I go to a church in Chicago that needs a new roof for one of their facilities. For my own home, I can sign a Certificate of Responsibility where it is my job to insure that all the work is up to code, etc. However, as a private citizen who would volunteer for this; I'm not bonded, licensed or insured in anything.

Will any work done by unlicensed volunteers pass code? Is it even OK for a group of volunteers to do roof work on a church? Do I have to be, or need a licensed contractor on site, to do roofs? Since the church is a public building, do different rules apply? Do I have to follow commercial code here?

I'd appreciate any suggestions towards something I may have missed, things that I might 'get away with' or be eligible for, because it is a church.

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    The church itself, as the property owner, might be able to declare itself as an "owner/builder" and pull the permits for the roofing job. It can then use literally anybody to perform the labor, as the church has the responsibility (and the liability) for all aspects of the work: code compliance, safety, labor-law adherence, compensation for injured workers, etc. It is usually smarter to hire a licensed contractor. Check with the local building dept. before making any decision. Nov 3, 2014 at 3:33
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about legal matters, not do-it-yourself home improvement.
    – Tester101
    Nov 3, 2014 at 11:21
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    "Nobody steps on a church in my town!" -Dr Venkman
    – Mazura
    Nov 4, 2014 at 3:04
  • You should contact your local building department, they will be able to answer this question for you better than anyone here can.
    – Tester101
    Nov 4, 2014 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


You are going to have to call your local city hall. They will tell you if you need to pull permits and what checks there are.

As for "roofing" - there is no roofing certification so in theory anyone can put a roof up. The church's insurance might not like this but if the city signs off on it or doesn't care than put up the roof.

I would highly suggest that you get a local roofing company and let them know of your situation. Most would be willing to take on a smaller profit for having a foreman out to a site with many volunteers.

I am not sure what the height and slope of the church is though. With a steep peak this might not be doable. Just a lot of variables here. And you don't want someone getting hurt and there being no church left.

  • @mj_ There's no roofing certification for you, personally, but it still has to meet code. Novices do not belong on the roof of a building any taller than a garage, if even that. Tread carefully, metaphorically and literally.
    – Mazura
    Nov 3, 2014 at 20:54
  • @Mazura - if you met my roofing crew you would be astonished that they could even drive to the site, let alone walk and chew gum. Nicest guys in the world... brightest I don't know. Roofing is pretty simple but can be dangerous. Anyone can put on a roof and if they do it right, it will pass code.
    – DMoore
    Nov 4, 2014 at 2:05
  • I should of said but the ROOF has to meet code (structure). 99% chance some joist needs attention, anyway. -I was warned once in the suburbs that because I was adding plywood sheathing to the roof; I had to pull permits.
    – Mazura
    Nov 4, 2014 at 2:24

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