Acting as Your Own Contractor


We are planning an addition to our home, and I am at the point of deciding whether or not to take on the project myself rather then hire a contractor, after receiving bids from various contractors which were frighteningly higher then I expected.

So I stumbled upon your site which gave me some hope at first, but now I am again concerned. When I viewed your step-by-step building I could not find at what point the roof trusses were installed!

There is mention of the roofing and covering, but no mention of installing the trusses. Then I said to myself "He will probably say: "You should know that and if you don't then you should not be considering doing this yourself".

Am I getting in over my head or did I miss something in the step-by-step instructions?

Oh, I don't think I am a complete idiot, and I have built buildings before (as owner not self-contractor) and of course many many projects around the house so I know which end of a hammer is which, but not sure the order of doing things in this project.

Thanks, John

Time for roof framing and/or trusses 
Hi John,

 The roof trusses are installed right after the walls are framed and braced plumb and square.

Your carpentry contractor should keep you abreast of building materials needed to complete the job on time. Remember, delays cost him money. That’s why I always recommend contracting by the job, not by the hour.

You don’t need to know various home building skills, but you do need to know how to hire the contractors and subcontractors who do.

Your role as the general contractor is to be an organizer and a manager, not a tradesman. Your responsibility is to get the job done — by other people.

If you can estimate your costs, control those costs, and deal with people in a fair manner, you can build your own home or home addition!

Suggested reading:
How to be a General Contractor
Building a House Step by Step
Carpentry Contractor - House Framing
Cost Estimating
Cost Estimating Software

Good luck,

Carl Heldmann,