design/build difficulty

Old 08-19-03, 06:53 PM
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design/build difficulty

I have two home designs that Im trying to decide upon. I found the plans on the internet and Im having difficulting deciding which way to go. My current plan is to do as much of the work myself, framing, siding, windows, finish work to keep the cost down. Our current house has appreciated in value so much as to allow us to build our own home and possibly have no mortgage. This is the main reason why Im going through this "pain".

Im looking at two types of plans, cape and colonial. I like the cape style but I feel its going to be more expensive to build, ie the larger foundation, larger roof etc. The colonial seems to be more efficient when it comes to building, the roof is smaller and foundation is smaller for equal square footage. If interested, I can post the link to the plans Im looking at. My question is, am i right in my thinking that the colonial will be cheaper to build? I prefer the cape, how can I figure the cost difference? If its a difference of 10-20k, I could see going with the cape. However, if the difference is more than 20k I would have to go with the colonial.

Any help, thoughts, or comments will be greatly appreciated.
Old 08-19-03, 07:24 PM
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Since you are the builder, you have to determine the amount of material is required, this is simple math as any General Contractor has to determine the costs of a project before he/she offers a final quote.

If you have the experience in doing this, then the question doesn't need to be asked. Since you are asking, I am wondering if you are undertaking a project that may be best done by others. In saying that, I realize that the costs would go up but you are still going to need manpower anyway and hopefull have the skills to construct this in a timely manner as it will increase the overall costs.

I wrote this and you may want to review it,

Many times, I receive e-mails about "being my own contractor". In fact, this is contemplated by almost everyone when you consider the money that could be saved and the thought of building your own home or undertaking a major renovation project. The truth is that not alot of money is saved, if any, especially when you add up all the time that is involved. Yep, I have heard these lines and you probably have too like, "I'll be doing alot of the labor myself and that will save me money" or "I'll be able to get better buys on the material because the Contractor upcharges on this and that".

The truth is about being honest with yourself and not to pull a major accounting error because it looks good. Your time is worth money. What is your hourly pay? Do you think you should add more to your rate when doing this project? Are you really skilled enough to increase the hourly rate? Can you afford to schedule and inspect the progress of the work being done? Can you afford to take time off work when things come up and trust me, they will? Are you going to get whatever material is needed when not enough material is on site or the wrong/bad material is delivered? Can you do this when requested or do you tell the subcontractors to just go home? Who is going to take care of this? Do you have all the tools to accomplish what is required in your venture? Do you have the manpower and subcontractors needed to accomplish this project in a timely manner? Is all of the above considered "free time" on your behalf? More times than not, a owner will not include the time they put in, making the bottom line look great! Is this being honest with yourself? Don't think so.

Other issues will include what you are looking for, what your design is and how to accomplish it. The questions below are just some that you should consider to better guide you to the next step in your venture.

1. Describe your current home. What do you like about it? What's missing? What don't you like?
2. Do you want to change the space you have?
3. Do you want to build a new home?
4. Why do you want to build a house or add to or renovate your current home? Do you need more room? Are children grown and moving on? Is you lifestyle changing?
5. What is your life-style? Are you at home a great deal? Do you work at home? Do you entertain often? How much time do you spend in the living areas, bedrooms, kitchen, den or office, utility space, etc.?
6. How much time and energy are you willing to invest to maintain your home?
7. If you are thinking of adding on, what functions/activities will be housed in a new space?
8. What kind of spaces do you need, e.g., bedrooms, expanded kitchen, bathrooms, etc.?
9. How many of those spaces do you think you need?
10. What do you think the addition/renovation/new home should look like?
11. If planning on a new home, what do you envision in this home that you don't have now?
12. How much can you realistically afford to spend? Have you talked to a financial advisor?
13. How soon would you like to be settled into your new home or addition? Are there rigid time constraints?
14. If you are contemplating building a home, do you have a site selected?
15. Do you have strong ideas about design styles? What are your design preferences?
16. Who will be the primary contact with the architect, designer, contractor, and others involved in designing and building your project? (It is good to have one point of contact to prevent confusion and mixed messages.)
17. What qualities are you looking for in an architect/designer?
18. How much time do you have to be involved in the design and construction process?
19. Do you plan to do any of the work yourself? Be honest with yourself. Thinking and knowing are two different things. Hiring a General Contractor is usually the best choice..
20. How much disruption in your life can you tolerate to add on to or renovate your home?

The above is not to discourgae those from attempting to take on such a project but to instill all that will come with the responsibility once it gets going. The above is just a sample of things to consider, other issues will be financing, insurance to cover subcontractors, building material theft, bonds, workers compensation that would be part of the Owner's responsibility. These items are taken care of by the General Contractor along with all the other duties that surround the title. I applaud any homeowner who tackles a new home or major renovation as the process is long and very time consuming. In conclusion, yes, it can cost more than hiring a General Contractor when you really add up all the costs involved. "Sweat Equity" is basically a play on words. You'll have to decide.

Roof systems are usually done with pre-manufactured trusses with emphasis on trying to minimize any hand framing. Your plans should be very specific and realistically, you should have had some material take-offs done on both. This would easily determine material costs. The issue on labor would have to be figured by yourself.

I would like to suggesting reading the link below before considering what you are doing, buying plans online just to help in forewarning you and others who do this.

If you would like, send me what you have so I can take a look what you are considering.

Hope this helps!

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