Building and DIY - Key points to remember

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There are some brave souls, who prefer to do their own homebuilding or home renovations, rather than hiring a licensed general contractor. These owner builders, as they are known, manage the building schedule and take all the responsibility for the project. Building and DIY can be fun, but there are some key points to remember.

  • It requires a huge personal commitment. Your time, money, knowledge and physical presence will drive the project and ensure its timely completion. If you are not closely involved, chances are nothing will get done.
  • You take over the legal responsibility for hiring a team of workmen to complete the project. Even though you will do some things yourself, you will need help along the way. The owner builder will have to choose his work team and manage their compensation and working conditions.
  • It requires at least some skill. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it will cost you time, patience and a lot of money. Take the time to learn at least some building and DIY skills before you take the plunge.
  • Plan as much as possible beforehand. The old saying – fail to plan, plan to fail – is very true in this regard. Planning every detail before you turn the first sod, will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
  • Overestimate, rather than underestimate costs. Building and DIY are full of surprises. Tiles will break, walls might have to be repainted, you might need more of something than anticipated.

Building and DIY could be hugely rewarding and might even save you some costs as hiring a general contractor adds to your renovation bill. However, be very clear and honest with yourself about what you want and about your own ability. Otherwise, your dream house could turn into your worst nightmare.

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