Quantcast
Managing renovations - Self manage vs General Contractor - Beyond.ca - Car Forums
Page 1 of 3 1 2 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 59

Thread: Managing renovations - Self manage vs General Contractor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    calgary
    My Ride
    0.8 L of Diesel fury
    Posts
    290
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Managing renovations - Self manage vs General Contractor

    We just bought a place and are looking to reno the kitchen, ensuite bathroom, and paint trims.

    What would you guys recommend?

    Wife and I both work so it would be tough to be at home for any of the work. Is managing this sort of project doable while one is working?

    Better to go through a general contractor to coordinate everything?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Cruising the +15
    My Ride
    100% SAVAGE
    Posts
    6,089
    Rep Power
    26

    Default

    If you can't devote much time to it, I'd assume you will end up with more/longer delays going the self-managed route.

    Although usually for bathrooms you should be able to get a single person to do 90% of the work. Kitchen too probably.
    Double-meat sub dreams.
    Public Mobile referral code: 88M4Y9

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Calgary
    My Ride
    2017 Civic Hatch ST
    Posts
    9,644
    Rep Power
    27

    Default

    I would just avoid anyone who sub-contracts (or sometimes even sub-sub contracts), as most of the time it is the cheapest, worst possible trade they can possibly find. I have been burned 3 times by this now on major work. Manager comes in, makes himself sound all quality-oriented, etc. and maybe he is but he does NONE of the work. Then, in come all these guys who appear to have zero actual construction experience and do an unbelievably poor job (whatever the cheapest labor he could find I am sure). Then, you want him to fix all the problems and guess who shows up to "fix" it"? Never again.

    Either get one guy who can do most/all of it himself or hire specific trades for each piece and make sure the guys you are talking to and are comfortable with are the actual ones doing the work.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Calgary
    My Ride
    Blue boy
    Posts
    4,761
    Rep Power
    17

    Default

    Hire specific trades yourself..

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Calgary Alberta
    Posts
    422
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    If you have the cash- general it out. If you do it yourself, make sure you know the process. Nothing worse than having trades blames each other for work not getting done and then ending up with a bunch of extra charges at the end because of return trips.

    I have found that hiring the same company for a few of the trades can help push back to them playing nice together. For example- if you hire Pete the plumber to do the plumbing, get them to quote any HVAC as well and get a quote from "Pete the Electricaian" for electrical. If it's all the same company it is reasonable to expect them to coordinate together.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Calgary
    My Ride
    GLA
    Posts
    1,679
    Rep Power
    21

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Online
    My Ride
    Budget Baller
    Posts
    10,203
    Rep Power
    30

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Can you bump that and update with pics? Looks boss.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Calgary
    My Ride
    GLA
    Posts
    1,679
    Rep Power
    21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by max_boost View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Can you bump that and update with pics? Looks boss.
    I can do some update pics, sure.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    595
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I would just avoid anyone who sub-contracts (or sometimes even sub-sub contracts), as most of the time it is the cheapest, worst possible trade they can possibly find. I have been burned 3 times by this now on major work. Manager comes in, makes himself sound all quality-oriented, etc. and maybe he is but he does NONE of the work. Then, in come all these guys who appear to have zero actual construction experience and do an unbelievably poor job (whatever the cheapest labor he could find I am sure). Then, you want him to fix all the problems and guess who shows up to "fix" it"? Never again.

    Either get one guy who can do most/all of it himself or hire specific trades for each piece and make sure the guys you are talking to and are comfortable with are the actual ones doing the work.
    This is not fact but i would bet any legit GC is going to have sub contractors working for him, yeah there are guys out there who hire shit guys but thats where you have to do your homework and being burned 3 times sounds like you didnt or hired the cheapest guys. And your last comment about hiring one guy that can do most or all the work is pretty crazy imo There definitely are guys out there that can do it all but you cant compare the level of work to a guy who specializes in that particular trade.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Calgary AB
    My Ride
    S2K
    Posts
    2,195
    Rep Power
    14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket1k78 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    This is not fact but i would bet any legit GC is going to have sub contractors working for him, yeah there are guys out there who hire shit guys but thats where you have to do your homework and being burned 3 times sounds like you didnt or hired the cheapest guys. And your last comment about hiring one guy that can do most or all the work is pretty crazy imo There definitely are guys out there that can do it all but you cant compare the level of work to a guy who specializes in that particular trade.
    Agreed 100%.

    If you hire a guy that does it all, none of it will be done well. Also wrt renos/trades workers, like most other things, you get what you pay for.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Calgary, AB
    My Ride
    Merc S550, Merc SL550, F-450, ML63
    Posts
    253
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    I have to say we are doing a house right now and are acting as the general contractor. Usually after we get 3 quotes from the time for the time one of the guys comes in to finish is about 4 days. They are pretty efficient when working under us.
    Iím also do a bunch of the work when I get home from work and the other half is doing most of the work because he doesnít really work...

    Pics for attention




    Last edited by KPHMPH; 05-08-2018 at 07:38 AM.
    Professionally Retired

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Victoria Park
    My Ride
    '16 FoRS, '09 UZN215, '90 Z32, '15 Grom
    Posts
    3,399
    Rep Power
    18

    Default

    ^^ What's up with the cabinet spacing near the ceiling? Is it just the photo or is it not level?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Calgary, AB
    My Ride
    Merc S550, Merc SL550, F-450, ML63
    Posts
    253
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    Toes and soffits still need to be installed, plus the lighting makes it wonky.
    Professionally Retired

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Calgary
    My Ride
    2017 Civic Hatch ST
    Posts
    9,644
    Rep Power
    27

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket1k78 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    This is not fact but i would bet any legit GC is going to have sub contractors working for him, yeah there are guys out there who hire shit guys but thats where you have to do your homework and being burned 3 times sounds like you didnt or hired the cheapest guys. And your last comment about hiring one guy that can do most or all the work is pretty crazy imo There definitely are guys out there that can do it all but you cant compare the level of work to a guy who specializes in that particular trade.
    My building flooded 3 times, I was on the condo board (and I had an affected unit), our choice of "approved" contractors were limited, and I did not have the only say in the matter (most people just want it done ASAP and don't care about quality). If it were my own home (or if I had the only say) you can bet I would be doing 10x the due diligence. The only people you deal with before signing are the managers who swear up & down how they only care about quality. Then in come their high school employees to do all the work or just F-around all day and clearly don't want to be there. This is all behind me now but some of the things my security cameras caught was unbelievable (literal discussions about how to make it look like they did work when they didn't, "hope we don't get caught", etc.). Hardwood contractor (West Valley Carpet & Flooring) was in my unit over 10 times before I changed my locks and demanded a payout so I could get the work done properly.

    My parents have twice used one guy to do major renovations except for very specialist things (electrical, plumbing) and it takes a way longer time but the work has been vastly superior to any GC work I have ever seen. I am super anal and the work was phenomenal each time. I'm sure there are exceptions everywhere but that has been my experience. I would never use a GC again without talking to each of his sub contractors (the actual ones doing the work), finding references, etc.
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 05-08-2018 at 08:45 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    calgary
    My Ride
    0.8 L of Diesel fury
    Posts
    290
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Holy shit, that's an extensive reno. It looks great man...I can see why it was stressful.

    Looks like you probably had the trades working on your place even when you were away? Any issues with that? We would be living in the house during the renos.

    I see the convenience of having a GC in that we would only be dealing with one person and would probably get it done quicker....but at the same time it's more $$.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    595
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    our choice of "approved" contractors were limited, and I did not have the only say in the matter (most people just want it done ASAP and don't care about quality)
    So because you had a limited list of GC's(who use subs) to choose from you go and lump all GC's(who use subs) in the same pile? And you said so yourself they just wanted it done and didnt care about quality so i doubt much due diligence was put in with choosing the GC lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    My parents have twice used one guy to do major renovations except for very specialist things (electrical, plumbing) and it takes a way longer time but the work has been vastly superior to any GC work I have ever seen. I am super anal and the work was phenomenal each time. I'm sure there are exceptions everywhere but that has been my experience. I would never use a GC again without talking to each of his sub contractors (the actual ones doing the work), finding references, etc.
    Im not trying to be a total dick but cmon man. You're vouching for all the hack do it alls because you had 2 good experiences with one guy?
    Your expectations about meeting the GC's subs are also not real either unless you get a small guy who only has one guy for each trade because they wouldnt know the schedule for your house until after youve signed. I would also bet most Gc's are going to walk or add in an extra cost if you wanted to grill their trades lol

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Calgary
    My Ride
    GLA
    Posts
    1,679
    Rep Power
    21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by el_fefes View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Holy shit, that's an extensive reno. It looks great man...I can see why it was stressful.

    Looks like you probably had the trades working on your place even when you were away? Any issues with that? We would be living in the house during the renos.

    I see the convenience of having a GC in that we would only be dealing with one person and would probably get it done quicker....but at the same time it's more $$.
    I just kept two houses while we did the reno. Was easier.

    I also have the ability to be around the house as much as I want, essentially.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Calgary
    My Ride
    2017 Civic Hatch ST
    Posts
    9,644
    Rep Power
    27

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket1k78 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    So because you had a limited list of GC's(who use subs) to choose from you go and lump all GC's(who use subs) in the same pile? And you said so yourself they just wanted it done and didnt care about quality so i doubt much due diligence was put in with choosing the GC lol



    Im not trying to be a total dick but cmon man. You're vouching for all the hack do it alls because you had 2 good experiences with one guy?
    Your expectations about meeting the GC's subs are also not real either unless you get a small guy who only has one guy for each trade because they wouldnt know the schedule for your house until after youve signed. I would also bet most Gc's are going to walk or add in an extra cost if you wanted to grill their trades lol
    Umm no? When did I say all GC's were the same? Most people make decisions based on their personal experiences. Mine includes 3 *different* GC's, and two *different* "one man" operations. My 3 GC experiences were absolute nightmares extending 6 months long each time, and my single contractor experiences were excellent. That was my experience, YMMV. I also said "I'm sure there are exceptions everywhere but that has been my experience." which was specifically included to stress the fact that I am not trying to paint all GC's with one brush.

    The GC's I met with all swore up & down about how they do the highest quality work, employ the highest quality trades, blah blah blah. Then you never see them again, and if you have problems, they don't come look at it themselves they just tell the subs to go back and fix it. Everyone they sent to do work looked to be doing the work just for a summer high school job, or did not speak English so I could not communicate with them. These were not experienced tradespeople. They showed me binders full of pictures of their work with no close-ups so nobody could possibly evaluate it (that is probably normal). Short of personally visiting prior work these guys did (and if I did, how could I possibly be sure which sub-contractor individuals did the actual work?), there wasn't a lot more that could be done and I didn't have veto power anyway. After many months, each time it ended with me refusing to allow anyone into my condo anymore, and taking a payout to get the work done myself by someone who didn't subcontract all their work out. I also did some of the work myself because with zero experience, limited tools, and YouTube to guide me, I did a better job than anyone they had working on my unit.

    If you have multiple bad experiences with one method, and good experiences with another method, I think it's reasonable to stick to what has worked for you in the past rather than keep rolling the dice. If you find one guy (or a small team, whatever) of guys who can do most of the work, their commitment to quality is more likely to be applied to all aspects of the job (that has been my experience anyway). The trade off is it can take longer (though in my case the GC's took longer because they had to re-do the work 5 times). When you have different crews working on different things, there is a greater chance that you run into a sub that you don't like because as you say, no GC is going to let you go and meet all their trades, check out their work individually, etc. For general work I find this works very well, and as I said earlier for the specialties like plumbing/electrical you will likely need another contractor unless the work is basic.
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 05-08-2018 at 03:53 PM.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    N/A
    My Ride
    100% Bow tie
    Posts
    2,606
    Rep Power
    15

    Default

    Renovations, to use a GC or not?

    Being sort of in that business, I have worked with a number of GC's over the past few years. There are some I would consider great and whom hire great subs but there are others I'd stay far away from.

    Can you save money by not having a GC - sure but unless you're really knowledgeable in all things with respect to the construction industry you'll probably cost yourself more money in the end or have some subpar work done. About fifteen years ago, our neighbor two doors south of us renovated their home and used a GC, everything turned out fabulously and no hitches. Our neighbor directly to the north also did a partial renovation and addition but decided to be their own GC and there was no end of problems.

    They found trades by just walking around the community and man did it show. The guys they hired to build their basement addition were complete fools - on the day the concrete arrived the wall forms started coming apart when the concrete was going in. Better yet, the fools jumped down there to shore things up. Then they didn't move/tamp the concrete well enough and when the forms were removed it was a crumbly mess where the new basement windows were to go. Best of all was the neighbor calling up the natural gas company the day of the pour and requested that his gas service be moved to a different place. - the gas company basically laughed at him for such late notice and the new basement walls were poured around the existing gas service. Having a competent GC would've most likely eliminated all of these headaches.

    Btw, every GC I've dealt with utilizes subs - yah, they'll have some direct reports (general carpentry, handy man kind of guy) but things like tile or hardwood flooring, cabinets, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and finish carpentry are usually sub'ed out. Sure, a jack of all trades can do a lot but it will show in the end product.
    Last edited by speedog; 05-08-2018 at 07:03 PM.
    Moran supreme

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    595
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Umm no? When did I say all GC's were the same?
    LOL really? See your post below. Telling people to avoid any gc because of your couple incidents is pretty much saying theyre all the same no?
    I dont know why you keep arguing because your experiences with GC's was not even the norm, you had to pick from a small list of contractors that you didnt get to research, you had a bunch of other owners just wanting the work done so they rushed it and in the end it wasnt even your OWN choice who to hire because there mustve been a vote or something with so many people involved. The reason you had 3 bad experiences is because you pretty much had little to no say about who to hire each time

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I would just avoid anyone who sub-contracts (or sometimes even sub-sub contracts), as most of the time it is the cheapest, worst possible trade they can possibly find.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 0
    Latest Threads: 09-27-2012, 03:24 PM
  2. Replies: 11
    Latest Threads: 01-18-2012, 11:54 PM
  3. Anyone know of a general contractor

    By black_2.5RS in forum General
    Replies: 0
    Latest Threads: 07-11-2008, 07:55 PM
  4. LF: General Contractor

    By topmade in forum Careers
    Replies: 1
    Latest Threads: 05-15-2008, 02:39 PM
  5. Renovations - need reputable contractor

    By grideTLS in forum General
    Replies: 6
    Latest Threads: 06-03-2005, 02:29 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •