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I got a buddy who claims he was the first Owner-Builder on Camano Island. The year was 1977, the same year I bought my shack. I met him 13 years later and we ended up building 3 sailboats together, one for each of us and one for his pal the building inspector who became my friend too. Ironically, I may be one of the last Owner-Builders in Island County. I don’t think my permit was ever signed off on so I may well be the last official O-B.
I guess maybe they figured the codes got too complex for us amateur housebuilders, all those R-factors for insulation and E-glass in fenestrations and X-factors for our marriages. Or maybe it was this: a permit for an Owner-Builder was next to nothing, something like $50 when I got ours. The county might’ve done the taX-factor and realized us hippies were costing them revenue. Maybe some of us built our own palaces to save the permit expense, but I would’ve paid full freight just for the right to build my own place the way I wanted. A few hundred bucks wasn’t gonna stop me.
I spoze we can still build our own Xanadu, nothing to stop us. Just have to disclose that a rank amateur threw the hammer and ran the saw, flashed the windows, shingled the roof, installed the electric and plumbing and if you’re the prospective buyer, best beware!!! The people at the county sheds told me I’d be a Total Idiot to apply for an Owner-Builder status. Boy, he read me like a book. A comic book, I’d bet.
By the time I got our permit, us Owner-Builders had to meet the same codes as any fly-by-night contractor, go through the same inspections, all the rigamarole as the Big Boyz. In other words, the government here doesn’t allow for hippie shacks or slam-bang cabins. We got to build our parents’ suburban homes. Might explain why kids just stay with their folks now — why bother building the same damn place twice?