Framing and rough-in by contractor; cabinets, finishes, trim/millwork by homeowner
I’m interviewing architects and design/build firms for a remodel/addition.
To save money, I’m considering asking them to plan for contractor to do all framing and rough-in, then I’d do cabinet installs, millwork, paint, finishes etc.
Scope of improvements include a small addition for new staircase, gut remodel of bathroom and kitchen, and making warm space mud room/entry from an enclosed porch.
1) Would this arrangement actually represent a sizeable savings? E.g. if total cost were $200k, would I expect to save like $30k if I completed the post-rough myself?
2) Would I have to GC the entire build phase, or do you think I’d be able to hire a GC for everything until I take over post-rough?
3) Do you think a contractor would actually go for this arrangement? what would s/he look for to agree to this?
4) I know this is high level, but are there any concerns around permits and feasibility that I’ve obviously missed?
I don’t have a construction background, but I have done a number of smaller home projects in addition to a strong hobbyist background in furniture building.
This is a tough one.
If you can find a quality framing contractor that would be interested.
If your locality would allow you to pull the permit for the entire job.
Electrical, heating and plumbing permits could be a problem unless they take it to finish.
If you are free from other things to do and can dedicate all your time to doing the work you propose.
And you have a real understanding partner.
Another maybe. The subs could possibly jack up their normal pricing due to their lack of confidence in you in essence running the job as a novice contractor. Not out of spite but because of the knowledge of past experience.
If you were to be a close friend of the general contractor……
They might be willing to go along.
Have you ever hung and finished drywall?
When I was in high school, my dad did as you suggest and hired a guy to frame and close in two bedrooms and a bath (with shower) (turned out this guy drank a lot so the project took a bit longer than it should have.)
The bright side of this is my brothers and I learned quite a bit about nailing (this was before screws) drywall, and how to finish and cover most of our mistakes. there was a lot of sanding, I did all the painting, ( I was working at some apartments with real painters who shared some tips and techniques.)
Most of my brothers involved would rather eat rocks than ever do any more drywall work.
The points about building inspectors is a good one, and you need to be crystal clear on your ability and intent to fill in the blocks on wiring, plumbing, HVAC...
You can save money, but the details matter. You are likely to be an overpaid and underskilled building trades sub, even on your own house.
But if you treat it like a somewhat temporary hobby, you should be fine.
Yes I have hung and finished drywall. Not my finest work. To be fair, I think you're right that my opportunity cost (even in lost sleep) is too high to not contract that out. Given my woodworking experience, I don't know if the same can be said for cabinetry and finish carpentry (though they'd certainly be faster and I could use my vacation time for, say, vacation).
The other thing to consider is if your local inspector will let you move into a partly finished house.
my dad's example house he started before I was born, and my younger brothers helped install trim around the last few windows after I had left for the service.
My son built a house, (in his case a modular house). In his case, he was a purchaser and had a contractor for all the site prep and finish-up work. The inspector would not issue an occupancy permit until his punch list was complete. Most of his issues were stair railings and a temporary rear deck. Logic was, if you do not do it now, (before the occupancy permit is issued) you never will.
So understand, and factor into your planning. It would seem to be an option to move in and live without a complete kitchen for a time, or perhaps only one bathroom, while you work on the cabinets and such, but you have to comply with local laws.
The key is finding an understanding/flexible GC.I was fortunate with my GC. I just finished a house myself having had the GC manage up to and including sheet rock (I've done just enough to know my limitations.) It took me 4 years to finish stairs, paint, flooring, tile, trim, built-ins. I don't think I saved much money but I think I appreciate the finished product better. And I now have a lot more tools ( some of which I may never use again.) I'm retired so my time was "free." I'm sure my materials cost more than a contractor's expense.
Moving into an unfinished house depends on your building inspector's opinion on certificate of occupancy requirements (handrails, smoke detectors, kitchen and bath sinks, toilet.)
I have no idea how builders can make a profit in this business- maybe they don't spend as many hours watching youtube before every project... Probably need to finish a house in less than 4 years.