which tradesmen will i need?

belle_vaMarch 5, 2013

I feel very sheepish asking this question- it shows how little I know and what newbies we are to this whole process... it seems a lot of you are doing major renovations and have a GC in place already who is presumably handling things for you? For our small cottage kitchen, we are planning to keep more or less the same footprint- we are basically just replacing cabinets. Two of the three local KDs with whom we've met claim they can oversee our whole project- even managing subs like plumbers, electricians, tilers etc. However if we were to go with Crown Point, we'll need to find someone to install the cabinets as well as other tradespeople for all the other tasks. I need to work up a total budget- not just the cabinets- do I need to call in each of these people and get quotes or should I interview some GCs and let them deal with quotes for the big picture? Who installs things like ducting/ venting for the range? Geez Luis- we thought our project was easy but now I don't know. I like CP- but I need to see the bigger picture for all the possible plans. Can anyone give me a shortlist of the various types of professionals who will be part of my project and opinions on whether we need a GC? Thank you!

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I am going through a similar situation right now. You will save some money by doing it without a general contractor but you could save yourself a lot stress and headaches with a good GC. He will coordinate everyone's schedules. He will also provide you tradesmen that he has worked with in the past and trusts. I'm not an expert (yet) since I am going through the same process as you right now. But I just received my first bid from a GC. So far this is what I know, he included plumbing (plumber), electrical (electrician), venting (HVAC guy), tiling (tile setter), carpenter for wood floors and installing cabinets, and insulation guy (if you want foam insulation). Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 9:22PM
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I think whether or not to use a GC is pretty personal--you will save money if you don't, but you will also be putting in a lot of work. If you aren't in a position to be on site supervising contractors and/or aren't comfortable scheduling and assessing the work and managing things like permits, it's probably wise to hire a GC.

We did GC our gut remodel, and used the following contractors: demo crew (local reuse place that also did disposal), cabinetmaker (also installed), carpenter (moulding and shelves), plaster guy, electrician, plumber, counter fabricator, and roofer. We did the flooring, backsplash tile, painting, and HVAC work ourselves, but add those in too if you don't go that route. Ducting can be done by HVAC firms (furnaces, etc.) but some other contractors will do it too if it's simple.

If you're game for it, you might get some bids from the trades and also from GCs to see how they compare--I found it really helpful to walk through the project with individual contractors since everyone had different perspectives, saw different pitfalls, etc. You can also potentially hire a GC for major portions of the work but do some of it yourselves (or choose specific things to hire out or buy yourselves, if the GC is amenable--some are more flexible than others). Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 11:39PM
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Thanks! Yes, I agree we ought to at least get an estimate from a GC. It is helpful though to have a sense of all the various trades that will be part of this project. So much more complicated than I'd imagined!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 11:52AM
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We're doing basically the same kind of project you're doing, although our cabinetmaker will install the cabinets (with our help). My husband will do the plumbing and we'll do the crown molding and hardware installation. We did hire a contractor, but he's really doing very little. We've had horrible luck with electricians and I just didn't want to manage that, and I didn't know where to go for the ducting issue. So basically our contractor took out a small enclosure wall (that was around the former pantry) for us, is managing the hvac guy for ducting and the electrician and coordinating their schedules, and that's it. He's charging us a 5% contractor fee for that (which is about $100) that I have no problem paying.

I'm a little irritated though because already we've spent a ton of our time researching lighting. The electrician gave us two options for undercabinet LED lighting, neither of which we liked. So we had to go to a lighting store ourselves and spec it all out, figuring out what we needed and buying it all. I'm even buying all the switches because the electrician will only provide white. So all we are paying the electrician for is the actual connections and installation, which irritates me a bit. But that's how renovations go, I guess.

Anyway, doesn't hurt to talk to a GC and get a quote. We told ours upfront that it was a very small job and if he wasn't interested in it because of that we understood.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:03PM
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Thanks Wi-sailorgirl. I don't mind paying a GC really... but I feel like our project is so small that I worry it won't be worth anyone's time. No structural changes. Appliances are all staying in the same location etc. But even so, I know it could be helpful to have someone manage the trades we do need.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:13PM
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I'm acting as my own GC. Like you, I am not changing the layout much. DH and I will take out the old cabinets ourselves; we're keeping our appliances. I have a cabinetmaker who will also install cabinets and quartz counters; he recommended an electrician he likes (though we could have gone with anyone). We're doing undercabinet lighting, adding an outlet, and moving the stove a foot.

We have a friend who's a plumber; he'll hook up the sink and disposal. We have another friend who;s a contractor; if he can't do our drywall repair (from moving outlets), he'll recommend someone who can. He will probably also cut the hole in the wall for our new exhaust fan.

Flooring is another installer. I'm getting bids now.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:30PM
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We renovated an entire house over 10 months. Dh is very handy and acted as our GC. He also contributed a lot of work in order to keep down costs. We did the demo, installed insulation, some of the electric work, and some hvac work. We also purchased 95% of the materials ourselves (drywall, framing materials, tile) and most of the time we threw it in our SUV and carried into the house. This all saved us a ton of money but it was a lot of work and it is very time consuming. I think your decision hinges on how much time you have and are willing to invest. If you are willing to put in time researching everything, waiting for people to show up, getting estimates etc then you should be able to manage on your own and will probably save some money in the end. You always have garden web as a resource to answer your questions. Just as a warning someone you hire may let you down, and you will have to deal with it. There will be no GC to rely on.

Also a little OT but maybe it will save someone a huge headache. We hired a roofer, A+ rating from BBB, had done work for us before, and others we have known, with no problems. We paid him in full, but we did not ask for a waiver of lien from the place where he purchased the materials. About a month after the job was completed we received a letter from an attorney saying the materials had not been paid for and they will be placing a lien on our house. Long story short the roofer eventually paid, (several months later) but the whole thing was quite a shock.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 12:15AM
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