Should I Hire a Remodeling General Contractor?
Have you thought, should I be my own remodeling general contractor? You are not alone, but in deciding to manage your remodeling project yourself and going it alone without hiring a qualified remodeling contractor, it’s important that you know all of the required tasks required.
An experienced general contractor oversees and manages the entire remodeling or renovation project, ensuring that the work is done to your satisfaction. While it’s not unreasonable to think that a homeowner could act as their own contractor and save on some costs, it’s a demanding role that requires professional skills, years of knowledge, and much time on the job.
Suppose your construction project requires substantial framing and structural modifications to hold new roof loads. In that case, you will need an engineer who will calculate these new stress loads. A good engineer will find the best solutions and back them up with his certification and stamp.
I have seen cases where one engineer over calculated and ordered the 2nd floor of a home to hold the weight of a semi-truck, which is not easily explained to the customer upon final inspection and costs. A good remodel contractor will have a good engineer who makes good decisions and will add value to the project and not spend resources that are not needed.
Architects and Designers
Suppose there’s an architect or designer involved. In that case, our company will work with that person(s) to guarantee the project is implemented as planned. The architect and company will review the plans together before any work begins. Then, if problems arise, the architect and designer look to the experienced company for advice to solve workable solutions. It’s a receptacle relationship that all parties have been involved in for many years and can be difficult for most homeowners to replicate.
Gather and Evaluate Bids
Every company has a network of trusted crews that allows the company to gather accurate bids quickly. However, if you act as your residential general contractor, accomplishing the same will require more time and effort.
You’ll need to get bids for every trade; framing, electrical, foundation, plumbing, etc.
Suppose one crew shows you a different way of doing something. In that case, you’ll need to communicate that to all the other crews and have them re-bid the remodel so that all the estimates are the same.
You’ll need to know the products and techniques used by each crew to determine if all are of equal or more superb quality and value.
Running the Construction Crews
Once you have all the trades lined up and ready to go, “get everything in writing,” keep it in a binder with one per trade to refer to if times get tight quickly. Having everything in writing holds the businesses you hired to what they promised on the quality of materials and labor.
Coordinating a project with the busy schedules of multiple crews is a challenge to most homeowners. When a good company is on the job, his teams are willing to commit to tight schedules. If an inexperienced homeowner is managing, however, those crews will often request more time, which can add weeks to the completion date of your project.
A well-managed home remodeling general contractor completes the needed tasks efficiently; that’s why projects managed by a professional rarely run behind schedule. We answer questions and resolve any issues. The remodeling contractor has to be on the job regularly, overseeing and inspecting the work.
Permits and the Associated Inspections
To ensure a safe working environment for the homeowner, city permits, when needed, maybe required before demolishing, building, or enlarging most remodeling construction projects.
Even if you do not think you need a permit for that tiny room addition, most cities will check with Google maps as they are updated to find new rooflines. They can check if that homeowner has pulled a permit. You do not want to get that knock on the door after the fact.
Cities will have structures disassembled to the point that they can be inspected, and in some cases, with concrete slabs, they may require them to be removed.
An experienced residential remodeling contractor will know which projects will require permits and which don’t and have the knowledge to work with the city to get the proper permits for the renovation. The construction company meets with the city inspectors at the job site.
The best intents do not add up if there is a default in either the manufacturers’ product or a trade’s wrongful installation. However, a qualified home remodeling contractor will know how to follow up on the manufacturer and know the specs before starting the project. In addition, insurance protects your family and investments.
Not having insurance is something you can’t go back and fix. You have it, or you don’t. Fortunately, you can ask for insurance coverage before hiring the trades. Look for the actual certificate and check to see if it’s current and registered with your city.
Most of the requirements are listed, but there is so much more to being a good contractor. You have to be available at all times to respond to the homeowner’s requests and concerns quickly. The contractor handles a lot of scheduling, and continuous communication and meetings with the trades are essential.
Do you have what it takes to be your residential contractor? Only you know for sure. Before going all-in with your final decision you may want to interview a couple of residential construction companies to get their opinion of how easy or difficult your remodeling or renovation project will be when going it alone.