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Old 04-14-2007, 05:23 PM
 
670 posts, read 1,512,061 times
Reputation: 269

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I am building a house without a builder or contractor.
I am acting as an owner/builder to pull my own permits and hire the subs directly.
I know that there are others in this forum have done the same thing.
Any advise based on your experiences with permitting, with working with the various subs, with inspections as well as with the process in general: the lot/fill, form, rough plumbing, masonry, framing, well...everything but septic (and that's only because there is a separate thread on this,) would be greatly appreciated!


thank you.

p.s.
I'll take help even if your experience is "only" adding a mother-in-law suite. That's more experience than I have.
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Old 04-14-2007, 06:20 PM
 
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 23,792,531 times
Reputation: 4901
My dad and I built this house. It's just a matter of knowing the code and getting on the good side of the inspectors. A little "gift" from time to time doesn't hurt either...wink wink. We made our own plans, prepared the site, laid our own blocks, did the plumbing and electrical. Concrete pouring and finishing was subbed out, but we did our own finishing including plastering. Hard job in the horrible Florida sun and it took three years, but all done with cash and no mortgage. If you have a lender involved, the process costs twice as much in the long run. Materials today are sky high, but when the bubble bursts expect that to change. If you can avoid using wood do it, a wood roof will only weaken your home for storms. Go with poured concrete, it's the only way to build!
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:21 PM
 
670 posts, read 1,512,061 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by tallrick View Post
My dad and I built this house. It's just a matter of knowing the code and getting on the good side of the inspectors. A little "gift" from time to time doesn't hurt either...wink wink. We made our own plans, prepared the site, laid our own blocks, did the plumbing and electrical. Concrete pouring and finishing was subbed out, but we did our own finishing including plastering. Hard job in the horrible Florida sun and it took three years, but all done with cash and no mortgage. If you have a lender involved, the process costs twice as much in the long run. Materials today are sky high, but when the bubble bursts expect that to change. If you can avoid using wood do it, a wood roof will only weaken your home for storms. Go with poured concrete, it's the only way to build!
Thx Tallrick! Awasome! Well done, both you and your dad!
Not using a bank.
I'll give a little time to let what you wrote here to sink in.
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Old 04-14-2007, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Jax
8,204 posts, read 32,207,822 times
Reputation: 3392
Also keep in mind that, in general, insurers are becoming more wary about owner/builders, especially first-timers. They have concerns over the quality of the build by "non-professionals". It's just getting tougher and tougher with these insurers.
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Old 04-14-2007, 08:43 PM
 
2,313 posts, read 2,402,143 times
Reputation: 471
Quote:
Originally Posted by riveree View Post
Also keep in mind that, in general, insurers are becoming more wary about owner/builders, especially first-timers. They have concerns over the quality of the build by "non-professionals". It's just getting tougher and tougher with these insurers.
"non-professionals"? Go on any building sight and thats all you will find. You may find one pusher who has a small clue but the rest will be unskilled. I would have more faith in the guy building his own house to know what he is doing and the work being done right.
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Old 04-14-2007, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Joplin
2,201 posts, read 2,288,508 times
Reputation: 4267
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbravo View Post
I am building a house without a builder or contractor.
I am acting as an owner/builder to pull my own permits and hire the subs directly.
I know that there are others in this forum have done the same thing.
Any advise based on your experiences with permitting, with working with the various subs, with inspections as well as with the process in general: the lot/fill, form, rough plumbing, masonry, framing, well...everything but septic (and that's only because there is a separate thread on this,) would be greatly appreciated!


thank you.

p.s.
I'll take help even if your experience is "only" adding a mother-in-law suite. That's more experience than I have.
I built not to long ago, and I just bought some land that I plan to start on within the next few months. I used a contractor last time, and I will this time but my contractor is my friend so that helps. This stuff is stressfull enough. If you can sub it out yourself and keep your mind, then my hat is off to you!
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Old 04-14-2007, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Jax
8,204 posts, read 32,207,822 times
Reputation: 3392
Quote:
Originally Posted by macguy View Post
"non-professionals"? Go on any building sight and thats all you will find. You may find one pusher who has a small clue but the rest will be unskilled. I would have more faith in the guy building his own house to know what he is doing and the work being done right.
I know what you're saying, it's quite true, but on any jobsite with a professional developer/builder you have supervisors and supervisors on top of supervisors who DO know what they are doing and do it day in and day out year after year, often building the very same time-tested house plans over and over...you can see how that could be attractive to an insurer as opposed to, say, myself, deciding to start building a house tommorow.
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Old 04-14-2007, 10:46 PM
 
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 23,792,531 times
Reputation: 4901
Owner/builder homes are closely inspected, and during hurricane Andrew routinely outperformed developer built houses. I am intending to build again, the same way if I have to move. Will never go for the matchstick home but definately concrete and steel. Oh yes and I do not have homeowner's insurance either. Did get a liability policy from my antique auto insurer though. I have always "gone bare" and took my chances with the hurricanes. Having 6 inches of concrete above me and 12 inches around me seemed like a good bet. Only time will tell if I made the right decision. Rick's way to build, no wood, no drywall, 100% classic quality.
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Old 04-14-2007, 11:02 PM
 
Location: Jax
8,204 posts, read 32,207,822 times
Reputation: 3392
Quote:
Originally Posted by tallrick View Post
Owner/builder homes are closely inspected...Oh yes and I do not have homeowner's insurance either.

Right, even if you build yourself, you still have to build to code and go through the same inspections...it's crazy, but if you need insurance you're subject to the whims of the industry.

Good point, if you're building for cash, there's always the option to self-insure. I've run the numbers and it hasn't worked for my own scenarios, but I see why people go that route.

I hope I'm not bumming you out, jbravo. You're sure to experience great satisfaction in building your own home.
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, FL
1,305 posts, read 5,024,297 times
Reputation: 1079
I originally planned to build my own house, swinging a hammer for most of it and only subbing out what I know I don't do well (concrete, and roofing -- I have a fear of height). I have experience through remodeling and some other construction, and I have the tools. Before I could get started, however, my stupid heart decided to let me know that quite a bit of muscle was dead and it wasn't pumping as good as it used to (cardiac myopathy).

So, I act as my own contractor but pay subs and labor to do the work. Then, the building codes in Florida (sometimes difficult to follow) were revised and even contractors were going back to school to learn the new codes. For example, I had drawn my plans with an 18" roof overhang at the gable end, and discovered that it could be no more than 12". I had a powder room toilet under a staircase, with 75" of headroom, and discovered that it had to be a minimum of 80". There were dozens of these codes that were different from even a couple of years ago.

I gave up. I'm now working with a contractor who is revising my plans and bringing them all up to date, and who will then build the house with me on a cost-plus basis. This makes sense to me, because if I was building the house myself, it would be cost plus -- the actual costs plus the zero I would pay myself. Bringing in the contractor only changes that amount -- it will be actual cost plus the contractor's fee, agreed upon up front. I get to review all costs before the money is committed, and can change suppliers or subcontractors if I can get a better deal.

I will be on site every day, and I've already warned the contractor that I will be a pain in the butt. He laughs that he's included that in his fee. But, he has no objections, because I've promised to never tell the subs what to do -- but bring all my concerns to the contractor to let him do his job.

We're getting close to the permitting stage -- just a few more revisions to the design (always cheaper to change it on paper). Once we actually apply for the permit, I will likely start a thread in the House section of this forum as a journal of the progress.
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