Be Your Own General Contractor
Many people wonder if they can act as their own general contractor (or GC), manage the building of their cabin and save money on building their log home. If it's the case that you:
have experience in construction or are comfortable dealing with the many trades involved in building a log cabin, are very well-organized, can take time off from work or don’t have a job.
If these are true for you, then you might
consider this plan. After all, you can save as much as 20%
of the overall cost of the job.
Be aware that it is a much bigger job than you think and to save time and energy you must stay ahead of the rest of the building crews and follow a plan. You will need to be able to track every detail of a very complex, evolving project.
For an insider's guide including a hands-on action plan, consider investing in a copy of "The Ultimate Guide to Contracting Your Own Home: Save 30 to 40 Percent on the Cost of Your New Home". It contains a ton of practical information that will save you money.
You must be able to complete a set of
detailing every step of the construction process and listing precise, specific materials, sizes, manufacturers and colors of products to be installed.
These specifications will be used to obtain comparable and fair bids and will become a part of the final set of contract documents including the construction contract, contract specifications, draw schedule, log home package, change orders and building plans.
CONTRACTOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Here are just a few of the duties and responsibilities of a contractor that are critical to a smooth log cabin build. Carefully consider if you want to act as your own general contractor and handle each of these on your own:
Scheduling deliveries so that crews are not facing down-time
Timing the weather and dealing with the delays
Establishing contracts, financing and insurance
Drawing up a complete specification list
Checking deliveries of lumber and building products and returning incorrect items
Coordinating subcontractors so trades can get in and get out efficiently
Keeping the money flowing from draws or savings
Scheduling each step of the build process at the proper time
Checking completed jobs and deciding if it is correctly done
Following up on warranties and guarantees
Meshing the gray areas where one trade leaves off and another begins
Cleaning up the debris after projects are done
Keeping subcontractors happy knowing their work is appreciated
Reviewing building plans and ensuring things are built to specifications
Dealing with building codes, building permits and building inspectors
Supplying all the little items, often unclear who should provide and which, if ignored, can slow down a job dramatically (like nails, adhesive, batteries, insulation foam, work lights, extension cords, blades, etc.)
Ensuring that every subcontractor signs lien waivers for payment
Providing portable toilets on-site
Dealing with utility companies about running in water, electric and phone lines
The secret to a smooth and efficient build is establishing and following a timeline that works.
First, consider critical-path items that must be finished before you can move on to the next step. For example, you can’t install the main subfloor until the footers and foundation is complete, but you can’t pour footers and foundation walls until the excavation is completed.
Once you’ve established your critical-path items, fill out the rest of your building check-list in order, scheduling items and projects as early as possible.
Be prepared for weather delays, subcontractors not showing up by being delayed on cabin construction projects not as well organized as yours, errors in material deliveries, etc. Acting as your own general contractor you have nobody else to blame or turn to when problems arise.
Add in some time padding but keep pushing ahead and don’t accept excuses. It’s a fine balance between being necessarily selfish and aggressive enough to fulfill your building contractor responsibilities and still being understanding and flexible with other workers involved in your cabin build.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR CONTRACTOR RICH
If you’re looking for a way to spend a lot of money – make design modifications after construction starts. Most people don’t appreciate the additional time and cost of making changes during construction. The log cabin construction process is already a delicate juggling act involving dozens of people with their own juggling acts. A seemingly small design change can wreak havoc on schedules and material deliveries and cost the homeowner plenty.
As your own general contractor you must forge ahead with the original plans and specifications unless something absolutely must be changed – then be prepared to lose time and spend money.
Even if you choose to work through a professional building contractor rather than acting as your own general contractor, understanding the issues and responsibilities of a GC will be useful in dealing with problems as they arise and, most importantly, accurately and thoroughly laying out the technical specifications and the complete meanings of those specifications.
The best way to prepare is by utilizing the expertise gained from over 30 years of professional building experience. Click here to check out "The Ultimate Guide to Contracting Your Own Home: Save 30 to 40 Percent on the Cost of Your New Home".
Check out Recommended Reading at the Virtual Library
Log Home Building Tools
Look at Sample Contract Specifications
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