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Old 09-05-2008, 03:14 PM   #1
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


So I am trying to convert my garage to family room. Due to permit rules, I have to hire licensed folks for the major parts. It's a relatively straightforward task, and I want to act as my own general contractor (I work as a project manager at a bank, and I have some renovation knowledge).

I need to find someone that can help with some framing and stairs, and I can't find a "carpenter".

I have brought in 4 guys so far, and every one of them has tried to estimate the entire job, start to finish. For the last 2, I was very clear that I only wanted help with the framing. They come back with an estimate of like $13K or $17K which includes framing, electrical, HVAC, etc. When I start to tear their estimate into smaller pieces, like I originally asked, they tell me they aren't interested in such a small job.

I have no problem hiring one person to do all the work, but I want visiblity into all the parts so I can gaurantee quality. For instance, while talking to these contractors, I heard two contractors wanting to skimp me on the HVAC, and one got a little loose and easy with the electrical permit rules.

So where can I find a "carpenter"? Seems that everybody is a "contractor" now. The Yellow Pages don't even list anything under "Carpenter". What am I doing wrong?

Thanks,

Chris

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Old 09-05-2008, 03:51 PM   #2
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


Call a lumber company...Not a box store or home center...A lumber wholesaler that doesn't do retail business. Ask to talk to a salesman. Any lumber salesman will be more than happy to recommend framers to you, because he's paid on commission when they buy lumber from him. Many lumber salesmen are very, very tied in with carpenters.

Looking in the yellow pages won't help you usually. Most carpenters aren't normally in the advertising biz, and often work just with builders or by word of mouth recommendations.

I'd also suggest calling your city's HBA (homebuilders association), or local NARI chapter.

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Old 09-05-2008, 10:14 PM   #3
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


Most permits are reviewed by Joey Nobody who has never done anything but paperwork in his life. I hate having to apply for permits! But it's got to be done...That being said where are you located? Have you done a google search. seriously? I wish you were in virginia or north carolina. I'd freakin do it....

By the way you're right about anybody and everybody getting a general contractors license...I'm almost done with my course and will be applying for mine very shortly.
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Old 09-06-2008, 08:18 AM   #4
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


Quote:
Originally Posted by wrldruler View Post
So I am trying to convert my garage to family room. Due to permit rules, I have to hire licensed folks for the major parts. It's a relatively straightforward task, and I want to act as my own general contractor (I work as a project manager at a bank, and I have some renovation knowledge). Chris
First Off, I apologize for the lengthy response.

The problem for you, is that your city/region/state requires a licensed individual or company to do the work (This you have stated). So, your goals of doing this in the manner, in which you want to, as a GC, is not going to work.

Now, I could be interpreting the situation all wrong. So if I am, I apologize again for that as well.

IMHO: No One with such a license (that you need) is willing to come in, and be doing a very small portion of the project's work, and that "you" will be taking over the job that has their "name and license" on the permit. Also, that their only recompense, is that they will be getting paid the fair value of the small portion of the work, but receiving no gain, for the "use" of their license-obtained permit and all that is involved with that.

Example: I was contact almost one year ago, for (what sounds like) a similar circumstance.
The potential clients (Lady and boyfriend) were planning on the purchase of a large "fixer-upper" home. They told us that they actually were going to do almost all the work using subcontractors they know, and some of the easier work themselves. They asked us to give them pricing on several areas, and to do the work as a subcontractor. "Sure, we can do that, no problem". We gave them a price for the different aspects of the job that they requested. They contacted us about one week later and said that they were interested in us only doing one smaller aspect of the list of work. We said ok, they had the price for that one small job.

One month later, they contacted my business partner with a strange an "admission" and a strange request.

They were in the process of closing on that property, and found out, that due to the local regulations on 3 family homes, they must have a licensed contractor pull the permits and do the work (A.K.A -Put his name on the overall job).

They wanted to know, if we could do this: They would give us the one small job they had ok'd, but, that they would be doing the rest of the work themselves. The other "contractors" they had, were really friends and family (that was the admission). These friends and family, with limited knowledge, who were going to attempt to do all the other needed work.

Our Answer:

Sorry, we cannot do that. As much as we like to help other people out, I was not willing to take the chance of putting my license on the line, because:

a.) I am not doing, nor overseeing the project for code compliance; Thus, I am not willing to take the risks of jeopardizing my license for work, that I have no way of knowing, is being done properly.

My personal additional reason, not stated to them, also....was:

b.) I am not interested in doing this as a "favor" with zero business profit, for anyone. They're only "doggy biscuit" to use, was that small portion of work. Now, If we have any kind of work, that requires the use of our license, it is not a job that we view lightly, nor one that we casually "float" the certifications that we have worked hard to attain, and to preserve un-tarnished. Our (my) license, is not "for rent", or "for sale", for others to "use".

If that license is in need, by a client, on a work project that they have on their home. Then there are stipulations involved. That is the point of the license. In my state, the license is called a CS license, for: "Construction Supervisor". That means that we are responsible to supervise the work there, and that is also how the state views it.

We, as a company, are always interested in any size job. No job is too small. However, when it is a required "license and permit job", this falls under a whole different kind of job. Its not just about profit, it's about obligation, responsibilty, ensuring code requirements, and our company name being on everything.

Again, I may be interpretating the situation all wrong, so this advice may not even really apply to things:

My advise to the OP, is to bite the bullet, and do what is correct, fare, required and legal, if the situation involves the obtaining of a licensed individual, the use of their services, and their required oversite (GC-ing), not yours, in performing the work desired.

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 09-06-2008 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 09-06-2008, 11:17 AM   #5
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


Quote:
Originally Posted by wrldruler View Post
So I am trying to convert my garage to family room. Due to permit rules, I have to hire licensed folks for the major parts. It's a relatively straightforward task, and I want to act as my own general contractor (I work as a project manager at a bank, and I have some renovation knowledge).

I need to find someone that can help with some framing and stairs, and I can't find a "carpenter".
Chris,

You're acting as the GC and you will be pulling permits for the job. You want the framing and stairs done from a licensed contractor. This is done all the time. The best thing to do is what thekctermite said. Go to a real lumberyard and ask for a Framing contractor to help you.



Quote:
I have brought in 4 guys so far, and every one of them has tried to estimate the entire job, start to finish. For the last 2, I was very clear that I only wanted help with the framing. They come back with an estimate of like $13K or $17K which includes framing, electrical, HVAC, etc. When I start to tear their estimate into smaller pieces, like I originally asked, they tell me they aren't interested in such a small job.
I wouldn't trust them anyway since they ignored that fact that you told them you only needed framing done.They obviously ignored you and were trying to sell you something you didn't want.


Quote:
So where can I find a "carpenter"? Seems that everybody is a "contractor" now. The Yellow Pages don't even list anything under "Carpenter". What am I doing wrong?
Like I said above, at a lumberyard because there's all trades that go there. Yo8 want a framer, roofer, sider, mason.....etc, ask.
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Old 09-06-2008, 12:47 PM   #6
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


What everyone states above is what you should do. All you need is a framer. A framer typically will quote you a price based on square footage and complexity. Garages, porches, basements and other simple structures are typically prices less per square foot. Custom home structures are priced the highest.

Let them know exactly what you want quoted. If you don't want window and door installation or housewrap included, let them know. If you have flooring and want it glued and/or screwed or not, let them know. Otherwise, they will include all that in their price. If you want them to supply their own nails, screws and fasteners, let them know that as well. I prefer to have the framer supply their nails otherwise you have to know what type of nail guns they use and keep strict control of what you give out and when you give it out or it will disappear.

When I ask a trade for a quote and provide specifications and they don't quote me what I ask for, I throw their quote straight in the trash.
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:34 PM   #7
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


Have you seriously considered putting an add on craigslist.com?
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Old 09-07-2008, 11:52 AM   #8
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
First Off, I apologize for the lengthy response.

The problem for you, is that your city/region/state requires a licensed individual or company to do the work (This you have stated). So, your goals of doing this in the manner, in which you want to, as a GC, is not going to work.

Now, I could be interpreting the situation all wrong. So if I am, I apologize again for that as well.

IMHO: No One with such a license (that you need) is willing to come in, and be doing a very small portion of the project's work, and that "you" will be taking over the job that has their "name and license" on the permit. Also, that their only recompense, is that they will be getting paid the fair value of the small portion of the work, but receiving no gain, for the "use" of their license-obtained permit and all that is involved with that.

Example: I was contact almost one year ago, for (what sounds like) a similar circumstance.
The potential clients (Lady and boyfriend) were planning on the purchase of a large "fixer-upper" home. They told us that they actually were going to do almost all the work using subcontractors they know, and some of the easier work themselves. They asked us to give them pricing on several areas, and to do the work as a subcontractor. "Sure, we can do that, no problem". We gave them a price for the different aspects of the job that they requested. They contacted us about one week later and said that they were interested in us only doing one smaller aspect of the list of work. We said ok, they had the price for that one small job.

One month later, they contacted my business partner with a strange an "admission" and a strange request.

They were in the process of closing on that property, and found out, that due to the local regulations on 3 family homes, they must have a licensed contractor pull the permits and do the work (A.K.A -Put his name on the overall job).

They wanted to know, if we could do this: They would give us the one small job they had ok'd, but, that they would be doing the rest of the work themselves. The other "contractors" they had, were really friends and family (that was the admission). These friends and family, with limited knowledge, who were going to attempt to do all the other needed work.

Our Answer:

Sorry, we cannot do that. As much as we like to help other people out, I was not willing to take the chance of putting my license on the line, because:

a.) I am not doing, nor overseeing the project for code compliance; Thus, I am not willing to take the risks of jeopardizing my license for work, that I have no way of knowing, is being done properly.

My personal additional reason, not stated to them, also....was:

b.) I am not interested in doing this as a "favor" with zero business profit, for anyone. They're only "doggy biscuit" to use, was that small portion of work. Now, If we have any kind of work, that requires the use of our license, it is not a job that we view lightly, nor one that we casually "float" the certifications that we have worked hard to attain, and to preserve un-tarnished. Our (my) license, is not "for rent", or "for sale", for others to "use".

If that license is in need, by a client, on a work project that they have on their home. Then there are stipulations involved. That is the point of the license. In my state, the license is called a CS license, for: "Construction Supervisor". That means that we are responsible to supervise the work there, and that is also how the state views it.

We, as a company, are always interested in any size job. No job is too small. However, when it is a required "license and permit job", this falls under a whole different kind of job. Its not just about profit, it's about obligation, responsibilty, ensuring code requirements, and our company name being on everything.

Again, I may be interpretating the situation all wrong, so this advice may not even really apply to things:

My advise to the OP, is to bite the bullet, and do what is correct, fare, required and legal, if the situation involves the obtaining of a licensed individual, the use of their services, and their required oversite (GC-ing), not yours, in performing the work desired.
Well stated, BOB
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Old 09-07-2008, 05:27 PM   #9
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


Quote:
Originally Posted by ManMythLegend View Post
Most permits are reviewed by Joey Nobody who has never done anything but paperwork in his life.
Yup, that's how I learned what I know. Doing paperwork. Are you kidding me? That just isn't true. There is an immense amount of experience required to do plan review effectively, not to mention the safety factor you gain by involving an inspector.

Signed,
Joey Nobody
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:18 AM   #10
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


Maybe back home in Kansas City, but where I'm at now is a commonwealth. All they want is your money. If you apply for anything, but a new construction permit it doens't even get an inspector. Take in an application to city hall and get approval right then and there. They don't even look at it, but they're happy to take your money.
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:46 AM   #11
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


Quote:
Originally Posted by ManMythLegend View Post
Maybe back home in Kansas City, but where I'm at now is a commonwealth. All they want is your money. If you apply for anything, but a new construction permit it doens't even get an inspector. Take in an application to city hall and get approval right then and there. They don't even look at it, but they're happy to take your money.
Sorry to take this off-topic, but:
You stated a different post that you don't have your license yet. Don't take this the wrong way, but, doesn't that mean that you haven't really had alot of eperience in pulling permits and dealing with "Town Hall" ? (applying for permits, meeting with inspectors, building commisioners, dealing with building dept. officials, structural submissions, engineering stamps, etc.)....??

FWIW: In my experience dealing with various building depts, with various people, in various cities and towns, I have always seen the opposite of what you say...Example: We have to submit a detailed structural framing plan for everything from decks to new construction.

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 09-08-2008 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:23 PM   #12
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


You're both right. I feel like I have some pretty good mentors in the game around here. I actually have just gotten out of the Navy after 5 years and been doing this on and off. I know what I hear, and I know I had to apply for a permit to build a porch on the front of my house. I can attach pictures if needed, but I do know that I took a printed application for my residential building permit to a cashiers window to some woman who was a cashier taking payments and she delivered an approved building permit within minutes.

More or less I was trying to help wrlruler. I hope my suggestion to search craigslist was taken more seriously than an opinion I have about this state and my experience. Have a great night, and don't take life too seriously or you'll never get out alive

P.s. I haven't seen one inspector in over a year of building a rather large front porch...Take care.
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Last edited by ManMythLegend; 09-08-2008 at 10:25 PM. Reason: forgot something...
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:30 AM   #13
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


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Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
IMHO: No One with such a license (that you need) is willing to come in, and be doing a very small portion of the project's work, and that "you" will be taking over the job that has their "name and license" on the permit. Also, that their only recompense, is that they will be getting paid the fair value of the small portion of the work, but receiving no gain, for the "use" of their license-obtained permit and all that is involved with that.
I can understand and respect that. But what gets me is that the GC has his name on only 1 of the 4+ permits required.

I need a licensed professional that can pull a the framing/structure permit, then another to pull the electric permit, another for HVAC, another for plumbing, etc.

If the house burns down due to electrical fire, won't it be the electrician that is liable?

So I am asking for someone that can pull a structural permit, and then I am offering them the job of doing all foundation work, external framing, inside framing, floor framing, doors, windows, stairs, and attic pulldown stairs. I even through in the insulation. So I am asking for a structural permit and then trying to give them all the structural work.

Electric, HVAC, and plumbing must go to subcontractors with those licenses. So the only thing left for debate is drywall, painting, carpeting, and trimwork.

I fail to see the liability concerns if a homeowner wants to do drywall, painting, carpeting, and trimwork.

Thanks,

Chris
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:32 AM   #14
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


I guess what is bothering me the most is the "lump sum" quotes that I am getting, and the unwillingness to break-down prices. Real-life example of why this is bothering me.

The first GC comes in and tells me his price will include HVAC. I asked for details. He said he would give me one return, and one supply, flex duct, with return and supply right next to each other on the same wall. Later, he gave me a lump sum price of $17K. I asked how much was the HVAC part and he said he gave a $2,200 allowance for HVAC.

I went out and found my own HVAC guy who has been doing this for 35 years. A double-return, 3 supplies, on opposite walls, hard duct. Total cost $2,300.

Had I went with the first guy, I would have paid $2,200 for probably a $800 duct job. And I would be sweating in the summer.

Next GC said he wanted his HVAC guy to give an opinion and price before the estimate was final. I said great. But then he didn't want to call in an electrician. He said "we'll tell them this is all existing wiring. We're allowed to move around existing wiring without a permit." First, I want a new run. I don't want 8+ outlets on one circuit. Second, I know for a fact that permits are required for ALL wiring work. Technically, permits are even required for low voltage, and even telephone/cable wiring. You can barely change a light bulb without a permit.

I told a third GC that I wanted to buy and hang the drywall, but I wasn't skilled enough to do a good finishing job. He tells me that I can't hang drywall myself because no drywall guy is going to want to tape and finish a job that he didn't hang. Then I open the yellowpages and find a dozen companies specializing in nothing but drywall finishing & plastering.

I just want to hire the best framer, the best electrician, the best HVAC, the best drywaller, etc. I feel like I can't get the best, or get my money's worth, when a GC is giving me a lump sum and bringing in "his guys".

Thanks
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:37 AM   #15
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Where are the "Carpenters" ????


Follow-up: I think I finally found a guy willing to do only a chunk of the work. References say he is reliable and does superb work. He is the opposite of the fast-talking, charmer GCs that came before him. He's actually grumpy, has no people skills, and barely said 10 words while he was there.

Add block out front, frame, install two customer-supplied windows. Cut block in back, frame, install customer-supplied sliding door. All inside framing and floor framing. Rebuild entry stairs. $4,800. I've been told by others that this is a reasonable price.

Thanks for your advice,
Chris

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