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Discussion Starter #1
I just got a call from a homeowner that wants to build his own house. He has a contract to purchase a lot and has an architect working on plans. He is asking what I would charge or how i would structure an agreement to oversee his project
I have subcontracted carpentry from owner builders a few times, years ago, and it was always a scheduling nightmare when they had control. A homeowner typically has no respect for the critical path of events.
I don't know just what this guy is looking for, he was vague enough on the phone and implied that he has plenty of time available to be at the job daily. I think he has always pictured himself as the contractor, now is getting nervous as it gets closer to starting. I don't want to get into a situation where he holds me accountable but wants to run the project himself.
I don't think he will be able to get a construction loan without having a fixed price agreement with a GC. I can't get into a situation where his subcontractors are considered to be working under my insurance.
We are going to meet in about a week to look at his preliminary plans.
Im looking for whatever pitfalls you guys see in this proposition or what scope of work you might suggest to this homeowner so I could establish a value for my services.
Anybody here ever served as a consultant to an owner builder?
 

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Fine Handcrafted Opinions
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Almost got into this exact scenario last year. I needed the work, so I was trying to figure out how to set it up. Owner backed out, and went with some owner/builder network outfit that does this all the time. I've since not ceased to thank my lucky stars that it didn't work out. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to be a potential nightmare. Plus, I couldn't figure out how it would cost him significantly less than if he just contracted me to do the whole thing.

I'd say run away.
 

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The Ultimate Wire Hider
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I'm not an expert at this but if I were in your position, I'd ballpark it at around $1000-$1500 a sq. ft. The cost may be higher or lower based upon your area, type of house, etc. so I would talk to some builders to find out what it normally costs to build..say.. a 1000 sq. ft. split foyer and then make your adjustments from there.
 

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tedanderson said:
I'm not an expert at this but if I were in your position, I'd ballpark it at around $1000-$1500 a sq. ft. The cost may be higher or lower based upon your area, type of house, etc. so I would talk to some builders to find out what it normally costs to build..say.. a 1000 sq. ft. split foyer and then make your adjustments from there.
$1000-$1500 a square foot????!!!

Holy cow, batman. That's crazy. Surely that's a typo...?
 

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Simply present a cost plus contract for "consulting" the work, based on your expertise, and add a hold/harmless agreement since you are not actually in charge. It is either that, or being the general...take your pick.

The owner builder is accepting the responsibility and warranty of the work. I haven't seen many mortgage companies who will accept owner/builders.....probably why he wants you on board....your name may be worth his mortgage or construction financing.
 

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tedanderson said:
I'm not an expert at this but if I were in your position, I'd ballpark it at around $1000-$1500 a sq. ft. The cost may be higher or lower based upon your area, type of house, etc. so I would talk to some builders to find out what it normally costs to build..say.. a 1000 sq. ft. split foyer and then make your adjustments from there.
I think someone's green when it comes to estimating:/ a safer ball park would be 80-120 the square foot but then again thats my area.
 

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I don't see how that would work. Do you plan on sitting there teaching him how to schedule? And then telling him to check for this, this, and this? That would take you more time than if you would take over the project yourself. You'll have to charge more than if you were doing it on your own.
 

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Owner/Builders were pretty big in the late 70's early 80's.
Many lending institutions got burnt because of these idiots.

The situation the OP has presented is that of a Construction/Project Manager. The SOW, expectations & EXPLICIT job duties/functions spelled out with great precision. Also how much time the PM is expected to put in.

I don't see where an OB would save any money in this scenario as opposed to hiring a competent GC to start with.

Tell the guy you want 20% of the job cost & full control over purchases, scheduling & hiring subs.:thumbsup:
 

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ClaytonR said:
Plus, I couldn't figure out how it would cost him significantly less than if he just contracted me to do the whole thing.

I'd say run away.
I don't see it either. Maybe they write up a schedule, list of subs, and a quality control check list then say "have at it". Then show up two or three times for walk throughs. But if you were there all the time overseeing it, that's like running the job anyway with one more person to babysit.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My gut and my wife both say run away, both will undoubtedly say "I told you so" when the project goes sour.
In my experience, if the bank uses my name and contract for e basis of his mortgage, the checks are drafted from the bank to me. It becomes more difficult to say that I'm not responsible in that situation.
I will give him an hour to look over preliminary plans, to see if I am comfortable with the owner and if he has any plans for financing.
I like the idea of the 'hold harmless' contract clause.
 

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larry228 said:
My gut and my wife both say run away, both will undoubtedly say "I told you so" when the project goes sour.
In my experience, if the bank uses my name and contract for e basis of his mortgage, the checks are drafted from the bank to me. It becomes more difficult to say that I'm not responsible in that situation.
I will give him an hour to look over preliminary plans, to see if I am comfortable with the owner and if he has any plans for financing.
I like the idea of the 'hold harmless' contract clause.
I read the contract that the guy wound up signing. It was unbelievable how much it basically said "WE AREN'T RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING!!!!PERIOD!!! AT ALL!!!!

It said, almost verbatim, "if we give you advice and you follow it and it turns out to be bad advice that causes your house to completely fail, it's not our fault and you can't hold us responsible". .

And those crooks were getting 12% of the building price. Go figure...
 

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jlsconstruction said:
I'm pretty sure he ment 100 to 150 a sqf

Ted actually knows what he's talking about, it's clearly a typo
Perhaps but it's hard to make the same twice and think its a typo and not a rookie on here.( didnt bother to check his profile)
 

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The majority of my new construction is owner / builder. As a sub, I can make considerably more money. Some hire PM's, others don't. I put a clause in my contract detailing the number of trips, and a trip charge for excessive trips/ job/material not ready.
 

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The majority of my new construction is owner / builder. As a sub, I can make considerably more money. Some hire PM's, others don't. I put a clause in my contract detailing the number of trips, and a trip charge for excessive trips/ job/material not ready.
99% of the time, I'm my experience, these waste too much of my time. I still do them but I'm very very picky on which ones I take.
 

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I usually have 2-3 days a week for service, and 2-3 for ongoing jobs. I would love to be strictly service.:thumbsup:
5 calls today. 7 yesterday. It's not all it's cracked up to be. Many many times I wish I was just doing a 3 day type job. It gets pretty crazy.

What's sometimes hard is I wake up in the morning with zero jobs and they develop throughout the day until they are 100% complete. Next day......clean slate, start again with zero.
 
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