I’ve gotten lots of emails from many of you stating that you love the show, but that you decided to hire a builder. It’s almost as if you were apologizing for hiring a builder. But this podcast is for anyone building a house, so we can all build a quality dream home with or without a general contractor.
Some people just aren’t interested in contracting their own homes. They don’t have the time or interest to make all the decisions that builders have to make. They don’t feel comfortable hiring and managing subs, and, for them, hiring a general contractor is the best course of action. There should be no shame associated with hiring as much help as you need to build your house.
The purpose of this podcast/blog to help all of us make informed decisions and better understand the construction process, whether we use a builder or not.
When I started this show 2.5 years, I wanted to be my own builder. But at that time, I worked at a large hospital with lots of people so I was allowed to leave during the workday from time to time, as long as I had someone to cover me.
I now work at a smaller hospital and I really don’t have anyone to cover me during the day, so sneaking away several times a week to check on a job site and have meetings is not an option.
Despite my restrictive work schedule, I still held on to some hope that I could act as my own general contractor and simply meet with subs and go to the job site before and after work. But I’ve found, even during this pre construction phase, that my limited availability is slowing down the process. Since I can’t meet with subs, or people like my engineer, as readily as I would like, things have been moving pretty slowly. Too slowly.
Not only has my work schedule posed some challenges for my forward progress, but because I have a rocky, unusual site that is more difficult than the typical suburban home site, I thought it would be best to hire a builder on a more full time basis, as opposed to just hiring a builder as a consultant.
I decided to hire a builder as a construction manager. That means that although I will have a full time, experienced builder working on the house, I will officially be an owner builder, the general contractor for the project. I’ll be the one who will take out the liability and builders risk insurance. I will make the final decisions about the subs and pay the subs with the construction manager’s guidance.
The builder who’s acting as my construction manager will not warranty my house. But the subs that I hire will have a warranty and just as a builder would call a sub if problems arise in the completed house, I can call the subs for any problems.
A construction manager or CM does almost everything a builder would do, but he won’t have to take on the liability of the project. So if anything goes wrong or if anything needs to be repaired, instead of calling the builder, I will have to call the appropriate subs. My Construction manager has agreed to help me communicate with my subs if anything needs to be repaired.
The agreement that we have is that he will help me submit and analyze bids. I will submit a couple of bids independently to make sure that his subs’ prices are not too different from my subs' prices. He will oversee all aspects of the construction, including daily site visits. He will order any materials I want him to, but I will pay for all materials. My CM will be on the job site to receive materials when they come in.
He’s managing all the construction for a flat fee. That fee is significantly lower than what I would pay a general contractor. To learn more about what construction managers do, take a listen to episode 7 called BUILD YOUR HOUSE YOURSELF, BUT NOT ALL BY YOURSELF.
So that’s where we are, a few weeks behind my preconstruction schedule due to make inability to get away during the day, but moving forward, now with a construction manager on board. I feel really good about that decision.
I also made a slight change to my house plan. I told you in a previous episode that I love my house plan, but one thing that I wasn’t crazy about was that upstairs you had to go through the bedrooms to get to the bathrooms. I didn’t really like that, but I didn’t want to add an extra powder room or a hallway upstairs, so going through the bedrooms was the best choice, especially because we won’t have guests upstairs very often. But one day recently a solution just came to me. I simply flipped one bedroom and bathroom so guests can enter the bathroom either through the bedroom or through a cased opening off of the upstairs lounge.
When we get closer to finishing the house, I’ll post our house plan so you can see the layout of the house, but I want to wait until the project is complete.
One final thing, good news for anyone about to begin construction: Lumber prices have indeed dropped significantly from peak prices in the the spring and summer. They are not half price, but they are a lot cheaper.
CLICK HERE FOR THE GRAPH OF THE LUMBER PRICES
Please remember that the purpose of this podcast is simply to educate and inform. It is not a substitute for professional advice. The information that you hear is based the only on the opinions, research and experiences of my guests and myself. That information might be incomplete and it’s subject to change, so it may not apply to your project. In addition, building codes and requirements vary from region to region, so always consult a professional about specific recommendations for your home.