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Question DetailsAsked on 3/1/2012

We would like to act as Owner/Builder to build our new home. We need a Project Manager who will work for us & manage subs/permits, etc.

We considered using U Build It to build our new home, but the cost was far too high to provide only advice and direction. If we are going to be doing all the work submitting permits/contacting subs, etc., we would rather hire a project manager for the build who would guide us through the building process, act as the intermediary with the subs/permits, and keep a watchful eye over the quality of the work done.

Who would provide that type of service? We don't like the lack of control we would get through a traditional builder who gives limited options regarding most of the choices - even when it is a custom builder.

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2 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Where are you located?

There are "project managers" and "facility managers" and "construction administration" people available to do exactly what you are looking for. Many architectural firms provide this service or can recommend someone to do your service.

Visit, and at the very bottom there is a text link "Find an Architect". Put in your zip code, then on the far right select any of the above titles to find a firm near you that provides this service. Our firm does this service often, and it brings peace-of-mind to the owner and the builder to work with a professional who is protecting both parties.

You do not say if you have the plans yet; be aware the new Building codes go in affect (I believe this month), so your plans will also need to be reviewed for compliance. A good set of plans is the best tool in working with a builder to ensure there are no miscommunications, no delays with permits and no unexpected or expensive changes during the project.

Best of luck!


Answered 8 years ago by Kenny Johnson


Basically the purpose of the builder is to manage the project. It sounds like you want to hold the title for yourself while paying someone else to do the work. That's fine but remember the more "Chiefs" there are the more confusion and communication errors occur. Subcontractors get confused on who to really answer to. You stop in on the job to tell them to do one thing and the project manager stops in to tell them to do another. Mass confusion created. I've experienced this first hand with people who want to co-manage projects. You need to decide to be the builder or hire a Project Manager/Builder. Also, note that most experienced sub-contractors that get wind of the co-management while bidding the project will mark up their cost for the known hassles and miscommunications they will endure. Just a word to the wise!

If you are feeling a lack of options with a custom builder you are interviewing the wrong builder. You should have every option as long as you are willing to pay for it with a customer builder. An architect can HELP you manage the build but most are by no means builders. Left on their own to build a house they don't know the ins and outs. I've seen this too. If they did there would not be builders and architects separately. Both are important and have their roles.

My suggestion is have the architect do the design and specifications and find the right builder that will build it as designed to be what you want. Otherwise, you may end up with the worst experience of your life. Many divorces occur as a result of building or remodeling homes. Weigh your options carefully. Once the design and specifications are set by you and the architect there should be little to nothing else to change. The right builder should be able to take it from there.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
San Antonio, TX

Answered 8 years ago by Todd's Home Services


I think Todd andKenny have both given very good advice. The main point is that it is veryimportant that you find the right builder or manager to work with, that is knowledgeableand understands your objectives. If you have not found a builder thatwill build what you want or in a manner that is agreeable to you, then you needto keep interviewing. Some builders appreciate a client that has their owntastes and wants to step out of the box and not do the same thing that everyoneelse in the market is doing. I have acted in the role as what I call aconsultant builder/designer for sizable custom home building jobs and have hadwonderful results and happy clients; but I agree, there are many fewerqualified builders that would be willing to work in this capacity.

Ultimately, there is not much advantage to hiringa qualified manager versus a qualified builder that is going to work with youfor your common goal of a finished custom home. In some cases you may end upspending more money with a manager than with a builder, due to the need forhiring out some stages that a builder might typically handle in-house at a discountedcost. There are risks that you as a homeowner/builder may be taking on that youmay not be aware of or be able to quantify at the onset of the job. That can bea little scary and potentially costly. You may also pay greater financial costfor things such as Liability insurance compared to a licensed contractor’srate. If you are planning on taking out a loan to build your home, you shouldcheck with your bank or mortgage lender first, because many will no longerprovide a loan for a homeowner as contractor that does not have a GeneralContractor or Builder's license. If you are paying cash and you just wantthings done the way you want them done, for the sake of the process and thefinal product, then by all means, this may be a viable route for you to go tohave complete control of all aspects of the job.

As Kenny mentioned, the new 2012 residentialBuilding code has taken effect as of March 1. (at least here in NorthCarolina), But the department of Insurance has not even printed the code booksyet, so there is quite a bit of confusion among builders and code officials atthe moment. You can imagine how difficult a situation that might be for a homeownerand manager that may not have as many resources available to them such as thelocal chapter of the National Association of Home Builders.

Whatever you do, please do not go the route ofbuying a book on building houses and think that you will be qualified to employany manager to get your home built. I have been called in too many times tohelp people fix mistakes that were made by unqualified builders. You will stillneed to ensure that a manager is experienced and qualified to build your home. Checkqualifications and references, and look at past work. It is work to select agood builder or manager, but when you find him/her you will feel comfortableand confident to go through the project and be able to enjoy the process ofbuilding a home. Good luck on your interviewing!


Answered 8 years ago by Steve@WestmountBuild

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