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Old 05-08-2012, 02:08 PM   #1
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Topping up a bungalow - order of operations


Hi There,

I'm about as green as they come and I want to take on the task of buying a bungalow and adding a second story. I realized that it would be quite expensive going with a company that can fulfil this duty as they would sub out a lot of work and slap on a 25% margin.

I would like to hire all the subtrades by myself. Instead of hiring a general contractor, I would like to hire a site supervisor. A retired old italian guy who has been in the business and can help me manage the trades and make sure they are doing it right.

It's been hard to find an order of operations for my project but here's what i found so far. Any help would be greatly apprectiated!!

What I’ve been able to find out so far:

Demolition – Get rid of everything in the way. Do not demo room by room, expose everything
Building envelope – fix anything to get the building envelope tight
Framing – start with structural framing and move towards lighter framing
Rough HVAC
Rough Plumbing
Rough Electrical
Frame around duct work
Insulate
Drywall
Prime and paint walls which would allow you to set cabinets
Trim Electric – install light fixtures switches etc
Trim HVAC and plumbing

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Old 05-08-2012, 02:52 PM   #2
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Topping up a bungalow - order of operations


or you could hire a true GC and not have to worry about this....

You are missing a bunch of steps.

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Old 05-08-2012, 03:09 PM   #3
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Topping up a bungalow - order of operations


Not a great plan, if you have to ask the order then that's not a good sing this is going to work out for you.
This type job has to be done asap with no exceptable delays since the whole bottom floor will be subject to damage while it's open.
You do know it would be next to impossible to live in the house while all this is going on, right?
A GC will already have people that they know will show up and do the job right, will know what materials to have on hand as there needed so there not just sitting around in the way, will have a plan B for anything that does go wrong.
They do earn there money and there's just no way to learn all you will need to know ahead of time. Any GC I know has been doing building for a very long time.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:11 PM   #4
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Topping up a bungalow - order of operations


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Originally Posted by mike416 View Post
I'm about as green as they come...
If your motivation is to save money, I am pretty sure you're going to regret this little adventure you're about to go on.

Here's how I predict this playing out. Your old italian guy is going to basically end up becoming the GC before long. As there is a lot of stress and time involved being a GC, he's either going to call foul and ask for more money, or he's going to say "screw this" and leave you high and dry.

But lets say neither happens. You go about hiring trades without connections and without years of experience in the construction business. You're going to eventually end up hiring some folks that are going to try take to advantage of that. You think your old Italian guy is going to prevent that from happening, but let me tell you...the trick is to avoid it happening at all, not finding out its happening weeks into the project, which is what will probably occur. Then you'll sadly learn how much money you're going to end up losing trying to save a few bucks.

Honestly, get yourself a GC.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:15 PM   #5
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Topping up a bungalow - order of operations


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Originally Posted by framer52 View Post
or you could hire a true GC and not have to worry about this....

You are missing a bunch of steps.
for a fee of what, 25%
25% on a 220K project is quite a lot of money.
I want to learn as much as i can to avoid this.
Someone must have written a book on this
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:19 PM   #6
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Topping up a bungalow - order of operations


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Someone must have written a book on this
That's about the most naive statement I've seen in a while. Think about it. None of us have any vested interest in convincing you to hire a GC--none of us are going to get the job. So, if people on this site are telling you you're making a big mistake, I'd take the advice.

You're green. A lot of the people on this forum have years if not decades of experience, and know what you're about to step into...

That said, good luck.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:28 PM   #7
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Topping up a bungalow - order of operations


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That's about the most naive statement I've seen in a while. Think about it. None of us have any vested interest in convincing you to hire a GC--none of us are going to get the job. So, if people on this site are telling you you're making a big mistake, I'd take the advice.

You're green. A lot of the people on this forum have years if not decades of experience, and know what you're about to step into...

That said, good luck.

Sorry if i got off on the wrong foot. I realize I may have sounded like a fool, but I'm really not that naive.

I was under the impression that if I bought a 1100sqft bungalow it would cost me approx 220K to add the top up and completely renovate the main floor with high end fixturing.

I had a meeting with a company that specializes in modular home additions. Their claim to fame is that they can top up a bungalow in 3 days and completely finish the exterior in 10 days.
Day 1- demo
Day 2 - install the floor and second story
Day 3 - shingle

I was in for quite a surprise that it would cost me close to 400K for them to offer me the complete package of renovating the main and upper level.

I do apologize if i offended anyone. Yes, i understand that GC to add quite a bit of value with their knowledge and connections. I just need to cut costs somehow.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:22 PM   #8
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Topping up a bungalow - order of operations


"I just need to cut costs somehow."

That's what you should have asked then...

1. Start interviewing GC's

Find one that will work WITH you not FOR you. Sit down with him and have him go over everything he does. Find things on this list you know you can do, NOT you think you can learn to do, what you can do right now with no or very minimal training. Taking care of the porta-potty and dumpster for example. Getting them reserved, delivered, and emptied.

Don't expect to be able to take much away from his job though. Anyone can pick up a phone and make calls, but a call from him to a sub is going to hold much more sway than a call from you. But there are aspects of his job you can do and he would be willing to let you handle. They are going to be the BS aspects but you have to start somewhere. Then ask him how much he is willing to cut his fees for your doing this part of his job. Again it won't be much but any little bit helps.

Let him know you want this deal with all his subs too. You want to see the detailed quotes and see what you can do instead of paying for them. Again only sign up for what you can do right now, not what you think you can learn to do.

Keep time in mind, if a quote from a sub is listing demo 1 day for x amount of dollars. Don't think for a minute you can do it in 1 day, that is 1 day for a crew. So 1 day with a 5 man crew is 40 hours of work. Figure on 80 hours of work for you. That 80 hours is a delay in the building time, which WILL cause problems all the way thru the process.

A special note on demo, everyone thinks they can do it and in a much much shorter amount of time than it really takes and in A LOT fewer dumpsters than it really takes. That 15 yard dumpster seems huge when they drop it off, but even filled correctly it will take you one dumpster per room, and I'm not talking about 20x15 living rooms. I'm talking 10x12 bedrooms.

One final note. I'm a pretty highly skilled DIYer, I know this for a fact because I excel at rule #1 of a highly skilled DIYer. I know my limitations, I have no illusions about my skill levels in some areas and more importantly my lack of skills in others.

I'm having an addition built on my 1946 bungalow. I have all the skills to build this addition (except pouring the foundation) as I've done everyone of them before. Not for one second did it cross my mind not to hire a GC and have the addition built. I'm just having it built to the dried in stage and will complete it from there myself. I'm not doing it this way because I have money falling out of my pockets, I'm doing it this way because my GC has the skill I lack. That being to open up my house to the elements and getting it closed back up again in the shortest amount of time possible.

Could I GC it myself? No, why? Because I don't have the contacts a good GC has. If you were talking about redoing a bathroom, I'd say go for it. Educate yourself and you will come out scarred but with some well earned knowledge. You are talking about opening up your house here. With the bathroom you are inconvienenced if it goes wrong, with opening the house to the elements you could be out of a place to live if it goes wrong.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:37 PM   #9
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Topping up a bungalow - order of operations


I don't know where you are or the building code you are under. I would recommend first off hiring a professional engineer to determine if your existing foundation can support a second floor or not. That depends on such things as the type of soil you have, the size of the footing, and the loads it must support.

In my area most building officials would require a professional engineer's evaluation before giving you a permit to add another floor.

Chances are you're going to need someone to design your new structure. Check with your local building official and find out what is required to first obtain a permit. Once you know this and have a plan on paper you can get accurate estimates not only on material but construction costs.

Just my thoughts .... Good luck with your project!
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:17 AM   #10
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Topping up a bungalow - order of operations


Thank you for your detailed replies.

I've only contacted two companies so far for quotes. They were both inline with 450-500K to provide with with a turnkey operation for my before and after pictures below. These are reputable companies with a lot of overhead. Not "out of the pickup truck" contactors.
After=
4 bed, 3bath


should this really be a 450-500K renovation?
-including basement with high end finishings

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