How Long To Build? - Construction - Contractor Talk

How Long To Build?

 
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Old 05-26-2012, 12:43 PM   #1
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How Long To Build?


We are planning to build a home starting the first week of July. Money is not an object and my crew will be doing all the wiring. I am planning on hiring a local contractor who will work solely on my build instead of several jobs at once.

I have two contractors who have given me different time lines for the builds. One says they can do the entire build (a 5,000 sq ft home) in 8 weeks since all crews will be working only on my house and he will still guarantee the quality of his work. (And yes, it's going to cost a lot, but the fast time is important.)

The second guy I talked to said 12 weeks would be the fastest. I made sure they both knew that quality was my main concern and then the fast time second.

They both were recommended by others, but I wanted to get a variety of opinions before I commit to one of them. Are those two time frames realistic considering that both would be working only on my project and not multiple ones?

Last edited by electric2; 05-26-2012 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 05-26-2012, 12:53 PM   #2
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Re: How Long To Build?


How long is a piece of rope?

Seriously, ask to see each contractor's Gantt chart (or equivalent). If you're an electrician and generally familiar with construction processes, surely you will be able to ascertain if each has allocated enough time for each step in the overall process.

If they're pulling numbers out of their a$$, then I call BS.

Even the best plans are subject to weather and other issues (supply shortages - backordered equipment or fixtures).

Depending on the AHJ involved, that alone can add two weeks to the process.

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Old 05-26-2012, 01:28 PM   #3
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Re: How Long To Build?


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Originally Posted by txgencon View Post
How long is a piece of rope?

Seriously, ask to see each contractor's Gantt chart (or equivalent). If you're an electrician and generally familiar with construction processes, surely you will be able to ascertain if each has allocated enough time for each step in the overall process.

If they're pulling numbers out of their a$$, then I call BS.

Even the best plans are subject to weather and other issues (supply shortages - backordered equipment or fixtures).

Depending on the AHJ involved, that alone can add two weeks to the process.

The projects I've worked on normally takes the contractor from 6-8 months with a 3-4 man crew. One of the guys says he will be using a 10 man crew and the other says 15. I've done a few houses where they did the build in 3 months, but those houses were 2000 sq ft and under.

I'm meeting with both of them next week to look at the GCs but I'm guessing that the estimates are based on having the extra hands on-site and the fact that our summers usually don't have much rain at all.
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Old 05-26-2012, 01:37 PM   #4
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Re: How Long To Build?


I guess I should have posed the question as, "How long would you estimate a 5,000 sq. ft. build if using a contractor with a 10 man crew?"
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Old 05-26-2012, 03:15 PM   #5
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Re: How Long To Build?


9-12 months depending on what level of finishes your installing.

Think about it this way, do you really want a house put together in 8 or 12 weeks and expect it to be done right?

Where I come from I hope you ordered the kitchen cabinets 2 months before you started! And the trusses better be ordered before you dig too.
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Old 05-26-2012, 03:20 PM   #6
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Re: How Long To Build?


So each contractor is going to do everything with his own men and not use subs?

That means that his workers are probably not specialists at anything.
That will certainly slow them down and likely result in a lesser quality product.

There are too many variables. Is this a two story house? Basement? Complex roof? AHJ work hour restrictions?

Back to my original comment. If one is saying, "Oh, about eight weeks." and the other is saying "About twelve weeks.", it seems pretty obvious (to me) that they aren't taking seriously your concerns about the time line.
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Old 05-26-2012, 04:49 PM   #7
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Re: How Long To Build?


That size house SHOULD take about 7 months, average. Around here, they usually take 5 to 5.5 months.
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Last edited by Willie T; 05-26-2012 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:24 PM   #8
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Re: How Long To Build?


[QUOTE=txgencon;1503168]
Seriously, ask to see each contractor's Gantt chart (or equivalent). QUOTE]

Good idea!
OP- I know you won't post it, but I'm sure many of us would love to see the schedule they have come up with. If houses could be build that fast (while maintaining quality), it would be the norm.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:21 PM   #9
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Re: How Long To Build?


I just don't get how they can say that all the guys would be working on just your house. I seriously doubt that they keep everything in house. Excavation? Concrete? Masonry? Plumbing? Painting? HVAC? Drywall/plaster? If you're in the electrical trade, you know that subs aren't sitting there with their crews waiting for that one job that they can devote all their time to. Can it be done in 8-12 weeks? Sure. But will it then be a home that 10 years down the road people will go "this is a really well built home"........? less likely. But I'd sure like to hear their sales pitches.........
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:31 PM   #10
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Re: How Long To Build?


The big question is, if money is not a object why does it have to be done so fast. You could rent a place to live in for a few months and have them do a quality job at a reasonable price and probably come out cheaper.
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:35 PM   #11
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Re: How Long To Build?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kgmz View Post
The big question is, if money is not a object why does it have to be done so fast. You could rent a place to live in for a few months and have them do a quality job at a reasonable price and probably come out cheaper.
That was one of my first thoughts, also.
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:36 PM   #12
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Re: How Long To Build?


Your biggest bottleneck is the ten men.

I can tell you, flat out, that it is going to be a big mistake to assume that this number of men is going to make the house move faster.

Not on your life.

SCHEDULING is what is going to get this, or ANY, house done quickly.

At one time I had as many as 46 houses under construction at any given time, and our average completion time was 12-16 weeks for appx 3,300 sf homes.

But this kind of schedule COULD NOT have been maintained if I hadn't had so many places to put men every day.

Putting 10 men on a house SOUNDS good, but it will prove to be disasterous if you are building only one house at a time.
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:48 PM   #13
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Re: How Long To Build?


First of all where you located?

Second of all it will take you anywhere 6-8 months to complete that size house, that is if you know what you doing and can run a tight schedule...not to mention how many custom features you will be adding to the house.

Now if you gonna have 20 guys jumping all over the place and tripping over one another and you do slap that house together in 3-4 months, post some pictures, I could use a good laugh looking at one messed up house.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:20 PM   #14
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Re: How Long To Build?


6 months atleast for me, 8 to 10 more likely. Not enough info to give that kind of timeline. Willie is right, it is ALL about scheduling.

A guy a few years older than me entered a house in the Parade of Homes here through our HBA, he broke ground May 22 and finished October 9 , he had to. He put up 5 gs of his own money on the line to enter, October 9 was the dead line, no refunds. 4900 ft, two stories, lots of details, outdoor living and kitchen, AND a two story garage apartment separate from the house. They were laying driveway pavers 30 hours before deadline. To my suprise it turned out great , he won Best Craftsmanship, and Peoples Choice over many other multi million dollar homes.

His back ground was commercial, he scheduled it tight, and subbed everything. Super on site 12 hours a day six days a week, 7 for the last month. Had a meeting with all subs prior to signing with them and got them to agree to the timeline. He used different subs for every trade i except concrete for the outdoor living and apartment and did everything at the sametime.

He even gave up his end of ALL the change orders to get them to go with a higher end tile throughout, it was his first Parade. He signed alot of work from it, smart guy. Ballsy. O am not set up to bang a custom out that fast, I wouldn't of risked 5 gs on the fact for sure.

I also don't see the point behind using inhouse guys for everything, at least for speed reasons. I can see using a good crew to build a house where all the details are given a great deal of attention. Subs should actually be faster i would think. They specialize in their area, and do it every day. My crew can frame a house very well, but it will be slower and more expensive than using a good custom framer. We frame additions , but mostly use my in house guys for finish work, trim, painting, cornice, siding, decks, ect... Not saying others don't have crews who are efficient at everything, just rare. Most GCs I know who have an inhouse crew for almost everything are either all about quality, and don't care about time or are lowballers.

I can't see having 15 guys who are good at everything, and I can't see having 15 guys working all at once on a house of that size, sounds very inefficient, a builders worst nightmare. But that's just my opinion.

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Old 05-26-2012, 09:31 PM   #15
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Re: How Long To Build?


You guys are making sense. I was hesitant with both, but have agreed to meet with them again. The reason I asked is because my gut was telling me something just wasn't right. I've got another guy that I was told about this evening and I'm calling him on Tuesday. I've already been told by my contact (a previous client) that I shouldn't expect a super fast build but that he runs a tight ship and the craftsmanship of his crew and subs is amazing.

Have a feeling that I'll probably end up with this guy if everything looks good, but I've committed myself to meeting with the other two, so I'll see what they have on paper before I write them off as a no-go. Thanks for all the honest opinions. I'd rather have quality than speed and, if it's going to take longer, I can always move my family into a rental after this place sells.

Greg - I'm in East Texas.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:33 PM   #16
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Re: How Long To Build?


I like an inhouse crew of two or three men, and the rest subs. To me, they are working Supers.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:33 PM   #17
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Re: How Long To Build?


Quote:
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That was one of my first thoughts, also.
We live in the stix - and I mean WAY in the stix - and there aren't many rental places around. Those that are, are in pretty bad shape. If it comes to us having to move before it's built, I'm thinking that's as good an excuse as any to buy the RV I've been wanting.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:34 PM   #18
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Re: How Long To Build?


Quote:
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You guys are making sense. I was hesitant with both, but have agreed to meet with them again. The reason I asked is because my gut was telling me something just wasn't right. I've got another guy that I was told about this evening and I'm calling him on Tuesday. I've already been told by my contact (a previous client) that I shouldn't expect a super fast build but that he runs a tight ship and the craftsmanship of his crew and subs is amazing.

Have a feeling that I'll probably end up with this guy if everything looks good, but I've committed myself to meeting with the other two, so I'll see what they have on paper before I write them off as a no-go. Thanks for all the honest opinions. I'd rather have quality than speed and, if it's going to take longer, I can always move my family into a rental after this place sells.

Greg - I'm in East Texas.

How far east? The guy I was just talking about goes pretty far.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
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We live in the stix - and I mean WAY in the stix - and there aren't many rental places around. Those that are, are in pretty bad shape. If it comes to us having to move before it's built, I'm thinking that's as good an excuse as any to buy the RV I've been wanting.
As an electrician you are in a unique position to see how the builders in your area operate and who does quality builds. I would choose one I work with, if I were you, assuming you work for builders, and assuming that some of them are good builders.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:07 PM   #20
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Re: How Long To Build?


Two weeks!

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