Homeowner's Handbook

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Building a New Home?
Need a New Roof?
Plumbing Problems?
Sun Room Dreams?

Please take a few minutes to review the following tips before you hire a contractor to do any work similar to the above projects.


The Columbia County area is fortunate to have the Builder's Association of Metro Augusta along with Columbia County ordinances to promote a high level of experienced contractors.  The Builder's Association has a Remodeler's Council which assists in offering educational opportunities for contractors to maintain a high standard for business.

However, not all contractors operate within the law.  Every year consumers become victims of unscrupulous contractors.

Avoid Dealing With Contractors Who:

  • Use high-pressure sales tactics.
  • Pressure you to sign contracts and documents immediately.
  • Tell you they can help you get a loan from a lender they know.
  • Only accept cash payments.
  • Demand payment for the entire job up front.
  • Ask you to get the required building permits.

Tips For Hiring A Reputable Contractor:

  • All contractors who accept money for services provided are required to maintain a current occupation tax (commonly referred to as a business license).
  • Find out how long the contractor has been in business.
  • Obtain and check several references from former customers, preferable those who had similar work done.  If possible, inspect the contractor's work.
  • Talk to subcontractors about the contractor's payment history.  The State of Georgia may allow subcontractors and/or suppliers to file a mechanic's lien against your home to satisfy their unpaid bills.  Ask the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers for a lien release or lien waiver.
  • Make sure that the contractor is responsible for obtaining any permits required for the job.
  • Make sure the subcontractors have a current occupation tax.

Other Tips:

  • Always get a written contract.
  • Make sure all inspections have been performed and completed.
  • Make sure the contractor completes the job.  Don't make final payment until all of the work meets the standards spelled out in the contract, you have received written warranties for materials and workmanship, you have proof that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid, the job-site has been cleaned up, you have inspected and approved the completed work and that the County has issued a certificate of occupancy.


Homeowners may act as their own general contractor if the following steps are met:

  1. For new home construction and additions only, please call 706-312-7438 to schedule an appointment with Byron Fulmer.  At this meeting you will need to bring your plans.  He will inform you of all the necessary steps of construction and permitting.  For a copy of the approved plan submittal check list click here.
  2. Obtain proper permits.  The residential permit requirements are listed on this form.  At this point you will need to show proof of worker's compensation insurance.
  3. Follow all required inspections.  View the list of required inspections here.


Building Permits are required for:
New Construction • Additions • Roofing • Major Renovations • Swimming Pools • Decks • Sheds over 200 square  feet • Signs • Sprinkler Installations • Major Repairs • Siding & Windows • Demolition

Trade Permits are required for:
All new installations and certain repair work • Electrical meter resets and service changes

A Permit is not required for:
Sidewalks and driveways • Painting, wallpapering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, and similar finish work • Fences under 6 feet high • Retaining walls under 4 feet

Please call 706-868-3420 to verify if your work requires a permit.