Build your own House D.I.Y.

October 7, 2022

Build 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 finally, third; the skilled labor. Then all you need to do is to pull it all together.

I’ve seen a lot of houses under construction, and most of them have one big problem. The biggest problem is the big rush. Trades are working over the top of each other, and there is a general lack of organization.

When 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. Unless you bring out coffee and doughnuts and work on building a relationship with your G.C. and trades.

If you are building your place and want it to be well above average, there are a few things that you need to have in place.

Before breaking ground: make sure there is a port-a-potty in place. Tradespeople often have nowhere nearby to relieve themselves.

Next: garbage management. Make sure there is a garbage can on the site. Make sure it is easy for everyone to find. The initial paper coffee cup left on a window sill in the framing stage tells everyone else that this is acceptable on this job site. Place a can outside the building and a separate one in an obvious location inside the building. 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. If the house is already messy then that is the standard that has already been set for the build.

Next: have a posted calendar schedule on-site as soon as possible. Let all of the tradespeople know that you mean business. It gives the individual trades a way to organize their schedule. Most tradespeople 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 operation when building a house. There are plenty of places to fill, so be sure you know beforehand the order that you want the trades to show up.

Next: a job site has limited space. It’s real easy to fill a house unnecessarily. This is also 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 to the walls.
Before starting your build, 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 supplier to get in and the flooring also needs to acclimatize at the job site before installation. Countertops also take a while to get in and often hold up the job. Knowing this information 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. You are ultimately responsible for completing the build properly and on time.

Good communication is 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 job site, be polite and if, possible, get to know them by name. It 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. 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. 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. In my day, I’ve seen a lot of stuff that has been way out.

When the house is framing, 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 can easily damage a new bathtub. A bathtub is not a storage place.

When the drywallers finish make sure that they have cleaned up their mess and removed all of the waste drywall. Most drywallers do a lousy job of cleaning. 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. It will give the painters a better surface for their tape to adhere to when masking off the fixtures.

Before the painters start painting: With a shop vac- go around the house and vacuum out all the electrical boxes. If you want a quality finish, you will need to take a gymnasium floor mop and dust off the walls. The painters do not usually dust off the walls. They will assume that the drywall dust will blow away or just get rolled into the primer.

Talk to the painters before they start painting. 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. The drywallers need to fix their damage prior to the primer application.

The painters are responsible to properly mask off everything that needs to be masked off prior to painting. They must mask off the bathtubs and all windows.

When the walls are primed and the first coat of paint is completed the 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 an expensive front door to get damaged during a build.

Enough for now!
Brad Camp

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