Building your own House D.I.Y.


Building your own House D.I.Y.
Tips and Hints
Yes, there is good money in building houses and yes you can do it yourself.
There are only two parts to building a house, make that three. First, the vision and desire, second the financing, and third the skilled labor. Then all you need to do is to pull it all together.
I’ve seen a lot of houses being built and most of them have one big problem. The biggest problem is the big rush, trades working over the top of each other, and a general lack of organization.
In building a house one of the first things a person or couple does is hire a general contractor, then the general contractor hires everyone else. For the most part, all of the trades are happiest when you, the homeowner are nowhere near the site.
So, if you are building your place and want it to be a well above average build, there are a few things that you need to do to have in place and a bar height has to be set.
Before breaking ground make sure there is a port-a-potty in place. Tradespeople often have nowhere nearby to relieve themselves, this is true even when multiple houses are going up close to each other.
Next, garbage management. Make sure there is a garbage can on the site and make sure it is easy for everyone to find. The initial paper coffee cup left on a window sill even in the framing stage tells everyone else that this is acceptable on this job site. To go above and beyond have a garbage can outside the build and a separate one in an obvious location inside the build, then have a push broom and a flat shovel in place to use as a dustpan. Make sure that these items are clearly labeled so that they do not walk away from the site.
For the most part, every trade is responsible for their mess and if the house is already a mess then that is the standard that you have set for the build.
Next, have a schedule on-site as soon as possible, this will let all of the tradespeople that you mean business and gives the individual trades a way to organize their schedule as most trades have multiple job sites that they are on at the same time. Needing a tradesperson to drop everything and come running to your place to do a few minutes of work to prevent another trade from coming to a standstill is not fun.
There is a proper order of operations in building a house and there are plenty of places to find them, so be sure you know beforehand the order that you want the trades to show up,
Next, a job site has limited space and it’s really easy to fill a house unnecessarily, this too is a scheduling thing. For example, cabinets should not arrive on the site before the drywalling, priming and the first coat of paint has been applied.
Before getting started you need to know how long it will take to get your needed supplies to the job site. Cabinets can take time to make, flooring can take time for the flooring store to get in and flooring needs to acclimatize before getting installed. Countertops also take a while to get in and often hold up a job. Knowing this stuff and planning ahead can save you a lot of grief.
Now, with or without a general contractor running the job, know that this is your place and you are ultimately responsible for it getting done properly and on time.
Good communication is very important. So, communicate, ask questions, ask if you can be of help. Be sure to show up on the job site every day, if you see contractors on the site be polite and if possible get to know them by name, this will help them feel important and will encourage them to do their best work for you.
When you are on the job site, your number one tool is the broom and you need to make sure that the job site is always clean. Keeping the job site clean gives you a reason to be on the site and gives you a chance to look over the work that is being done. Also when no one is around you are allowed to inspect the job. By this I mean you are allowed to pull out a level and make sure that everything is plumb and level. I’ve seen a lot of stuff that has been way out of level in my day.
When the house is being framed there will be lots of wood scraps. Pile them neatly at the front of the yard and place a free sign on them, the pile will be gone in no time at all.
In between trades you also need to make sure the house is as clean as possible. Drywallers leave the place very dusty and usually leave drywall mud in the bathtub. Lots of stuff ends up in the bathtub, this stuff can easily damage a new bathtub. So, a bathtub is not a storage place.
When the drywallers are finished make sure that they have cleaned up their mess and removed all of the waste drywall. Most drywallers do a lousy job of cleaning. So, you will need to go in behind them and clean the bathtub and make sure you wipe off all the dust around the tub and showers this will give the painters a better surface for their tape to adhere to when masking off the fixtures.
Now, before the painters start you should have a shop vac and go around the house and vacuum out all of the electrical boxes. then if you want a quality finish you will need to take a gymnasium floor mop and dust off the walls, the painters will not usually dust off the wall and will assume that the drywall dust will blow away or just get rolled into the primer.
Talk to the painters before they start painting and make it clear that the house is clean and now is their chance to inspect it. Look for damages, nicks, or dings in the drywall and complain now so that the drywallers can fix their damage prior to the primer being applied.
It is the responsibility of the painters to properly mask off everything that needs to be masked off prior to painting. This means masking off the bathtubs and all windows.
Once the Priming and first coat are completed then other trades can come in.
Note: exterior trim and siding can be painted off-site, wood beams and features can be painted or stained off-site. And the use of a temporary front door can save a lot of grief as no one wants a very expensive front door to get damaged during a build.
Enough for now
Brad Camp
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