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Old 10-07-2013, 03:59 PM   #16
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estimating cost when building your own house


They do ours a little different...as long as you have incremental inspections along the way, then you can keep the permit open. In my case, I'm going on 2.5 years so far....and I'm about 6 months away from the final.

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Old 10-07-2013, 04:22 PM   #17
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if you do work with an architect and they help determine price. MAKE SURE THEY HAVE EXPERIENCE IN PRICING and actually know what labour rates are ,

just recently we were asked to bid on a large custom home build. the architect had a ton of high end custom stuff spec`d on teh house and told the homeowner it should run them about $600,000 however when we price it up along with 2 other contractors everyone came in at over $1 million. thus sending the homeowner back to the drawing board to get the pricing down. they can probaly find a contractor will do it for what the architect spec`d howeveri can guarentee the work wont be very good if it even passes the inspection stages which in turn could more than double the actual build price
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:43 PM   #18
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estimating cost when building your own house


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I see what you're saying but wouldn't a certain amount of delays be assumed at all stages and thus you'd always be on time or ahead?
No, if you assume delays everywhere, you will use up all that time and still be late.

Unless you are an ace at critical path scheduling and have a system to track the amount of delay that has already accumulated, the easy assumption is "built in delay (or float)" will cover it. Every one goes on fat dumb and happy until it blows up in your face.

Do you even know what the critical path of your project is ? You can end up working on (or having a sub work on) a non critical activity when you could be working on the critical activity that will cause a day for day delay in the entire project.

Experienced GCs know where the critical path is, at least most of the time. Even they get surprised occasionally by a sub-critcal activity that used all available float and has now become the true critical path activity.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:14 PM   #19
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My wife and I are in the very final stages of designing and building our house by ourselves. We're down to miscellaneous trim work, painting, and a little tiling. It is a log home we built from a kit. Because of that, we didn't need an architect - my wife designed the house using some software I bought her, and the log home company generated the blueprints and put together the kit. It included virtually everything to get the house dried in. Quite literally, almost the only thing we had to buy to get started was nails. Neither of us ever worked in any building trade; we're just very experienced DIYers.

Because we were more concerned with having the house be exactly what we wanted rather than the total cost, we didn't do much cost estimating or shopping around. If the wife wanted things like handmade wrought iron railings of her own design and a circular staircase not originally in the plans, she got them. Nor did we bother with competitive bids for the little work we subcontracted out (foundation, HVAC, and metal roof). Living in an area where homeowners can do just about everything themselves (subject to the same codes and inspections as the pros), that's what we did. Having owned nine previous houses, we have quite a bit of experience in electrical, plumbing, framing, flooring, etc., etc. We chose the few subs based on recommendations from contractors who are personal friends.

While it worked out for us, I don't recommend that the average non-professional build their house as we did. It is NOT an easy thing for just anybody to do. I was retired and my wife didn't work, so we had all the time in the world and essentially no day-to-day schedule. We had no children at home to worry about. We lived in our RV on the property the whole time so there were no additional living expenses or concerns about theft or vandalism. We had no debt whatsoever. Not counting time spent working with Habitat for Humanity, we had 35 years of DIY remodeling and construction experience. We already owned virtually all the tools we needed. And the budget wasn't a concern.

Are we glad we did it? Absolutely. Is the house perfect? No, of course not, but neither are the shoddy McMansions going up these days. Would we do it again? Yes, but we'd start a lot younger than we did.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:28 PM   #20
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An alternative to having a GC or the architect cost your house plans is to have a professional estimator price up the job from the plans and specs (if you have specs). It might cost you a thousand or more dollars to get a professional estimator to do the takeoffs and prepare the estimate (this is NOT a bid, this is an estimate for your use in budgeting and negotiating with contractors). Having an independent estimator do the work has some advantages, since they have no financial incentive to skew the cost, and they may have some good ideas on how to save money and/or time on the project.

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