Acting as your own general contractor and/or project manager on any kind of construction project will depend on many variables including the scale of the project, your experience with such projects, your personality and the risk you are willing to assume. While it is fairly easy and uncomplicated to act as your own project manager on small scale projects such as a bathroom or kitchen remodel, when it comes to more ambitious plans, for instance, a large addition or building a new house, then you really need to have the right background to ensure a seamless experience.
What it takes
While the job of general contractor doesn’t necessarily require a whole lot of experience, it might be good to know the basics involved with construction so that you are aware of what to look for and when to ask questions. You will also need to be tough enough to intervene when things aren’t going the way you expected, yet clever enough to raise these concerns without antagonizing your contactors. Having the time to spend at least two hours per day visiting the job site and keeping abreast of the latest developments is also necessary. So, in short you need:
Time – to spend at the job site
Tact – when dealing with subcontractors
Talent – at managing projects, people and plans
Hiring the right people
When you act as the manager or general contractor on your construction project, you will be responsible for hiring your subcontractors. Depending on your project, the most important sub you will hire is the carpenter. Your carpenter will be responsible for framing your new addition, house, etc… and they will be the person to come back to do the finishing after all of the electrical and plumbing has been added. The carpenter will often have electricians and plumbers with whom they work, which means that if you hire the right carpenter, that person can then help you find the rest of your team.
Finding the right people
Looking online, in newspapers and even the Yellowpages is a good start to finding contractors to work for you in your neighbourhood. Another good way to find people is by word-of-mouth. Asking family and friends is a good way to not only find someone, but also get a first-hand review of the work that they do and how they work. Driving by worksites and walking onto the site and asking to speak to the head carpenter is yet another way of finding good contractors. Regardless of the route that you take to find your contractor, make sure that you vet the person by looking over their past work portfolio, contacting former customers to find out how that person works and by signing a contract with them stipulating the terms of payment and also the timeline for having the work completed.
People act as their own general contractor/project manager all the time for smaller scale projects. However, when it comes to building a house or building a large addition to your home, then you might want to consider leaving the project management up to a professional as larger projects can run into larger problems that will require more time and energy to resolve. Unless you are willing to deal with any issues that arise, then hiring a project managers for a larger project would be your best bet.