How many projects can a GC handle at once...

saftgeekJune 10, 2013

I'm wondering how many houses are considered to be too many for a GC to work at one time. There was absolutely nothing going on in this area for the last 3 years... now it's turned loose and our GC has 3 houses in the works, including ours. I'm wondering if anyone else had this issue to contend with.

I believe these builds are all in the 2000 sq. ft range and mid level finishes. They are geographically located away from each other. I've been told the squeaky wheel gets the attention but I'm not really looking forward to a build where I've got to stay on my GC to get anywhere.

I understand this is all dependent on the experience level, weather, subs, etc... I know all that. I'm looking for any real world stories someone can share where their contractor could handle it all and where they couldn't handle anything...

Thanks in advance...

Saftgeek-

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lazy_gardens

My BIL could have several rehabs going

This assumes a very organized GC, but ...

If they have staggered start dates, so the GC can move his preferred subs from one to the next

AND IF

the subs are skilled, it can go smoothly.

AND IF
none of the clients turns into an attention-demanding, high-maintenance PITA

Your part of the job is to have all your decisions, and your backup decisions, ready to go before you break ground.

If you stall the plumbing because you are still thinking over the bathtub choices, or the one you ordered suddenly becomes unavailable and you can't make up your mind on the substitute , the plumber will move on ot the next job and your job slipped at lease one spot in the queue ... which backs up everything else.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:43AM
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pbx2_gw

Hmmm...interesting discussion as we were wondering 'what-if' - we had been part of a multi-build schedule.

Our house was finished up in March & was the last project before our builder/developer started on his trifecta. Like OP, things picked up again for him after a dormant couple of years & now he's got 3 simultaneously going on. All higher end (for this area) 3K+ Sq footers. He's a small custom shop with no overhead to speak of & subs out all the work - so that can be a double edged sword...

Intuitively, he might be competing for subs with other builders in this area & his first choices (the craftsmen that build our with such care & were more partners than subs) are no longer available due to other commitments AND he will have to juggle on the paper work & logistics that goes along with these jobs.

Inside, we're thanking our stars for being his last isolated build & will be watching with interest at the developments.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 11:09AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

At one point in time, we were restoring two federal houses and reno-ing a basement in a newer house, with only 8 employees and a gaggle of mechanical subs. It was a constant panic.
Casey

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 2:57PM
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saftgeek

Oh boy... Lazy, I am the PITA type. I have spent years planning this thing and I'm not sure I'm going to be willing to compromise on the fly. I'm hoping the staggering of builds will lend well for us and his subs will be able to stay busy going back and forth. I do like your suggestion to have back-up choices. I spent a lot of time providing a spec list with many of our choices laid out. He said it was helpful when he was bidding our house. We'll see how it goes.

Thanks everyone for taking time to post. I always love a good story.

Saftgeek-

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 6:22PM
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worthy

I've had as many as five major renos going at one time. But they were all mine and I'm easy to deal with. (Or so he says!) And really easy to find.

It's when you get other people involved that things slow down. Let alone completely stop when, for instance, they don't get the advances they think they were promised by their lender!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 6:54PM
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millworkman

Funny how that affects the schedule and completion of work isn't worthy!!!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 7:45PM
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lazy_gardens

he might be competing for subs with other builders in this area & his first choices (the craftsmen that build our with such care & were more partners than subs) are no longer available due to other commitments

But also, they tend to be loyal to GCs who kept them working during the dry spells.

My HVAC contractor cycled through a small group of good journeymen installers during the housing slump, doing his best to keep them all working part time to pay their bills. As a result, now that things are picking up he can bid on several concurrent jobs and knows he can get those subs full-time for the jobs. The contractors that pulled all their work in-house and didn't use any subs are having to supervise more and get the second-tier ones.

saftgeek: I have spent years planning this thing and I'm not sure I'm going to be willing to compromise on the fly.
It will undoubtedly happen that something has to be decided quickly to keep the schedule from slipping: that's why project managers have grey hair and nervous tics.

Anything that can derail your schedule if it (or a substitute) becomes unavailable should have a backup with similar functional and performance specs. If you have a good handle on the functional specifications for your primary choices, and kept track of your backup choices and alternates for your major components, you should have no problems.

It's the people who have their heart set on a certain make, model, and serial number of product, with the entire design and build depending on its availability, who go into a tailspin when the product is discontinued, the factory burns, or the fabricator drops the only slab of whatever and shatters it ... and they have to start all over with research and decision-making. They are the ones whose build stretches to forever as the change orders add up.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:43AM
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