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Old 12-01-2006, 04:27 PM   #16
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I am a general contractor, and while I have my own guys (crews), I also deal with many subs, i.e., electricians, plumbers, hvac tech's, and masons. Many, many times while a project is going, schedule conflicts occur, and a job site may be inactive for a week or two. Seems inconcievable, but it happens...for example, our last house we built, my crews were on site for 4 weeks....over an 8 week period...the other time was waiting on the plumber, electrical, hvac, and inspections....of course, we don't sit around, we have multiple jobs going.....the big picture, so if the plumber is doing rough in, my guys aren't trying to work around him, they are out somehwere else....once the subs are out of the picture, then we finish as fast as we started.

Shows like "Extreme Makover" do not present an accurate picture of construction.....what would be more realistic would be "American Contractor" what it is really like to answer 60 calls a day, schedule men, materials, subs, inspectors, permits, customers, home designers, and the home life of kids, ball games, hours, weekends, and sanity.

What would you do if: The blueprints show a hvac closet to close to an exterior wall....the hvac guy didn't catch the mistake, and there is no room for the plenum (ductwork) above the unit and it is already built? The plans call for a 5 foot long tub in the bathroom, but a 6 foot tub shows up with a note the customer changed their minds? You are building a ranch style home, and the trusses show up with the wrong pitch? The custom made cabinets are made to order, but there is an error and the room allowed for the stove isn't enough....the refrigerator door swings the wrong way and isn't reversable? The blueprint shows 2 8 foot wide garage doors, and the customer decides they want a 16 footer instead?......think about what a GC goes through....this is just a brief look inside...and why I don't build custom homes. My business is mainly commercial steel, but I build spec homes...houses I build on the speculation that I will sell them for a profit. I don't sell it til the home is complete.......then I eliminate 90% of the headaches and my sanity in dealing with problematic homeowners.....I make the decisions about what color tile, what fixtures, how big the doors will be...all of it. If the wrong stuff shows up, I can on the spot decide if we can make it work...and that way, if the job site is vacant for a few weeks, only my check book is getting whacked....but, I never sweat the stuff I can't control.


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Old 12-01-2006, 09:54 PM   #17
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With all the headaches you must have, you better make a handsome profit.
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Old 12-02-2006, 12:40 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by joasis View Post
Most of the DIY'ers would be surprised at how out of square most construction projects can end up...especially by us experienced guys. I was taught by a craftsman, and it is a point of pride for me that we build true and square, but I can't count the number of homes and commercial buildings that are not just a little, but way of the nationally known home builders...the one that builds a house for you on land you own with nothing down, to 90% completion, and let you finish the rest to "save" money, is the worst overall...I have seen rooms...10 x 12, out 4 inches, no joke, and roofs that are a foot out, not to mention floors and doors out of level and plumb....but what would you expect from a crew that flies in and literally slaps it up in a week with #3 lumber, and wants to move on to the next one. A mobile home that has been moved a few times is more square.

Try doing some work in old homes, say 1920's or so. Only being out 4" starts to look pretty good. I swear the square most not have been invented until much later. As a side note, I recently recplaced the subfloor in my parents kitchen. Joist spacing varied from about 16.5 to 22" between centers. Completely random. Of course since plywood wasn't around at the time the floor was built, there was no reason for them to be uniform, but that wasn't even close.


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