Anyone build their own house (Alberta) - Page 2 - The Combine Forum
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post #11 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 09:34 AM
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There is a great boook called the elecrical cose simplified. It is green and home hardware sells it for about $22. It shows you how to wire all the switches, lights, etc and is what our electrical inspectors use to help figure out what the code says. My inspector told me to get it and follow it which was great advice.

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post #12 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 09:38 AM
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When our house was built I hired everything out but was there helping every step of the build. I have a huge slab that includes a 58' wide 3 bay garage and house is built on same slab as well. Lots of cement work and plumbing and wiring that had to be put in the right place the first time lol. Did all my own plumbing and running of water lines for the ground floor and ran all of my own kitec for in floor heat. I am so glad I built it when I did. 2 more yrs and its mine with a 15 yr mortgage. Basements are expensive and usually the place where flooding occurs. I still have stairs to my second floor which is 1100 ft2 and the ground floor which is 1100ft2 as well. My cement is now 13 yrs old and no cracks. 6-8" in my garage and 4" in my living area. Wife loves just hitting the remote in -30 and you are in a warm home. Same can be said leaving for hockey. Vehicles are dry and loaded in the warmth and we are on the road instantly. Cost me $180,000 to build at the time and that was a lot of cash to me. It was just before local building rates here skyrocketed. Interest rates during this mortgage have been ideal as well thank god. OSB was at an all time high at like $15 a sheet during build so I built it all from fir plywood which was the same price at the time. I just about backed off on building due to the added cost of the wood but am so glad I never. Recently in our RM they passed a bill that everything built has to be inspected and build all with CSA approved material. I didn't have an inspector come at every point in the build back then. Now I would be required too. Insurance with no basement and an outdoor boiler with 2 wall electric backup heaters is cheap. Lots of people around here have had flooding issues with the monsoon rains we have had some yrs here. Companies don't even want to insure them anymore. I am happy with my decision to go slab and many that have built the last while have come to see its advantages. Some have followed my choice and some have not. It's all a preference.

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post #13 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 12:53 PM
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I'm planning on building myself as well this year. Currently the wife and I are getting plans for our house designed and drawn up. Paying quite a bit of money to do that, but the designer pretty much nailed what we were wanting. We went with a 2000 sqft mainfloor and walkout basement. Going to go with ICF up to the roof. My neighbour convinced me that it isn't too difficult to do yourself, but I am going to get a few quotes just to see how much I can save.

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post #14 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 01:50 PM
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We are in Alberta, my brother built a new home... Well he had it built to lock up (windows and doors) then finished everything inside him self. He did all the electrical and even gas fitting (pressure tested the gas fitting and all) and the inspectors came out to verify all was done correctly (before drywalling)signed off on it. No problem.

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post #15 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 02:28 PM
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If you have time to build a house yourself, then you are not that busy. You need to calculate what you could make off farming another 10 quarters. (tongue in cheek)

Actually I do lots of work myself too and I find that the job is usually better but I am out to lunch on the time component compared to a contractor.

Cost: You do need to factor in some mistakes that a contractor may not make. Like buying the wrong size electric entrance cable as they change code often. Btw Nedco is one of the few place that sell to individuals. Also most contractor have one high paid guy with about 3 dummies making min wage. You will be making min wage for much of the job.

An RTM looks really dumb to you at this point. By the time you are ready to move in, an RTM will be looking really good.

Its hard to calculate cost savings and cost of time. At the end of the day you must be one of those guys that just feels good about having built it yourself.
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post #16 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 03:39 PM
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My uncle was his own general contractor on his home. He had no problems; - his advise, draw up a set of plans, get written quotes and don't change even so much as a nail-hole after work commences!
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post #17 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 08:56 PM
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Skgrain you must have cheap labor in your area. The contractors around here mainly quote by the job rather than by hour. The three dummies you refer to that get minimum wage all get billed out at $100 per hour to you. I have had enough quotes and when I divided the quote by the time it took to do it minus materials it was very close to $100 per hour for every man on site. You can not write off the building of your house as a farm expense. If you can not write it off then you will need to make at least $130 per hour to pay a $100 per hour. Doing the work your self can pay you very well just like doing your own repairs etc.

The difficulty of the whole process is not the knowledge to do it, it is the time commitment to get it done. The first 1000 hours is not bad but when you start to get to 4000 plus hours you start to power out. It is a big commitment of time when you are busy trying to get your farm work done. It is very hard to build in the winter and you are so crazy buisy in the summer when the building should be done. If you want the house built fast you are better to hire it out. If you want a cheap completley customized house built of high quality over time you are better to do it yourself.
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post #18 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Regarding time, I have been working out in the winter most years, Between cows, repairing equipment, babysitting and hauling grain, I do have a lot of spare time in the winter if I don't work. And as Southern Sask pointed out, when you are effectively paying each man on site $100 per hour, I can make better wages doing it myself than going off to work and paying someone else more than I would be making. Been there done that with hired help, even when I am making 3 times what the help gets(maybe that is the problem?), by the time it is done slower, and wrong, then I've redone it, and fixed what was broken etc, I would have been better off staying home and doing it myself most times. Summers are a different story, in spite of my best intentions, I end up with no spare time. So it would have to be winter time projects. Except in winter I'm fairly useless for outdoors jobs thanks to fingers that freeze if I even think about snow.

So what would probably happen is do the utilities, site and dirt work myself in summer, hire a contractor to build the envelope in fall, help in whatever time I have, then work inside all winter where it is warm and I have time. Plan is to use ICF walls all the way up, which I have no experience in(yet) but know a local contractor who is. He tells me that they can be poured down to -30 without heating or hoarding.

I talked to insurance today, they do not require proof of inspections or codes, but when it burns down because I didn't follow code, I'll be out of luck. County doesn't enforce any inspections. I'll talk to permit inspector next and see what his position is.

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post #19 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 10:00 PM
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The ICF walls are warm, I used to help my brother wire houses, would freeze roughing in the basement. Roughed in an ICF basement and it was warm as could be. The pony walls on my shop are ICF, I wouldn't go any other way.
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post #20 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 10:23 PM
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We did our own ICF forms and it is not that difficult. They give you about a r 25 when you are done. If you get any snow or ice inside the forms before you pour it is not good. The heated cement will not melt it out whcih will result in voids. If you are doing it in winter you want to do it quickly because it is hard to keep the ice and stuff out of it. Once you get ice on the bottom on top of the footing it is very hard to melt and dry it out.

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