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Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 8517
Experience:  Retired contractor, 51 years experience
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I live in Modesto California and would like to build my own

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I live in Modesto California and would like to build my own house in a residential area, the house will be 5000 sq.ft made out of reinforced concrete. If I have drawings of the house design stamped by civil engineers to show design complies with building codes and standards.... what do I need to do as far as permits and other paperwork? And how much should I expect it to cost without hiring anybody, as in I'll do run around myself?
Welcome to Just Answer.

I hold questions open after positive ratings to allow for unlimited follow up. Please be patient though. The research & typing take time.

Take the plans to the city building permits department and ask for a review of the plans and the total permit costs. They may or may not approve that size building on the lot or for that neighbor hood... your house has to fit in with the citys plans for that particular area and city block.

Civil engineering stamp only approves the lot, drainage and soil conditions not the house construction. You will have to take the detailed plans to the building inspection and permit department, they can evaluate the plans for you.

... and other information about getting a building permit in Modesto.

Doing all or much of the work yourself will save you at least 50% on the cost of the project. If you do not have experience building homes, It will be a good idea to pay an established local home construction contractor to coach you.

You can get references to good contractors from the local BUILDERS EXCHANGE.


If you choose to rate my services so far *positively, I will be able to hold this question open for you so get into this in a bit more detail if you wish.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't wanna start the process of submitting plans to the city until I have an idea of what to expect.... The building will be two levels, so that makes it 2500sq.ft. per level.... So I'm looking to understand how the permit cost is calculated and I'm also hoping you'd give me what you think will be the cost just so I have an idea.... is it $100 or $10,000 and what determines the cost?



Hello again, the permit cost is calculated on the assessed value of the completed project regardless of type of construction or home owner doing the work.

Your very best move will be to stop by the Modesto builders exchange, walk up to the front desk, and tell them you are looking a little for a bit of free advice from an established local home builder... he will be way more than happy to give you the benefit of his experience with the *local burocracy in the hopes of getting part of your project.... that is will not have to give him your name or location of the proposed building site.


Arrive between 7 and 8 am on a week day.

I have seen projects in some cities where the building permit and ongoing inspection costs have been 30% or more of a finished project costs.

Construction costs if you have work done by a contractor on that job will be between $70 and $100 per square foot

if you do most of the work you can reduce that by 50% or so

Any closer estimate with the data given would be a disservice to you... each job is different... and for the purposes of permits and taxation, doing it yourself does not save any money.... it is the city that will determine the value in any case... even if you could show you got the work done for nothing and the materials free... the building permit costs and property taxes etc would remain the same.

Modesto California costs will be 10 to 15% higher than the average shown here if the lot is level.

Let me know what you think, we can go from there.


Phil and other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much, you've been a great help... I'll continue my research and will contact you if I have anymore questions.