Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 3/4/2012

We'd like to remodel our home, moving plumbing and walls, etc., and be our own general contractor. What are the steps to do this?

We have the skills and tools to complete much of the work ourselves, including electrical, framing, and finishes. There are other things we will need to subcontract, such as roughed-in plumbing and sheetrocking. Do we need a plan in order to get permits from the city? We want to save money by not hiring a general contractor. Project is not urgent, we can take as much time as we need to complete. We have been bid this job by design/build firms and they are asking way too much for our budget and too much relative to the value of the home.

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

You should always get a set of print and pull a permit when remodeling you home. It is a good thing that you want to be involved in your project. I do have some reservation about the electrical work. There is a lot at risk with doing the work yourself. If the house burns down you will never get the insurance money, unless your a certified electrician. Now of days 90% of home fires are blamed on electrical problems because the insurance company is to lazy and cheap to investigate the true problem. Also find out if the city you live in will allow you to perform the work. Make sure you coordinate your subs to have the proper time and space to perform their job. You don't want people working on top of each other. If you order all you materials make sure everything is there before you start your project. Have your subs check for proper and full items to be installed. Make sure every sub has a working set of prints. Make sure you have all the demo done before your subs show up to work. Schedule your plumber first, do any final framing or electrical work while you wait for inspection. Electrical inspection next followed by framing, insulation, and wallboard. All subs must get a final inspection on the job before you (the GC) can call in your final inspection.


Answered 8 years ago by KP


Hi Tracy!

Having a sledge and a saw and being able to complete the work doesn't necessarily equate to having the experience necessary to manage the project, sequence of the trades, negotiate the permit process etc.

My concern for you is that the money you plan to save may be elusive. An unforseen error, the inability to pass inspection, sub-optimal planning, paying too much for fixtures and finish materials from retail sources or unforseen life events can all result in an unfinished project or worse an outcome that doesnt appeal to buyers which can potentially cost you a lot more in equity when you try to sell.

A service you may consider... there are a lot of construction coaches out there these days. You can hire an experienced contractor for a day and they can walk you through the permit process, what plans you need and give advice on trades that need to be project managed. Its an opportunity to begin to learn what you dont know and maybe reevaluate the value a professional might bring to your project. Maybe they'll give you the confirmation that you are on the right track and don't need a GC.

Also - just in case you havent already, get more quotes. Make sure the GC breaks out labor from finish materials and that multiple contractors quote apples to apples scope of work. Help them to put together an aggressive and sustainable estimate and you may find that you just havent found the right GC yet thats a fit for your personality, project and price points.

Homemade Design


Answered 8 years ago by HMDhome


If your municpality follows the IBC and NEC you won't be allowed to do any significant electrical work beyond swapping fixtures. Kenny made a good point with insurance and very true. Also, here, any company or individual who has not been "properly trained" to install insulation requires an insulation inspection. You can still do it yourself but have to pay for the inspection.

If you don't know the proper order to get your project completed you really should hire a contractor as a consultant. Permits aren't generally too difficult to get but can be time comsuming. If you are changing the layout you will have to have a floor plan at least. If moving walls the city may require an engineer to inspect your home and the work to make sure it is safe.

After the demolition alter your framing and reinforce where needed. Have the plumber do his rough in work. Then electrical rough in, insulation, drywall, tape/float/texture, paint, plumbing finish out, electrical trim out, cabinet, flooring, and trim installation, followed by touch up painting.

Good luck and really consider hiring a consultant. Many of us do this service for as little as $200. Money well spent.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

Answered 8 years ago by Todd's Home Services


what you need is a hard konk in the head with you biggest hammer. Just the fact that you ask this question increases your chances of this job turning into a nightmare tenfold. Trust me ... go out to the garage get two hammers ,,, make sure yours is bigger then hers because dont forget the "we" part of the question indicates to me that you'll not only be fighting contractors you will be fighting eachother. now face each other... remember to smile ........ and smile .....and like Babe Ruth (Im betting on the contractors) KONK. Hows that feel ...get used to it cause youll have that same headache every day as you wait for them to show up.......and youll wait.....and youll wait. as much as you let them get away with they will take. I'm a plumber. Have been for about the last 7 years. Prior to me deciding to become a plumber I was a supervisor of all different kinds of building projects for a large management company.I did that for over a decade before i realized if you cant beat em join em. Holy Crap we make a lot of money .....muah ah ah ah ahhhhhh. guess how we do it.......heres your hammer. OK seriously you got the right idea .. and yes you can do it , can you read ..then yes you may put your hammers down. Rule #1 Dont be intimidated. If your gonna be in charge of this job you damn well better act like it because we will read you like a used car salesmen sizes up theyre prey ahemmm i mean customers..Rule #2 know your sh(@t. Its hard to act confident if your not so when your plumber shows up for the first time you dont ask him what he or she for that matter is going to do . Y ou tell them .. be specific..know the codes . ask specific questions pertaining to recent changes in the code .questions you already know the answers to. If by chance they start to answer correctly cut them off act like your phone vibrated answer it .Be very short with the makebelieve people on the phone. Hang up look at the new guy and say where were we ........oh yeah ....then ask a totally different question perrtaining to something elseall the way on the other side of the house..... walk very quickly ..dont let them fall behind. time is money and with plumbers its upwards around 5 cents a second so every second he spends petting your dog ....making small talk. imagine your wife throwing nickles at him every second a nickle and a nickle and a nickle and a nickle . get the idea . Dont make me get the hammers. This concludes Being your own General Contractor Orientation If this seems to harsh to you. borderline offensive to you. Then Do yourself and everyone else a favor . Do something your good at . Do something you enjoy. But damnit Jim whatever it is do it somewhere else and stay the hell out of are way . Hire professionals take the wife on a cruise and expect it to be done when you get home...and guarantee it by huge penalties in the contract for time/cost overrun remember the nickles they add up fast. Remember son .....if you decide to be the boss . then be the boss. Like a very wealthy, wise and highly respected man once told me "If your gonna be a di@& , Then be a big one!" and If your gonna be the plumber then the best advice he gave me was "Keep your mouth open and you wont get any on your face." Nickle and a Nickle and a Nickle...................... good luck .. I have very little faith this is going to turn out well. Dont take my word for it go to and look at the amount of complaints against plumbers... its like 8 times as many as all the other qouted from Albert Einstein "If I were to do it all over again,I'd become a plumber." Oh and one last thing ask if theres any money left in the fund set aside by the registrar of contractors. Then ask yourself why am i hiring a licensed contractor and who is really being protected me or them. then go get your hammers....

Answered 8 years ago by ezflo

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy