How do I work with a contractor?

zagyzebraMarch 12, 2012

I am preparing for a major restoration of a historical property. I've got an excellent contractor who has equally good subs. The house will be brought to its studs.

My question is, how much time should I allocate daily or weekly to working on this large restoration project? And what are the types of things I should expect to be doing?

I am attempting to get a sense of this both for time management, insurance purposes (that's another story), and to understand the role I can expect to play as responsible and engaged homeowner.

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I suggest you start with the book, What Your Contractor Can't Tell You by Amy Johnston (~$23 at Amazon). Ms. Johnston is a project manager who has worked with residential contractors and with commercial projects. She goes through all the facets of working on a large project with a general contractor. The book is easy to read, chocked full of expert advice (for a mere $23!). She addresses the topics you brought up plus many you may not have even thought about. I feel much more confident about approaching a new home build with what I've learned from the book.
Good luck with your project!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 6:10PM
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1. Do you make more than your contractor per hour? If so do that and pay him. If less, he may not want to put his name on your work. He may not want to "babysit" you. I'm not and he's not sure of your capabilities.
2. He may ask you to clean up. Don't be offended. Think of it this way- would you rather do it or pay HIM to? He may also want you to help do demolition. It isn't glamorous but it needs to be done. He probably won't want you painting, doing trim or installing the kitchen. Just saying.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 9:47PM
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Nanj - Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll get it!

I'm not planning on being involved in any part of the construction aside from being a responsible home owner. In other words, I'm not cleaning up, painting, doing trim or kitchen installs. There will be a dozen sub-contractors working on this project, and their bids are in, along with a 40-page construction estimate.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 2:59PM
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Best of luck Zagy. I think I remember your earlier post asking if you should restore. I look forward to seeing your project's progress.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 3:58PM
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