We are planning to build a new home on our property. What is the difference between a contractor & a builder? I would like to find someone that will head the project & take care of what subs are needed & when. What do you suggest?
I'm not Mike and Mike doesn't answer posts here.
Here is how Wikipedia describes each: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_contractor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Builder refers back to General Contractor.
The two terms are used interchangeably in the US when referring to the company or person that manages a construction project. No one contractor builds the entire house. A General Contractor will work with various trades to build the house. He'll likely have an excavation contractor do the excavation for the home, a mason or a contractor that handles poured foundations will handle the basement or crawlspace, a plumber will do the rough plumbing, a concrete contractor will do the slab, sidewalks, driveway and garage floor. An electrician will do the electrical. A framing crew will build the shell and get the house weather tight, etc.
Are you building from stock plans or are you working with an architect? If you are working with an architect ask them for recommendations of contractors they have worked with in the past. Get several bids to build the house. If your gut says, I don't like this guy, don't hire him. You're going to be working with him for 6 months or more while you build the house. If you don't get along with him at the start the relationship won't improve as time goes on.
A design build firm is usually bigger and has in-house designers/architects to come up with plans for the house and or remodeling project. They will still likely bring in sub-contractors for the various trades.
A good GC is a good project manager and is able to keep the project moving forward by getting the various trades at the project at the right time. A GC generally has a good working relationship with people in the various trades that work with him on a regular basis. A good one will look for tradesman that don't require callbacks to correct mistakes and ones that are able to get in when he needs them and get their part done on time and in budget.
Some people will act as their own GC on a project to save some money. You have to be very good at project management to keep the project moving forward, this is what you're paying the GC to do. You probably won't get as timely a response from a sub contractor as the GC would because the sub contractor wants to satisfy the guy who is bringing him work on a regular basis. He'll also likely give the GC a better price than you.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Sparky,
Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.
My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
6 of one, half dozen of the other.
Make sure they have a state and county license. Before we built almost 10 years ago, I went to the county's website for building permits and scrolled through hundreds of them month by month looking for permits for my prospective Contractor and homes he would have completed by that time. They usually had the homeowners names and numbers listed on the permit.
I called a few different homeowners after their home was completed to get a critique. All of them were happy to give me their honest opinions, good and bad.
Great idea zone 9, never thought about looking at permits and checking with those owners. By doing that, you would get a lot of different opinions and maybe ideas. When we renovated, I got the opinion of tradesmen and suppliers that I knew and then checked references. I like your idea, it's very good.
Thank you for all of your responses. I had thought that a Contractor & a Builder were the same thing, but you guys just help confirm.
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