Home building and remodeling projects done by the Do-It-Yourselfer is currently on the rise. Current economic conditions are a large contributing factor. In many cases homeowners think that they can save a lot of money if they do it themselves. They ask themselves how hard can it be after all and I will save a ton?
With that saved money homeowners are hoping that they can get all the home they wished for. Unfortunately, homeowners often discover that they don’t get exactly what they wished for. Instead they fall short due to honest mistakes and lack of experience.
There are several factors that cause homeowners to choose the DIY route to build a home or remodel:
- I have past construction experience
- I will save money
- I manage projects at work so I can run a simple kitchen, addition or new home project
- My friends will help me
- I watched DIY TV shows
- I went to a Big Box store and took a seminar
- I bought some books
- I am smarter than a simple carpenter or remodeler so I can manage them
With the availability of knowledge on the web, most homeowners feel they can find the answers and solutions for most questions about building or remodeling. Many homeowners are lulled into an unreliable sense of confidence that they can do any project on their own. One should move with caution and prudence before going too far down the path of building. Even the most savvy homeowner (or land owner) should consider the potential pitfalls they face before taking on such an endeavor.
Here are 10 pitfalls to consider and avoid before you take on your own DIY project:
- Budget: not determining and verifying the funding needed to complete the project.
- Plans: not developing and completing a full set of plans with scope of work and product selections. Unclear scope of work and incomplete plans cause disputes and change orders.
- Building Codes: not understanding all codes and local requirements.
- Scheduling: not planning the schedule and sequencing of trades.
- Timely purchasing and delivery of materials: not doing this will cause delays, loss of money and trade frustrations.
- Industry Knowledge: not being familiar with standard building techniques and means & methods can lead to building inspector rejecting completed work.
- Knowledge of the right trades: accessibility and familiarity with the RIGHT subs. Typically subs work for other contractors and service them better than homeowners running their own job.
- Contractor credentials: not verifying liability insurance, workmen’s compensation, licensing and required certifications. Jobs can be shut down if you have contractors working illegally or unsafe on your site by OSHA, DIA, DLS and local inspectors.
- Sub-contractor agreements: not ensuring that each trade is encumbered by a legal binding contract clearly describing terms, responsibilities and payment schedules.
- Relationships with officials: not having a relationship with building officials, and understanding their expectations. Most building officials frown on homeowners running their own projects.
The bottom line is even though you are a savvy do-it-yourselfer with some experience in construction and Project Management in your own career, taking on your own project involves numerous risks you may not be prepared for.
Don’t be left making any costly mistakes. You can still oversee the project yourself with an experienced industry expert at your disposal throughout the project. You decide the level of involvement.
Work with a company that offers Construction Management and/or Homeowner Consulting and Coaching Services to reduce your risks. It is possible to be involved with building or remodeling the house of your dreams and also be equipped with the proper guidance and knowledge to protect your assets.