Doing the Work Yourself


Once you demonstrate proficiency in a specific area by passing a Home owner's exam you will be able to complete several types of projects yourselfwithout hiring a contractor.
 

Homeowner’s Exams are given Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at Contractor Licensing, 201 W Colfax, 2nd Floor, Denver, CO 80202. There are no fees for the exam. For Homeowner verification you must be listed on the Assessor’s website at http://www.denvergov.org/Property  as the property owner or provide us a Deed listing you as an owner of the property. No other forms of ownership will be accepted.  Copies of your deed may be available from the Clerk and Recorder for a small fee.

The types of homeowner exams offered are:
    • Electrical (for Permit #3)
    • Mechanical (for Permit #11)
    • Plumbing (for Permit #4)
    • Refrigeration (for Permit #7)
    • Hot Water/Boiler (for Permit #4, #7, or #11)
    • Evaporative Cooling (for Permit #11)

Homeowner Exam Requirements:
 
 1.  The Owner-Occupier listed on the Assessor's website must be the individual taking the exam.
  
 2.   Owner-Occupiers of existing houses are allowed to pull permits and conduct work on their own homes (additions, alterations and repairs) after agreeing to occupy the home for 12 months and passing discipline specific exams.
 
 3.   Owner-Occupiers of existing houses are allowed to pull permits and conduct ALL work in the construction of NEW accessory structures (including detached garages) after agreeing to remain in the house for 12 months and passing all applicable discipline specific exams (no more often than once every 5 years).
 
 4.  Owner, who intend to occupy for at least 12 months are allowed to pull permits and conduct ALL work in the construction of NEW DWELLINGS after passing all applicable discipline specific exams (no more often than once every five years). 
 
 5.  The Homeowner must be performing the work himself or herself.
 
 6.  The dwelling must not be a condominium, apartment, or commercial building.
 
 7.  The Homeowner may have the assistance of one "Designated Worker" in taking the test.  The "Designated Worker" is an individual who will be assisting the homeowner with the work as well as the test, and cannot accept payment  from the Homeowner.
 
 8.  The Homeowner and "Designated Worker" must supply a current Colorado Photo ID or Driver's License.  A Colorado temporary Driver's License, other State-Issued Photo ID or Driver's License, Passport, or Federal issued Permanent Resident Card ("Green Card") may also be accepted with Department approval. 
 
 9.  The Homeowner must agree to the following test rules set forth by the Department.
 
  • Taking or using notes is prohibited during the exam.  Relevant code books are provided for your use on a "first-come, first-served" basis.  You may bring your own code books or instructional books; however, they may be reviewed by the Department and rejected for notations, or other inappropriate material.
  • Cell and mobile phones, 2-way radios and pagers are prohibited during the exam.
  • Contact with individuals outside the testing area is prohibited during the exam.  
  • If either the Homeowner or Designated Worker needs to leave the testing area for any reason they must return all test materials immediately.
  • In the event that the Homeowner fails an exam, they must wait a minimum of thirty minutes before re-taking the exam.
  • Permitting closes at 4:00 pm and Contractor Licensing closes at 4:30 pm.  All tests must be completed by 4:20 pm to be evaluated before the close of business.       

   

Hiring A Contractor

Get references. Be sure to talk to and visit at least three previous clients and utilize the Better Business Bureau at http://www.denverbbb.org.  You should also insist on proof that the contractor is insured and bonded. Check with the insurance company that the contractor's policy is current.
 
  • Verify that your contractor has a Denver license.
  • Insist that the contractor acquire all necessary building permits.
  • Avoid contractors who won’t give a receipt for payments.
  • Check that addresses and phone numbers are legitimate on business cards.
  • Ask for a backup plan if the contractor becomes ill or unavailable for any reason.
  • Get at least three bids in writing.
  • Never pay cash.
  • Avoid contractors demanding full payment up front without doing any work.  Deposits for materials are commonly required.  A reasonable pay schedule might include one-third upfront, one-third near completion and the final third after everything is done and cleaned up.  
  • Avoid contractors who will work without a written contract. Have a written contract detailing the work to be performed, cost associated with each task, and timeframe with estimated start and finish dates. Sign a contract that protects against liens from subcontractors. 

What to Include in Your Contract 

After selecting a contractor, get a written contract detailing the work to be performed, the costs associated with each task and a timeframe with estimated start and finish dates. Sign a contract that protects against liens from subcontractors and consider these additional tips for the completion of a good contract:

  • Written on company letterhead.
  • Contains the company's name, address, phone numbers and license number.
  • Contains the consumer's name, address (where work is to be performed) and phone numbers.
  • Is dated when it is written.
  • Provides a payment schedule and/or a schedule of values for payment 
  • Includes a termination clause.
  • Clearly states whether permits will be obtained, and who will be responsible for "pulling" them.
  • Provides a clear statement of inclusions and exclusions as it pertains to your project.

*Warning: Beware of unscrupulous contractors that suggest you, as the homeowner, secure the permit in your name.  The permit holder is legally responsible for the completion of the job to code standards. 

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