If I engage contractors or builder to rebuilding and enlarge
a house, what will be the percentage for labor and building
The reason why I ask the question, is how much can I save
if I do some of the manageable work myself, like installing
windows, doors, gutters, sidings, internal drywalls, piping
There is absolutely no way to answer your question. Work with a
good builder. Ask him for a turnkey price. Ask him for a price
that will just get you "in the dry". The problem here is a need
to be very specific about what is and is not included in the "dry"
pricing. It might be easier to have him perform all work other
than interior finishes. Most builders use sub contractors for the
different trades so it is fairly easy to exclude that sub's bid.
The problem comes if the next trade(s) is/are waiting for the
completion of one of the ones you are performing. Your quality
and speed, or lack thereof, can disrupt the entire process. If a
trade knows that they are not completing the project, there is a
chance for increased shortcuts.
Most municipalities only write permits for 6 months. If you do
not complete in that time frame, you get to start that process
(top posted for your convenience)
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
Thank you for replying. I will engage an architect to prepare dwg,
plans and submit it to the City for approval. We will add two-rooms
(12"X15") to an existing two bedroom ranch house in a one acre
lot. A contractor will subcontract excavation of the sites for the
concrete slab for the extension. He will subcontractor various jobs
which he or I unable to do. I will do all the manageable jobs as listed
Basically, I am trying to estimating how much money do I need for
the two-rooms extension, if I do 35% to 45% of the work. I will
also save, if buy the materials on the contractor's account.
There is no way to give an accurate answer but I will share the following.
On a recent renovation about 1/3 of the total cost was for materials
exclusive of the plumbing electrical and HVAC materials. Those were
included in the total bid but were not itemized.Those subs bid the job labor
and materials with only a total for their part. My best guess is 45-50% of
my total project was materials. The itemized materials included lumber,
doors, windows, drywall and roofing.
Of the things you listed the drywall and exterior siding are the more labor
intensive. Unless you have done it before and are quick and good at it let a
pro do the drywall. You may or may not be legally allowed in your area to do
your own plumbing. Here you can if you live in the home, provide drawings
and have it inspected.
Tough to answer. As an example, windows and drywall are very different. A
$500 window may cost $50 to install, but $500 worth of drywall may cost
$1500 to install. Change that window from $500 to a cheapo at $100 or a
fancy one at $2000 and the cost of installing it may remain the same.
What you want to do is talk to the contractor and tell him what you are
interested in doing. He can give a price on the complete structure, he can
give you a cost broken down for framing, electrical, etc. Some will be very
happy to work with you on that basis.
One hint; Get someone to do the drywall. The pro can do the job quickly
and much easier that you can handle the big sheets. Money well spent.
Our local windows and doors store explained to me in detail, a 24X36
double hung window (vinyl and aluminum depending on features) will
cost $128 to $200 each. A door in home centers cost $170 to $300. Do
I have the skill to install windows and doors? I have been watching too
much Hometime, DIY, This Old House and etc. The last few months I
was busy repairing and replacing rotting windows, doors and woods
around the house, including gutters and recapped the chimney. I know
how the windows and doors were installed. The weight of the windows
can be further reduced by removing the glass sections during installation.
The siding will be Nova Brik and I believe I will save a bundle here in
My contractor is willing to go along with my plan. An architect will prepare
drawings and plan for the permits to proceed.
I still believe it's not difficult to install drywall. If it's too heavy, I will
gladly let the contractors do it.
Thanks the advice and suggestion.
It's not the total cost I am looking for and I understand what you mean.
My best "guess-a-matic" saving of 35% to 50% on labor on the things
I could do.
All jobs involving heavy and height like excavation, slab concrete, structure
frame, roofing, ceilings will be done by contractors and that including
electrical and the sewer (one attached bathroom). I have installed and replaced
copper pipes but not sewer pipes.
I will take DanG advice "Ask him for a turnkey price. Ask him for a price that
will just get you "in the dry". The problem here is a need to be very specific
about what is and is not included in the "dry" pricing."
I will be useing "Nova Brik" for external siding, Nova Brik will help me should
I get into trouble. I really don't expect any problem, and the job is neither
heavy nor difficult. I might skip drywall to a contractor. I will get an
architect for dwgs and all City's Code compliance.
I meet my contractor today, show him the house I intend to buy. He is in
agreement to my plan. If I do proceed in a few months time, I will try to
post pics of before and after the jobs.
I do appreciate all advice and suggestions.
Make sure you and your subcontractors clearly understand who is doing what
I recently hired a contractor by the hour to work with me to remodel my
As it evolved it turned out he and I had very different ideas about who was
doing what work and basically he got upset when he saw I was doing any work
at all. I was taking money out of his pocket as he put it.
Just make sure you have a clear understanding with the people you hire as to
the extent of the work they will be doing.
There are a lot of factors that can effect this, as others have posted,
but a good rule-of-thumb is that you will spend $2 on labour for every
$1 in materials.
We build our own house, finishing about a year and a half ago, and we
did about 85% of the work ourselves.
In some areas, the materials/labour ratio was close to the rule of
thumb, in others it was hard to tell since the contract price was for
the total deliverables.
Shingling the roof was easy as we purchased the materials ourselves
(about $1600) and hired the labour separately (about $2200), so the
ratio was about 42% materials, 58% labour.
A few areas where we considered having the work done, but ended up
doing it ourselves, the chance to compare is a bit easier:
total cost from supplier: $5300
two quotes for supply & install: $11,000 and $14,000
(about 37% to 48% materials)
Ceiling texture spraying:
total cost of supplies and equipment rental: $185
estimate for job: $750
(about 25% materials/equipment)
cost of materials (excluding roof trusses): about $16,000
quote for labour (excluding roof): about $20,000
(about 45% materials)
I find the 1/3 materials figure a good rule-of-thumb for estimating as
actual figures tend to lean towards a slightly higher percentage for
materials, meaning that total costs tend to be estimated higher than the
come in at (e.g.: if materials are estimated at $1000, then labour is
estimated at $2000, for a total of $3000 -- but if the $1000 of materials
ends up representing 40% of the total, then the total is $2500)
"Never ascribe to malice what can equally be explained by incompetence."
Depends what part of country and how much of the housing bubble you are in.
Concrete and forming runs 4 to 1 materials to labor, but concrete is very
expensive this way at $125 per meter.
Last time i built a house on spec (as an investment) 2:1 seemed the rule.
It also depends how connected you are in the trades and how you are paying
those working for you. Roofers, electricians and siders are famous for
wanting cash under the table because they are collecting compo elsewhere.
Remove the obvious to reply. Experienced and reliable
Concrete Finishing and Synthetic Stucco application in the GTA.
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