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Alu-Rex > Eavestroughs and rain water management blog

While self-building is becoming more and more popular, using the services of a general contractor is still the classic way to build your own home. Even so, this decision has major impacts on your project as a whole.

Impacts on cost

As self-building consists in completing a portion or all of the work and managing different subcontractors yourself, the main advantage is saving on costs. However, it may be difficult to obtain a loan for a self-build, especially if you don’t have any experience. In addition, self-builds often go over budget because, in general, it is more difficult to estimate the costs yourself than to refer to an expert on the subject.

Even if the main purpose of self-building is to reduce costs, it is not uncommon to see projects of this kind cost as much as a construction entrusted to a general contractor. However, hiring the services of a general contractor costs between 20% and 25% of the project, not to mention that general contractors will usually request a premium of 5% to 10% of expenses to cover potential risks. In addition, there is nothing to protect you from extras that may sometimes need to be added by your general contractor.

Differences in work quality

When self-building, it is important both for legal reasons and to ensure that a job is well done to check that the subcontractors who will be hired have the qualification cards required to complete their work. In addition, thorough technical expertise is required not only to be able to complete work yourself, but also to verify the quality of the work completed by other subcontractors.

When self-building, skilled labour may furthermore not be available since many good subcontractors have busy schedules and are often under service agreements with general contractors. When you do business with a general contractor, you won’t have to worry about the quality of the work, but you will also have less room to manoeuvre in regards to the choice of subcontractors.

Amount of time required based on the type of construction

Self-building has the great advantage of allowing you to manage and supervise work yourself. However, it also has the disadvantage of requiring a lot of time for planning and project management. Self-building is therefore not the best solution for busy people.

Owners also tend to underestimate the amount of time necessary due to inexperience, which is less often the case with a general contractor.

Insurance and guarantees included

In case of damage, doing business with general contractors ensures you will be fully compensated and receive complete insurance coverage since they are covered by civil liability insurance. In addition, self-building also means foregoing the 10-year guarantee offered by general contractors, which is mandatory in cases of professional construction.

In sum, a self-build comes with its share of caveats and potential complications, but also with a large amount of freedom in regards to decision-making and management. It is an option that leaves a lot of latitude to experienced owners with solid technical knowledge, but which may be a burden for first-time homeowners or those who don’t know much about the construction industry. Working with a general contractor means you will encounter fewer surprises and problems, but it also means that your costs will be higher and that you will not always be at the heart of the decisions being made.

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