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Thurman 08-10-2009 09:17 PM

Alaskan homeowner working on home
Just in case someone in Alaska, Fairbanks area, reads this forum and may know this before I go up. My daughter lives in Fairbanks, she currently owns a duplex, living in one side and rents the other. She has decided to buy a house up there, and sell the duplex. She wants to "refurbish" (is the word she used) both sides of the duplex and has called on Dear Ole' Dad to come up and do the work, being as I do this for living down here. We're talking about replacing light fixtures, painting, new kitchen faucets, maybe replacing electrical switches/outlets. I asked her to find out if a homeowner can work on their own home in Fairbanks as some areas have different rules, and of course I am still waiting on an answer. She has found out that workers involved in building a home in the area must belong to a Union, as most construction workers up there do. I'm just wondering if a homeowner can work on their own home. Any knowledge on this subject? Thanks, David

PaliBob 08-11-2009 01:25 PM

David, I Emailed my contractor friend Dave, in Alaska with a Link to your inquiry and he replied with "No Problem"


Email from Dave in Alaska:
If I was him I would not hesitate in the least. Alaska laws are very loose and he will have no problems whatsoever.
.......... Never heard of the union thing – there are very few unions in the residential market up here and certainly no laws regarding who can work on your house based on union affiliation… In fact any old citizen can GC a house (supposed to be their’s) every 2 years.
I think Fairbanks has inspections, and they would want to look at major changes; but not minor ones such as he described…
David, I hope this helps. I have complete confidence in Dave's knowledge and judgment.

Thurman 08-11-2009 06:06 PM

Thanks, Bob. Nice of you to make the inquiry for me. BUT--"In fact any old citizen can GC a house". What's with him calling me an "old citizen"? I'm only sixety (60) and I'm starting to think 60 is not too old myself!
Just joking, Thanks, Bob, David

PaliBob 08-13-2009 03:28 AM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Thurman (Post 312821)
.......must belong to a Union, as most construction workers up there do........ Thanks, David

My Alaskan Contractor friend sent me a note today because he was concerned about the phrase that Most construction workers in Fairbanks belong to a Union. My friend lives South of Anchorage and most of his jobs are South in the Anchorage area, while Fairbanks is further North. The Paradox is why are Union jobs the norm in Fairbanks while they are the exception in the South.

Between us I think we found the reason. Fairbanks is an Army town of 35,000 (in the City) right next to Fort Wainwright, home to the 25th Army Division and one of the six Army Stryker Brigades. This is a BIG base. A lot of military construction jobs both on base for military facilities and for dependent housing are Union jobs held by folks that live in Fairbanks.
Note all the family Housing units at Fort Wainwright.
These are all Union Jobs,_Alaska


Termite 08-13-2009 08:06 AM

This question could be accurately (and not speculatively) answered by making a 5 minute call to the Fairbanks building codes department.

Thurman 08-14-2009 05:18 PM

kc, this is where my daughter started asking questions about the repairs, in person, as she works downtown Fairbanks. The replies she got, after being sent from office to office, were that "As a homeowner, she HAD to use Union Labor". They even gave her the phone numbers for the different trades locals. I have been up there numerous times and have seen commercial construction both on base and off-base and they have all of these huge banners telling which locals are on each job. I have not seen any banners on any residential building as residential building is almost non-existent up there right now. We're going with the "It's my house and I'll work on it myself" attitude as of now. She is actually a very good handyperson, with the exception of electricity, she just doesn't like that stuff. I wish I had pics, and soon will have, of some of the temporary housing quarters on Ft. Wainwright the are using now. They are converted overseas shipping containers. One container is one apartment. I believe a company out of Denver, CO. has the contract. My departure date is now Aug, 26, no definite return date. Thanks guy's for the help. David

Termite 08-14-2009 09:24 PM

Sure is unfortunate when local dirty politics mandate the use of unions, especially in residential construction! Nothing's right or fair about that.
I've inspected hundreds of union jobs and thousands of non-union jobs and can say with 100% certainty that the quality of the work does not generally differ between the two. It comes down to politicians getting their pockets lined. :no:

Although (for once) I don't disagree with the "its my house" stance, just be aware that the penalties can be mighty stiff if she gets caught working without permits. As an inspector I can tell you that neighbors who would consider themselves friendly with each other will call the city and anonymously taddle on their neighbors for doing unpermitted work. I get those calls all the time.

PaliBob 08-14-2009 09:30 PM

David, The reply your daughter got from the City, IMO reeks of chauvinism. 'Women cannot know how to fix anything, so she needs an expert from the Union'

...........We're going with the "It's my house and I'll work on it myself" attitude as of now...................../quote]
I agree,but I'd drop the qualifier "as of now". What are they going to do Call the cops if a neighbor reports that someone is painting their own Kitchen? You don't have anything to worry about.

Termite 08-14-2009 09:43 PM


Originally Posted by PaliBob (Post 314575)
What are they going to do Call the cops if a neighbor reports that someone is painting their own Kitchen? You don't have anything to worry about.

True with painting, but the electrical work he mentioned does require a permit per the NEC and the I-codes. Plus with it being a multifamily structure there are firewall considerations that might be involved if any electrical, plumbing, or sheetrock work takes place in certain walls.

Gary in WA 08-14-2009 10:01 PM

Electrical Q. Do I need a permit to change a switch or receptacle?
A. No, if the device is broken and will be replaced no permit is required. If a switch or receptacle is relocated then a permit is required.
Q. Who can get an electrical permit? A. A homeowner can get a electrical permit to do work on the home he lives in. After that an electrical contractor is required

From: Total time, 35 seconds--- took me longer to type this.
Be safe, G

Termite 08-15-2009 12:51 AM

Good info! Heck, they can't be all that bad...They're relaxing the heck out of the NEC's permit requirements for replacing switches and receptacles!

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