Being Your Own General Contractor
Considering being a General Contractor (GC) for your home renovation? If you are doing a small renovation and trying to cut costs, then this could be a great experience. On the flip side, if you have a very large renovation and a full-time job (i.e. no time to check in with your trades) then your renovation could end up costing you much more than you anticipated. To make an informed decision, you will need to be aware of what you are responsible for.
The GC is responsible for hiring all the trades, buying the product needed to complete the job, procuring additional product where required, getting any required permits, and ensuring that one task flows smoothly with the next. If you can’t get the supplies the trades need, then work stops, but trades may still charge you for their time, regardless of whether or not they were working. Trades usually allot a certain amount of time for your job, therefore making design changes may be cause for them to charge more than their original estimate, or that trade may move on to the next job after their allotted time is up. If you change your design too much, or you don’t have product ready for the trades you may be charged more than the original estimate, as it adds unexpected hours to the job.
Make sure that all trades are fully aware of the overall plan and check on them regularly. You will be the one responsible to make sure each task flows seamlessly from one to another. Make sure you have the proper time and energy to put into the project. Don’t just give the trades your keys and leave for vacation…you definitely won’t be happy upon your return. Make sure there is a contract with a timeline and pay structure for each and every trade. This will help keep everyone on the same page.
When you are the boss and something goes wrong on your job site, you cannot just go yell at the GC to fix it. You will be the one on the hook. If simple procedures were not followed, you will be the one having to fix it. For example, if you have hired a tile setter to tile your tub surround, but you have not supplied him with the proper water-proofing membrane, he will most likely install the tile regardless of water proofing. As soon as you start using the shower, water will be stuck behind the tiles creating decay and mold. This will in turn cost you heaps more money. If you had a GC for the job, such a mistake would be his responsibility to check on and fix.
Never be afraid to ask questions. There are many people and places that would be more than happy to help you out. Make sure to hire tradesmen that you feel comfortable asking questions, and be sure to ask those questions. If you don’t, and something is done incorrectly, you will be the only one to blame. Even the smallest question deserves an answer, so don’t be shy.
If reading this blog just freaks you right out, then hiring a GC may be the right thing for you. The added cost may save you many sleepless nights. GCs are professionals who are used to dealing with trade conflicts, suppliers and schedules, which is what you are paying them for.
Being your own GC can be a great experience, and sometimes it really helps you get exactly what you want. It can allow you to do the job at a slower pace, thus enabling you to really think through your decisions and save some big coin.
If you have any questions or concerns whatsoever, the staff at Tile and Stone Source will be more than happy to help you out!
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