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"You can do it if you can."

That's what I was told, but then, my wife helped me build it, so I didn't build it alone.
Crawdad
 

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DGR,IABD
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My father built ranch style homes by himself for close to 20 years. There is a book called "working alone" that gives you some tips on solo homebuilding.

Another method to build it "by yourself" is to use subs for every stage of the home, then you won't need to do much actual skilled trade work yourself.
 

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Sure, why not, - - I built a second-story (ranch home) addition single-handedly about 10 years ago, - - I've built about 14 or 15 additions by myself (rough and finish, staircases and all), - - one of them had 18 foot 2 X 10 rafters, - - it's not a matter of strength, - - it's a matter of ingenuity.
 

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We built 3 of our homes when I was a kid. It's legal just about everywhere. A guy that I know built one a while back, pulled an old GC out of retirement to guide him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cole_21 said:
What size house?

More details.
nothing big or fancy, 1800sqft 3/2/2 lets say..

how much experience does one need to attempt such a feat?

Im new to the construction biz, but would like to learn how to build a house from scratch. Im pretty confident with interior finishes, but the structural aspect is a little too complicated for now.

Also, how much hands on experience would you recomend I have before applying for a Residential Contractor license?
 

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DGR,IABD
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WallyP said:
Im new to the construction biz, but would like to learn how to build a house from scratch.
Then building one from scratch, by yourself, with no substantial experience is going to be very, very, VERY expensive. I can assure you of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
mdshunk said:
Then building one from scratch, by yourself, with no substantial experience is going to be very, very, VERY expensive. I can assure you of that.
I know, its not something im planning in the near future. Its more of a long term goal of mine, just wondering if its possible.

So you're saying that if i DO know what im doing, it could be profitable? and again, how much experience would that take.. ?
 

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If you would be doing it for personal satisfaction, ok, maybe. 1800 ft. with limited skills you'll probably be divorced, broke, and very, very tired of your house, unless you are exceptional. For profit? Hire subs and make the mistakes of a businessman instead of the mistakes associated with learning multiplle, complexed, trades.
 

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Before the end of world war two, houses were quite often built completely from scratch by one crew who did everything in the house. I am told sub trades didn't become the norm until after WWII. Ofcoarse i wasn't there and this is just based off what I've read in my life.
 

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How many years in the feild are going to be based on how quick you pick up on things and who your working with to learn these trades. Even after 17 years in this business I'm still learning things which I bet most on here will agree with.

To do a good-great job at any one aspect your going to be hard pressed, ESPECIALLY with little to no experience. Many times folks "think" they did a good job resorting to everybit of common sense in their body for a project, but in reality it's far from it from a professional stand point.

Sounds like you have a good dream, but it will be a hard dream realized and a VERY EXPENSIVE dream by the time you aquire all the different tools required to pull off this feat....takes more than a hammer, tape, and saw...after I turned 18 and decided to turn general it's been a non stop tool stocking piling so I have what I need to do this or that, and then out comes new tools that will help speed production so now your into buying a second or third of the same thing..only better.

Getting licsenced is an adventure in itself that will cost quite a bit depending on rules in your area, it cost me $2500 said and done for tests, insurance, fees, etc...to get licsenced, and that is just for a builder. If you want to do ANY electrical/plumbing those are 2 totally different trades that in our area require X amount of time working for a certified plumber/electrician, then you have those separate 6hr tests, then insureance for those trade that will be different from your gerenal insurance. Then you'll have to get your HVAC licsence which is also under the same criteria as the last two I mentioned. You might possibly be able to forget all of that if you building the house for yourself on your property, but you better have somebody from all the related trades looking over your shoulder so you can do it right and not have to tear out and redo which will cost money...and even doing that unless you have a buddy in that feild that will cost you money and trying to find a contractor to babysit will be a battle in itself.

Better off subbing it out, save yourself ALOT of money in the big picture, and it'll give all the subs something to beeotch about since this will be your first project undoubtly time lines will get thrown out the window and snowball effect into screwing up everybodies work to redo this or that LOL!! I did 3 jobs where homies were generals, NEVER AGAIN!!!! Cuz after they screw everything up costing more time/material, they have a fit cuz it's waaay overbudget :rolleyes:
 

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Finish Carpentry
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HEY! I have that book, lots of good tips. :Thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
IHI - thanks for putting that into perspective, made things a little clearer. I'll just stick to what i do best, and sub out the rest. :cool:
 

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Yeah I have to agree here. While it is physically possible for one person to build an entire house it better be a labor of love.

While I could build an entire house myself, it took at least 7 years of baby steps to get to this point.

Even though I could do it all myself there are certain parts that would not make sense to do myself and would be more prudent to sub out.

The excavation and foundation would certainly be one area to consider subbing out.

The framing could be another, but it really depends on the complexity of the design I would think.

Some of the electrical for sure such as the hook up to the pole the service installation, but the running of the wire runs is manageable.

Some of the plumbing, but some of it is manageable.

The drywall I would certainly without a doubt sub out. That's one area where experience blows everybody else out of the water, just thinking of hanging the ceiling alone makes me cringe. The taping and mudding would be up for subbing too.

The painting would be a place where I would feel comfortable doing it, even though I know there is no comparision between a real paint job done by a pro and what I would end up doing.
 

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WallyP said:
by himself?

would that be difficult? is it legal?
Two heads are better than one. I work alone a lot and I am tired of it. Things go faster with two. I have a relative who quit his job at age 35
and with his friend they decided they were going to build houses. They knew nothing when they started.
They hired an old time retired german carpenter to teach them how and the rest was history. they built their houses and had a thriving home building business ever since. That was years ago before Montauk Point in Long Isalnd was the place to be.
Their boss told them they would never make it. They made it allright, big time.! They were in the right place at the right time and retired wealthy
carpenters. Do your homework, get the expertise you need and do it.
I taught myself how to frame roofs by studying the book " Roof Framing" by Marshall Gross. It was tough but worth it. As a result I got jobs framing
some roofs. So you can learn a lot from books, videos and trial and error.
 

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I've got a friend who turned a one story concrete block house into a two story barn style house that looks real sweet, and did it all on his own. He also built a two story garage behind his house with an apartment above it. He literally took years building it all...at times gathering a few left over cinder blocks here and there...extra concrete from friends in the trade, etc. It truely was a labor of love, their whole family basically lived in two rooms while the major contruction was handled.

I have a lot of respect for him as a builder, and even a finisher....his work is exceptional. However, this is one of those guys that just knows how to build anything. He can repair anything from a small electric motor to a big block chevy as well.

Me? I just paint, and paint very good due to all my time in the field. I would never take on an entire build on my own with no experience. I'll lean on fellaz like him when that time comes, lol! :Thumbs:
 
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