Building Consultant?

dreambuilderMarch 1, 2013

I've posted before that I'm trying to do a long-distance build....what are the thoughts about hiring a building consultant? He charges 4% of the construction price which I think is high....anyone else use someone like this?

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Do you mean an architect?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 4:04PM
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Could you explain what services he would be providing? Is it just eyes and ears during construction?

4% seems high if it's just someone doing periodic observation of construction. For an architect it might work out to 2-3% for post-design services (although calculated based on estimated hours) when along with design services in one contract. If this is the only service by your consultant, it might be one area where an hourly or per visit rate makes sense along with a regular written report and photos.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 4:27PM
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No, he is not an architect---there are no architects where we are moving--one would have to drive an hour to keep an eye on it--this is a local draftsman basically who does this for people for a fee as described in OP.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Another other issue with a "consultant" is her/his role, responsibilities and liability. And yours. For example, is this your agent, empowered to act on your behalf, direct the contractor, stop the work and make budget-related decisions?

If not, how often will they visit the site and what will they do with the information they compile? What about their mistakes in judgement, failure to observe, or failure to visit the site as agreed?

Will your construction contract clearly spell out the role of the "consultant" so that the builder has a clear understanding to the contractural relationship of the "consultant"?

Point being that any "consultant" will have to have a clearly delineated contractural relationship with someone--you and all others with whom you have a contractural relationship.

Finally, without knowing the scope of proposed services (and compared to the 6%-10% or so for architectural services for which there is clearly stated contractural responsibility and liability), 4% seems high.

Good luck on your project.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 5:19PM
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You could get full architectural services from even a bit of a distance for not much more % than that and have better service and clearer roles. Yes, an architect would be willing to drive some distance to provide that. It's not an every single day during the build role though, no matter who you hire. If you want that level of watching over a build, then you are hiring the wrong builder, or you need to wait until you can relocate and live on site yourself.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 9:30AM
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"this is a local draftsman basically who does this for people for a fee as described in OP."

including what was described in original post in this
thread would be helpful.

would this draftsman have the authority to stop
the job if things were being done incorrectly?
what steps would be taken if job was stopped?

is this draftsman experienced in ALL phases of

does this draftsman have a relationship with
you or the builder?

would it be less expensive to hire an inspector
to make scheduled inspections?

what about talking to home inspectors for someone
experienced in new homes? then working out
a schedule of in stage..
hvac & elec etc?

I know a HI who assumes the responsibility you
are looking for in my area. he inspects everything..
slump of concrete to finish carpentry. older man..
near retirement, educator for ASHI.

Talking to someone experienced in all phases
of construction would be my choice.
then working from there to decide how many
inspections of what is needed.

I'd be nervous about it unless the draftsman was
someone I had a whole lot of faith in.

I've been on jobs that it quickly became apparent that the architect didn't know much when it
came to the actual construction of their drawings.
as anyone in the building trade knows,
too many times on the site the details of how to
make something that is drawn on plans is left
to those in the field to decide how to build.

retired carpenters make good inspectors
you could talk to the local carpentry union
in your area for guidence.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:07PM
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I think what is missing from this discussion is the nature of the design drawings the builder will be using to build.

Will it be a well drawn complete set from an architect with framing plans by an engineer or will a lot of decisions be left up to the Owner and/or the Builder as the project progresses? Are all of the fixtures specified? Are all of the structural and waterproofing/flashing details included? Will there be an architect for the on-site person to communicate with?

The answer to these questions will tell us what kind of on-site person will be needed.

You will certainly need to visit the site more than one or two times regardless of how far away it is. This is huge investment and it needs to be treated as such.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:40PM
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Sophie Wheeler

You'd be better off buying something existing than trying to build long distance and only showing up on site a couple of times. Building is more expensive, and you're going to have more problems than you would if you just bought something that appealed to you that was already built.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:43PM
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