So you’re thinking of a home renovation. Whether it’s a bathroom, kitchen, basement suite or a full home facelift, you need some serious organizational skills and industry know-how to get your reno from ideation to completion with maximum efficiency and minimum delays and unnecessary costs.
You’ll need the help of subcontractors who specialize in specific trades like large equipment operation, concrete formulation, plumbing, carpentry and electric. They enter a project to do a particular task and leave when it is finished.
General contractors, on the other hand, oversee and coordinate the entire scope of work from ideation to project completion. They work with you throughout the entire process, creating the schedule to make sure the project is completed on time and on budget and they hire the trades required to complete the job. It is an added benefit if the general contractor has a team of carpenters on site at all times. Often, homeowners pay the general contractor directly who then coordinate the purchase of materials and hiring out subcontractors.
But do you really need a general contractor to oversee and coordinate all this work? And couldn’t you technically hire out the trades yourself? The answer is - yes, you technically could, and here are some positives from going this route:
You’d save the money you’d have spent on a general contractor, as general contractors have a charge for the services they do and oversee.
You’d learn the business of construction and learn how a general contractor operates.
You’ll likely get hands-on experience with many of the components of the renovation, picking up some knowledge about different trades like HVAC, carpentry, electric and plumbing.
Lastly, you’d have a closer eye on everything that happens on site every day.
Now let’s explore the reasons why you should hire a general contractor.
Most General Contractors Have a Team
Often times general contracting companies have a permanent team who will be there at all stages of your renovation. For Tandem this means we have project managers and a talented team of Red Seal carpenters and apprentices who always have a presence at your project. Plus, we have accumulated a trusted roster of highly skilled sub trades to complete the job.
Having a team of project managers and carpenters who are there from start to finish mean they are caught up with everything that is going on, helping everything run as efficiently and as timely as possible. They know the quality of work that’s expected and it’s easier to be consistent with how the company runs. Hiring a general contractor with a team of carpenters results in a more streamlined workflow.
The General Contractor creates a project schedule, procures the materials necessary and notifies the trades and suppliers. When changes inevitably occur, good general contractors will document everything and re-plan accordingly. The General Contractor is also aware of all building inspections required and acquire the necessary building permits for the job and will be on-site to meet the building inspector.
A legitimate General Contractor will have all appropriate liability insurance and workers compensation insurance to reduce exposure to risk should something unfortunate happen. Homeowners’ insurance may not offer sufficient protection during a construction project.
Knowledge of Building Codes
Will you be able to look at a subcontractors work and know if it will pass inspection? A good general contractor knows the codes and will catch subpar work. That will save you from paying a re-inspection fee and the time cost from resulting delays. General Contractors know the specific ins and outs of local variations in codes and construction requirements.
So although you’re spending more to hire a general contractor, in the long run doing so may save you many headaches and many thousands of dollars fixing mistakes or dealing with lost time and unnecessary delays.
Building Process Knowledge
One of the reasons costs can spiral out of control for those who choose not to hire a general contractor is simply not knowing what needs to be done and when. Certain jobs require other jobs to be completed earlier. This knowledge simply comes from having professional industry experience. Plus, a good general contractor supervises all the trades and are always ensuring the quality of work.
Having a general contractor makes the homeowner’s life so much easier, as they act as a single point for accountability. They are your contact person who will take your concerns and act on them accordingly, sorting it out with the parties involved. That means if something goes wrong, they are responsible for dealing with the issues.
The larger the project, the greater the possibility that things will go wrong and a good general contractor will know how to deal with the issues that arise. The general contractor provides additional value through their knowledge and industry expertise that will take your more complex renovations from ideation to completion with the minimum delays and added costs.
So it’s a good idea to weigh up the size of the job you are undertaking in your decision to hire a general contractor. If all you’re doing is changing the carpet in your home, you might not need a general contractor. However, if you’re taking down walls, opening up your kitchen and undertaking a large renovation, a general contractor will save you time and money lost in unnecessary delays and mistakes.
Also read our blog post: How to Choose the Best General Contractor for your Renovation.
Tandem Construction is a general contracting, project management and carpentry company delivering luxury home renovations in Vancouver and the North Shore. From kitchen, bathroom or living room renovations, creating an income producing suite or a total home renovation, our team of project managers, carpenters and a network of trades professionals are focused on taking your dream home from vision to fruition. It all starts with a free consultation so we can determine your goals. Contact us today!