Hi all , i have the land with planning , all paper done , e.g. build regs , services all done .
The builder has given me and price for the total build . Now i have other well none traders men coming to me and saying , that they can do the jobs cheaper . Now hears is the problem do i stick with the first builder or get him to do the foundations and all the brick work . Then get other trades men to do the other job , Eg
Roofer , plasterer , plumber .

Thanks Adrian .

  • Adam

    Hi Adrian,

    This is a tricky question to answer as there are many facets to it. It sounds like you have agreed a price with the builder but are having your head turned by the prospect of saving money using individual contractors.

    There could indeed be savings to be had if you draft in your own contractors to finish once the builder has built the shell. Be aware though that the builder may well charge more for the foundations and walls if you go this route than if he was overseeing the whole build which may negate some of the savings.

    You also need to consider how these savings may impact the project. By not having a contractor who assumes responsibility for the build process you will, ultimately, end up paying more in costs that go beyond simple remuneration. Mainly in your own time.
    If you were to not use a main contractor you need to consider whether you have the time and energy available to give to the project yourself. This is no mean feat, even if you have previous experience. In order for the build to progress smoothly and to budget you will need to be onsite regularly. On the phone regularly and planning ahead with military precision. Without this it is possible for a project to veer off the rails and the savings you fancied making will evaporate into the ether as tradesman you have booked and are paying for sit on their hands.

    I am not trying to put you off managing this project yourself. I have undertaken the role a few times and have enjoyed it tremendously. Despite my experience it has also cost me dearly on occasion. The one detail I underestimate each time is quite how much it is going to take out of me. It is fulfilling but knackering and there is no letup. I also have the luxury of being self employed and am able to manage my diary to accommodate. I have a very understanding partner and no children. If you have a family, are employed and have limited experience you may want to consider that although the main contractor route will cost you more, it may well be of greater vale for you.

    Beyond the organisation you will need to get on top of there is always the issue of man management. The various tradesmen you would need to hire could, at any given time, let you down/have a falling out/hit you with extras/illnesses/accidents. If this happens to you it will have a knock on effect with all the other trades and it can spiral out of control very quickly. These are things that a main contractor will have to deal with on a day to day basis. They become his responsibility. You are paying for him to assume the risks associated with executing your project as well as for his time and skill. His or her experience and contacts should mitigate a lot of these issues but if it one thing I have learned it s that there are unknowns. When these have reared their heads in the past I have dealt with them with varying degrees of success. Some of those occasions I had dearly wished I could have palmed it off onto someone else.

    Ultimately you need to decide for yourself whether you want to oversee the project. As I said it is an immensely hard but rewarding undertaking. If you have a list of good local tradesman that are known to you then it can be a joyful time. When everyone pulls together for you to get the job done there are few feelings like it. If it goes the other way you could quickly regret not having a main contractor to whom you leave the difficult conversations.

    Do some serious research and get plenty of quotes to build a picture of what you may save by taking the project on yourself. Then be realistic in your appraisal of whether you have the time to commit.

    There are a lot of self build websites that can help you make these decisions.

    I wish you the best of luck.

  • Adrian Cooper

    Thank you for that information , Adam .I have read it many times and taken aboard what you have said .

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