When your new home is being built, you can take one of two approaches. You can be a passive observer and let a contractor do their job without interference. When you take this, you had better be sure that you trust your contractor to follow your wishes. Instead, you can take an active approach and act as your own contractor. It is this approach that will be discussed below.
Is It Possible To Be Your Own Contractor?
Yes, it is more than possible. At this point, you might be thinking that it takes a lot of experience and knowledge to do this kind of thing properly. However, we are not talking about taking the place of those who actually do the work. Those people are called subcontractors. Rather, you can act as a general contractor.
A general contractor coordinates the activities of various subcontractors. Although this job certainly requires some skill, it can be done. In essence, all you have to do is make the schedules of the various subcontractors work in a harmonious way. This helps the work to be done more efficiently. That is the entire essence of the job. By taking on this job for yourself, you can save some serious money.
Finding The Right Subcontractors
This is where intelligent and successful contractors will be separated from those who are not so intelligent. It is certainly easy to find a group of people that are willing to do some construction work. However, finding good people can be a lot more difficult.
Make sure you do your homework on any potential subcontractor that you choose to hire. This should include both personal background checks on everyone in charge, but also investigations regarding the company’s work record.
Laying The Foundation
During this phase of construction, workers will level the area and place wooden boards around the edges to form a container. Concrete is then poured into this mold to form the foundation of the house.
Site prep may involve the use of a backhoe or other land-clearing equipment, but this will depend on just how rough the land may be. Any footers that may be deemed necessary will also be formed and poured during this stage. After the concrete has cured, it will be time for your first building inspection. After this, the frame can be removed.
In this stage, workers will construct what looks like the “skeleton” of the house. That is to say; they will erect the support members for the walls and ceilings, setting the stage for the work to come.
Next, this skeletal frame will be covered with a layer of plywood (or some type of pressed board, perhaps). At this point, you will finally have something that is beginning to look like a house. At this point, however, the naked wood is still vulnerable to the weather. It must be protected with a house wrap. There are quite a few kinds, but the good news is that they don’t have to last very long. As you might expect, there will be another inspection when the frame is completed.
Roofing, Plumbing, Electrical, And HVAC
In this phase, you can accomplish several things at the same time. While one group of contractors builds the roof, other groups will run the various utility lines. These will include wiring, ductwork, installation of electrical receptacles and switches, water pipes, drainage and sewer connections, etc.
In most cases, HVAC vents are added first, because it’s not that hard to run a wire around a pipe. It’s a little harder to do the opposite, so install the HVAC first. At the end of this stage, you will have multiple inspections to handle. There will probably be one for the roof, another for the electrical system, and another for the plumbing.
Insulation And Drywall
Once the plywood shell has been constructed, and when all necessary utility lines have been installed and inspected, you are ready to have your drywall delivered to the work site to begin this phase.
Insulation can be made of many different materials, but fiberglass is the most common material by far. Foam insulation isn’t bad, but spray-in foam might be a bad sign if it is being overused. This kind of foam is very hard to remove, so don’t let the subcontractors go crazy with that stuff. The main thing here is to keep a watchful eye out for any gaps in the insulation. All outside walls should be covered equally. Make sure you check those hard-to-reach corners where workers may be tempted to skimp.
Once the insulation is in place, the drywall will be cut and hung in place. All of the insulation should be covered, and all the boards should fit together with little to no gap. A tiny gap is only acceptable because mud and tape will cover the gap. However, precise cutting is required here. After this, a primer coat of paint is added. Make sure that you are left with a smooth set of walls that is ready for painting.
At this point, you have a house that is nearly ready to be used. Your walls and roof are finished, your foundation should be sound, but there are still a lot of little things to finish before the job is done. At this stage of the project, workers will be working on things like this:
- Doors (interior and exterior)
- Windows and window sills
- Porches and patios
Of course, this is where a lot of your specific design expectations are going to come into play. The process of pouring a foundation and creating a wooden shell will not vary much from one home to another. However, this stage will be the one that really serves to bring character and uniqueness to the home.
It should be admitted that this guide will not tell you everything that you need to know. Indeed, a full examination of all these processes would take far longer to read and would be outside the scope of this article. However, we can certainly see that it isn’t all that hard to serve as your own contractor.
As the old saying goes, the only way to see a job done right is to do it yourself. We hope you have enjoyed this article, and we invite you to fill out the contact form below to receive more quality information like this.