Become an Owner Builder
In lieu of a licensed contractor, owners of residential properties may elect to do the construction work themselves, subject to certain restrictions. The City of Miami issues Owner-Builder permits for owner-occupied One-family and Two-family residential work.
If you are planning to obtain your building permit as an Owner-Builder, you must be familiar with the State law governing the practice of construction contracting (Florida Statutes 489.103) and the Miami-Dade County Code of Ordinances Part II, Chapter 10, Section 10-5). Be advised that the City of Miami limits Owner-Builder permits to owner-occupied One-family and Two-family residential work.
What does an owner-builder need to know?
- Responsibility: You will be responsible for all work done by your day labor employees, and you must either employ licensed contractors or persons to be paid on an hourly or per diem basis. Anyone contracting (including labor) with you, verbally or in writing, on a fixed fee basis for any work, who is not properly licensed, will be subject to a fine of $500 and/or imprisonment for six months.
- Permit Knowledge: An owner may apply for a permit, supervise and do the work in connection with the construction, maintenance, repair, alteration, and addition to a single-family or duplex residence for his own use and occupancy, and not intended for sale.
A permit is valid for 180 days from the date of issuance, or from the last approved inspection.
- Insurance: If your day labor employees cause any damage to persons or property, or if any of your day labor employees are injured on the job, you are liable. Your regular home insurance policy ordinarily does not cover this type of liability.
- Taxes: You are advised to investigate your responsibility for withholding Social Security, Federal and State Unemployment Insurance Taxes and Federal Income taxes from the wages of employees working for you on the proposed construction, and for making returns thereof to the proper agencies.
- Demolition Work: Before starting demolition, you are responsible for disconnecting all utilities, including water, sewer, septic tank, electrical service, gas, telephone, cable TV, etc. Also, you are required to obtain a permit from the State of Florida Department of Health in order to abandon any septic tank that is on the property.
- No more than one (1) master permit shall be issued to an owner for the new construction, addition or alteration of a single-family or duplex residence in any twenty-four (24) month period. Additional permits that are required in connection with the master permit may be issued to the Owner-Builder as needed, without the need for further testing-- except that roofing, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and gas permits may only be issued to appropriately-licensed contractors.
- Violations: If there is a violation on the property:
- a. No building permit will be issued to a homeowner to cover illegal work.
- b. The work must be done by a general contractor or a specialty contractor licensed to do the work.
- c. Permits for all work must be obtained (i.e. Building, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, etc.).
- d. An architect’s or engineer’s report may be required, certifying that the work was done in accordance with the applicable code, and general construction practices as a substitute for required inspections.
To qualify for the Owner-Builder permit, the following is required:
- PROOF OF OWNERSHIP: You must submit proof of ownership of the land concerned in the application in the form of a recorded deed, showing that you own the property, or a copy of the warranty deed of the land, or a Miami-Dade County tax receipt statement to contain the legal description of the property, and indicating the property is in your name (not a business entity). The name and legal description on the document of proof must correspond to the name and legal description on the application.
- The owner must prove to the Building Official, or a designee, that he/she has the knowledge and ability to do the work, and that he/she fully understands his legal obligations. A short interview is required, and a test will be administered.
How do I request "owner-builder” status?
State and county law require that you demonstrate to the Building Official that you have a complete understanding of your legal obligations under an Owner-Builder permit. To qualify for the permit, you will be required to pass a short examination consisting of multiple choice questions relating to the topic.
You need to meet in person with Building Department personnel for a brief interview and testing, and to sign a disclosure.
You can do so between the hours of 8:00 AM - 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM, at:
Miami Riverside Center - MRC 444 SW 2nd Ave - 4th Floor
What is the disclosure statement?
State law requires that you read and sign & notarize a disclosure statement before you can be issued a permit as an Owner-Builder.