have to run, I need to check on my sub-contractor who is
filling a trench... Sub-contractors are a lot of work, to be honest
No I understand that part about letting go. We both, Wife & I, tried
to tell them not to buy this lot, or more like a ski slope. They paid
full price and believe when I say that about the only thing that would
look good on it is a snow making machine. She then got plans for a
house from OR. from some on line designer. When she showed them to me
I told her they will not pass here in CA. Way to many windows in the
front of house and it was going to facing the West. She told me" Its
my house and I will build how I want, I don't care what the county
says". Well once they took the plans to the County, first thing they
said was, you guessed it,(1) to many windows in the front, (2) you
have to change the plans to meet Californias specs.(This was about
about a $1200 bill)
The problem is my step daughter is a stay at home Mother, and watches
to many programs about flipping homes. She thinks that it will only
cost them about $150,000.00 to build a 2800 sq.ft house, completely
finished including all appliances and furniture. I told her she better
do some re-adding. She wants me to build the kitchen part and by
looking at the amount of Cabinets and what she wants it will more than
likely be for the kitchen alone about $25,000 to $35,000.
I know she living a pipe dream, but its not the first time and also
not the first their bubble has been busted over some big ideas they
had and they fell thru.
Sorry to vent , but its frustrating to see how some people think that
"no one can tell me what to do, laws or no laws".when it comes to
building codes. I also look at the fact that this codes are put in to
protect people and to save big insurance claims and headaches.
You seem to know the score... Personally I think you have done all you
FWIW, a 2800 ft unfinished garage would probably cost more than wha
they want to spend. Hell, I just spent about $60K on an 1800 ft
garage, and that didn't include much of the labor! (but it is rather
nice now that it is done.)
Owner Builder........A person can build his or her own house. He needs to
follow the rules and regulations, and get inspections. He needs a permitted
plan and also a permitted lot or acre......age....
If he hires a person to do work, they need to have an official license
pertaining to the work they do.
Jloomis General Contractor , Calif.
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