I understand what you are saying. I think that probably if we had met
somewhere else, eye to eye, face to face, this thread would probably
have never gotten this far.
I know there are plenty of bad contractors out there, but having worked
so hard at my craft and my business, it is hard for me to see the
snickers and elbow rib pokes that appear from many, including those
here from time to time that feel like you can give a construction
worker a cold beer and he will panel your living room.
I pay my guys too much and I take less. That is how I keep the good
ones. It pains me to see how little I get for the bucks I spend, but
reputation wise it works out in the end. Still irks me though.
As far as Mr. Homeowner building his own garage, I also agree that it
should be within the skill set of many. The part that will not be
recognized or appreciated is waiting for inspectors (the contactor
wannabes that couldn't be), meeting obscure city codes, and all the
time that is wasted getting all the different trades and personalities
on the same page.
I am one of the few certified HUD construction consultants in TX. I
have been working in construction for about 34 years. All but 10 for
I have worked in light commercial extensively and also in residential.
Sadly, the skills that serve me the most in my daily work is a
perceived evil temperment, being able to swear fluently in two
languages (Si, yo puedo hablar espanol) and knowing which inspector to
call when, and if I need to "find" an "extra" gift certificate in my
truck when they are on site.
I think the building is the easy part. The local governments are the
hard part as they usually know little or nothing about what you are
doing. For instance, we have several small burgs that have been
incorporated for years before the city could swallow them up. In order
to do ANYTHING in these areas you must get a permit first. This is how
they make additional money.
The problem is that the senior inspector in three of these areas is
also the fire department chief. In two more, the don't have actual
inspectors, but if the police in these small areas see you starting a
job without paying your permit fees, there is a $2500 fine!
And they don't even inspect the work! They make you get a license in
their little burg, and that is that. They call your references, and if
you are in good stead with all of them including your professional
associations, you can be licensed. However, they rely on you to follow
If the received a complaint from anyone connected with the process,
then they call an independent inspector out and he will make you go
specifially by the COBAL book or equivlant. No adjustment for region.
Imagine putting a homeowner through that... I have seen contractor just
walk away from jobs in these areas out of disgust. And if the burg has
gotten in trouble for anything lately, they will be unmerciful.
Gladly this will not be the case for our friend that started the
thread. I think we were duped! In a subsequent post he has revealed
that not only is he not a run of the mill homeowner asking how to do
something of this nature, but that his wife is
<<my wife was a general contractor
for one of the largest building contractors in the country. Her last
was a 35-story condominium, so I figure we can sub out a garage if
the direction we go in. >>
So now his wife was a GC. And he has also has architects involved for
When he started out he owned up to building a 10x10 shed as his
experience, and througout the post there was a tone of humility. But
in fact it sounds like he is squared away. His wife the GC can provide
all the subs anyone could want, and any questions of codes and
standards can be answered by their architect. Just a guess, but they
should have engineered drawings, too. And their respective white
collar components will also know how to grease the inspection wheels.
I didn't want to see another innocent homeowner get screwed by "the
triumph of enthusiasm over experience" again. It now appears my
concern was misplaced.
So I am with you. Let's shake on it and be done. I think we have done
a great job resolving this, if I do say so myself.
I enjoyed the intelligent conversation.