Newbie to house build

Howesounder

Active Member
I have never built a new house. I have a good relationship with a top contractor who has done various reno’s etc for my family over the past 20 years. I know lots of you are in the real estate world. He offered to do it for us at 10% , which seems fair to me in Vancouver for a high end builder but my wife wants to look around. Thoughts?
 

Corey_lax

Crew Member
@Admin might want to move this to the general discussion thread. But I’m sure there’s lots of guys on here that can help you with if that’s a good deal or not.
 

Rain City

Crew Member
I have never built a new house. I have a good relationship with a top contractor who has done various reno’s etc for my family over the past 20 years. I know lots of you are in the real estate world. He offered to do it for us at 10% , which seems fair to me in Vancouver for a high end builder but my wife wants to look around. Thoughts?
Get mulitple proposals, not quotes. Understand what you get for your 10%. Does he have his own crew? What does he self perform? What are the hourly rates? Who will be responsible for the day to day supervision? Is that billable time? What's THAT person's experience building new homes? How many projects does he take on at once? What are the lot/design specific issues? Has he dealt with those issues in the past? Is he currently licensed as a new home builder? If not, who is taking on that role? Does he have a relationship with the architect you've hired? 10% is not a "deal" if the guy has no experience. Some companies charge upwards of 20% (I think that's crazy) but usually those companies will have a huge team working on your project. Multiple quotes with thorough comparisons and vetting presented to you. That's not always a better way, but maybe you like that sort of thing. I charge 10%, have 24 years experience as a ticketed carpenter, I do two projects at a time and supervise them with my partner who has the same level of experience as I do. When I can't be there, he is. There are guys that will build your home for way less than 10%. They will rarley show up on site. How much they're charging shouldn't matter as much as what value you're getting for that money. Good luck
 

wildmanyeah

Crew Member
I got some quotes to do my bathroom, the quotes ranged from 20-25k, and the quotes did not include fixtures like vanity, tolet, shower head and mixer.

Their quote had quotes from trades(electrical,plumbing,tiling ect..) and then their crew would do demo, install the fixtures and finish carpentry.

I assume a house would have to have 100 times more detail then this in a quote.

Also the quote did not include the glass for the shower but Atlest it said in the quote that it did not include that.
 

ab1752

Crew Member
Here's a personal favorite of mine...expensive af Italian tile? Check. Expensive af membrane? Check. $1.00 of plumbers putty to seal the water supply line? Bah, who needs that...our structural work was great but man, the devil is in the details. 5 years and I'm still finding surprises like this one. This is exactly what I found when I unwound the water diverter. Also expensive af.

Screenshot_20221102-232706_Gallery.jpg
 

Howesounder

Active Member
Here's a personal favorite of mine...expensive af Italian tile? Check. Expensive af membrane? Check. $1.00 of plumbers putty to seal the water supply line? Bah, who needs that...our structural work was great but man, the devil is in the details. 5 years and I'm still finding surprises like this one. This is exactly what I found when I unwound the water diverter. Also expensive af.

View attachment 86668
Get mulitple proposals, not quotes. Understand what you get for your 10%. Does he have his own crew? What does he self perform? What are the hourly rates? Who will be responsible for the day to day supervision? Is that billable time? What's THAT person's experience building new homes? How many projects does he take on at once? What are the lot/design specific issues? Has he dealt with those issues in the past? Is he currently licensed as a new home builder? If not, who is taking on that role? Does he have a relationship with the architect you've hired? 10% is not a "deal" if the guy has no experience. Some companies charge upwards of 20% (I think that's crazy) but usually those companies will have a huge team working on your project. Multiple quotes with thorough comparisons and vetting presented to you. That's not always a better way, but maybe you like that sort of thing. I charge 10%, have 24 years experience as a ticketed carpenter, I do two projects at a time and supervise them with my partner who has the same level of experience as I do. When I can't be there, he is. There are guys that will build your home for way less than 10%. They will rarley show up on site. How much they're charging shouldn't matter as much as what value you're getting for that money. Good luck
Here's a personal favorite of mine...expensive af Italian tile? Check. Expensive af membrane? Check. $1.00 of plumbers putty to seal the water supply line? Bah, who needs that...our structural work was great but man, the devil is in the details. 5 years and I'm still finding surprises like this one. This is exactly what I found when I unwound the water diverter. Also expensive af.
Here's a personal favorite of mine...expensive af Italian tile? Check. Expensive af membrane? Check. $1.00 of plumbers putty to seal the water supply line? Bah, who needs that...our structural work was great but man, the devil is in the details. 5 years and I'm still finding surprises like this one. This is exactly what I found when I unwound the water diverter. Also expensive af.

View attachment 86668
 

Howesounder

Active Member
Thanks guys. As I said this is new to me. I did a bit of googling and from what I can find 10% is a totally ‘fair’ price. The company only builds custom, has been in the business for 50 years. They have 80 on staff, mostly carpenters. I think they do their own mill work. Their model is to service customers over long term with hope of getting full builds. On past jobs they provided every receipt and a break down of their labour at the various rates.

We are definitely going to talk with at least 3 others but I put a lot of value on the existing relationship after 20 years and 2 homes serviced.
 

sly_karma

Crew Member
I do two projects at a time and supervise them with my partner who has the same level of experience as I do. When I can't be there, he is. There are guys that will build your home for way less than 10%. They will rarley show up on site.
That there is the core of it, direct on-site supervision. There's a zillion little questions that come up on a custom build, in every trade. Most of them can be handled on site by someone experienced being there to coordinate trades and clients. The project moves forward.

By contrast there are what I refer to as "cell phone contractors", guys who employ subs and handle everything via phone, text and email. Plumber calls and says they're finished, the cell phone contractor calls electrician and says the site is ready for rough in. No one reviews, no one cleans up.

Building officials *may* spot problems during inspections, but remember the code is a set of minimum standards, not best practices, and officials are in such short supply that you may well get someone inexperienced or with too much workload to be thorough.

A good resource to find builders is the local branch of CHBA, they all have online directories of members. As a national organization they have extensive education programs for members. A group of builders who opt to be part of something larger than themself and pursue ongoing further training is a good place to seek a partner to help realise your dream.
 

Rain City

Crew Member
Thanks guys. As I said this is new to me. I did a bit of googling and from what I can find 10% is a totally ‘fair’ price. The company only builds custom, has been in the business for 50 years. They have 80 on staff, mostly carpenters. I think they do their own mill work. Their model is to service customers over long term with hope of getting full builds. On past jobs they provided every receipt and a break down of their labour at the various rates.

We are definitely going to talk with at least 3 others but I put a lot of value on the existing relationship after 20 years and 2 homes serviced.
That sounds great, a long term relationship and trust are huge. I'll say one last thing, 50 years in business doesn't mean the guy who's responsible for your project has 50 years experience. Insist on knowing who your project supervisor will be. Ask for one of the core guys that's been with the company a long time. Anyone with 80 staff has probably done a lot of hiring lately. Sometimes people get put into positions they shouldn't be in. If they specialize in high end and your project isn't one of their higher profile ones, you may get the less than desirable supervisor. And again, if that 10% is nothing but a "we'll take the job on" fee, and all PM work is billable hourly. Then you're paying a hell of a lot more than 10%.
 
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Brett83

Well-Known Member
Personally I'm a small contractor. I have three guys. All ticketed. Because of our lack of man power things go pretty slow. But our workmanship is the best I've seen. Bigger companies are usually faster but often have lots of low skill guys or guys that don't care because they're far from the top. I charge a set charge for management. That way the customer doesn't pay for an extra percentage as the project soars over budget. And I like it because it's way less paperwork and the clients like sourcing out some of there own items and feeling involved.
 

Aquaholic

Crew Member
You seem to have a good head start with a person you’ve already talked to, but of course get some other numbers from other people. Real professionals are already giving you great advice above.

I understand that this is a house for you to live in? If you are building it to sell, and you want to sell it before one year of ownership and living in after final occupancy, the BC Housing (home warranty requirement) folks will make you get a license even though your builder will be fully licensed. Consumers that buy a property and hire a builder with the intent to sell it right away need their own version of a license to comply with the 2-5-10 / BC Housing regulations. If there are two or more people on the title, only one of them needs to have this particular license. Strange but true.

As mentioned, beware of the cellular contractor. I sold some properties for one guy that keeps building the almost identical house all over East Vancouver, he never goes on site because he uses the same trades people and they build the house so many times that they know what to do when they show up. No cleanup, no site supervision unless it’s an emergency.

Somewhat related regarding the costs to build :

 
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DuroBoat

Well-Known Member
Interesting comments… I’m a licensed residential builder but haven’t gone after any work because the industry seems to be taking a dive and no one wants to work. I was contemplating building garden suits but 10% of $200 - $250k seems like a lot of work for $20k to $25k! I agree - someone needs to be at the site constantly and checking every aspect of the work before the trades they leave the site. Trades are as bad as I’ve ever seen these days (not all of them).
 

wildmanyeah

Crew Member
Will it come with a warranty? When I bought a new house from polygon mine did, 15 years on the envelop, x years on plumbing ect..they came back a year later tfixed all the nails that piopped out of the dry wall, fixed a pipe that had a tiny leak, replaced land scraping that died ect ect ect…

Before we moved in, before occupation permit, my real state agent Went though the house and marked like every little thing, over spray from painting, scratches ect, they fixed it all.

The house was also professional cleaned before we moved in but I still was filling my vacumme with dry wall dust everytime I vacuumed for the next 2 years.
 
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Rain City

Crew Member
Will it come with a warranty? When I bought a new house from polygon mine did, 15 years on the envelop, x years on plumbing ect..they came back a year later tfixed all the nails that piopped out of the dry wall, fixed a pipe that had a tiny leak, replaced land scraping that died ect ect ect…
All new homes have to come with a warranty. It's not much of a warranty though.
 

Aquaholic

Crew Member
All new homes have to come with a warranty. It's not much of a warranty though.
agreed on the warranty not being much, it reads more like an insurance policy.

You can build as an owner builder and not have to get the warranty though. But you are personally responsible for 10 years.


“An owner builder is an individual authorized by BC Housing to build a new home for personal use.

Owner builders are exempt from having to become licensed and arrange for third-party home warranty insurance on their home. As an owner builder, you must build or directly manage the construction of your new home yourself. You will also be personally liable for any construction defects in the new home for 10 years”.
 

wildmanyeah

Crew Member
I couldn’t imagine having to deal with that not bad when you have 2. 3 , 4 units to deal with but when you have 50, 100 ect need
A team just to deal with all the costumers
 

tightlines

Well-Known Member
I'm in the trades business and I wouldn't trust anyone to build my house these days! The quality of trades participating in residential new construction is abysmal because the margins are disgustingly low. If you are too dumb to realize there is no money in it, you're probably not good at your job either. All the good and smart trades move on from residential new construction very quickly and you end up with the trash. If I were you I wouldn't be looking for value on a home build, I would pay the highest rate for the best possible guy. My 2 cents.
 

ab1752

Crew Member
Also, brace yourself for supply chain epic disappointment, if I was considering a new build now, I'd do all the planning and anticipate the build in a few years to keep yourself married at the end of it all.
 
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