Anyone build their own house (Alberta) - The Combine Forum
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post #1 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Anyone build their own house (Alberta)

Looking at building a house. We already do everything ourselves on the farm, not sure why this should be any different. There are a lot of costs involved with building using a contractor that may not be necessary when doing in yourself, such as the New Home Warranty, not to mention profit margin and management fees, travel time is baked in to costs one way or another.

Can probably do this without borrowed money, there is no practical way the house could ever be sold outside of the family. We self insure most things, including our current home and rental home.

Very familiar with using code books, do all my own wiring, plumbing, gas fitting constructing, around the farm, sometimes I even follow the rules.

Given that, can it be done (done properly to code) without having certified tradespeople do every job, without inspection of every step. Without cost of construction insurance or new home warranty. Just get the permit from the county and start building, acting as prime contractor, hiring contractors if required. Is it legal to wire your own home anymore if you're not an electrician?

Not a lot of places to ask this question without stepping on toes, so I'll try here. This was very common when my parents built their home, I get the impression it is unheard of now.


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post #2 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 06:42 AM
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Not from alberta or even canada but my grandpa and great-grandpa built there own houses and basically every building on the farm.

A house is just a poeple shed. No different than a cattle or hog shed just nicer. Haha

Cant say if it is legal or not as i dont know the law but i would think it is just an insurance issue to have it inspected.

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post #3 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 07:20 AM
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I built our house five years ago it's a 1400 square foot walk out with a wood basement and finished basement, in Saskatchewan you can do your own electric with a home owner permet. Did everything ourselves including cement all the way to the top of the roof, probably saved at least a couple hundred thousand as we're sitting at about 80 grand still have a little baseboards and final coat of stucco to finish.

Not many people are building their own homes anymore the framing was pretty easy as that's what I did for 20 years, I had a pretty large box of plans from the houses I framed and I picked out my favourite bungalow and just went with it.

Can hardly believe at how easy it is to heat and cool, our old house on the farm was knight mare drafts and colder than a witches nipple.
It's easier to build new then totally redue everything as ripping apart is almost as hard as just building it.

Out this way in a small unpopulated RM you can build pretty much anything you want and nobody's going to stop you.
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post #4 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 07:36 AM
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I'm not sure if this picture is going to show.

Must be an easier way to post pictures.
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post #5 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 07:47 AM
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I built my own roof trusses in the basement as it was a pretty extremely cold winter, there was well over a hundred parts and it all worked perfectly, the neighbors figured it wouldn't work and thought I was nuts but it was a good learning experience.

Still have a hard time posting pictures but they usually show up. Taken with a phantom 4 in early spring. It's heavily cropped to remove my extensive junk pile.
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post #6 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 07:56 AM
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We "struck a balance" and contracted elements of our home construction. Hired the foundation walls, concrete finishing and framing (for cash $$$); - did almost everything else ourselves. Ran all the plumbing and electrical, but hired a plumber and electrician to make the connections. Still, easily shaved at least 70 grand off (what would have been) a 300 grand build. Would not hesitate to do it all again.
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post #7 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 09:04 AM
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We built our own. Being out in the country, I didn't need permits or inspections. I was told that it may affect the selling price down the road, if building inspections were never done. And there's no New Home Warranty. (I've heard some stories from people who bought a brand new house and had issues and apparently the New Home Warranty doesn't do much for you anyways) I wasn't concerned about selling price so I went ahead on my own. Had a years experience on a framing crew and done several reno projects so I felt confident enough. Turned out to be a long haul. It's not rocket science but there's still a lot to know. I'm sure you can do it, just don't expect to be moving in in 6 months. It's helpful if you have a friend who is a contractor or has built a house himself, so you can get tips and advice from him. I would definitely do it myself again.
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post #8 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 09:06 AM
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Have a friend that owns an electrical business, we trade machines/labour for wiring we need done, saves a pile of money. If there are areas you aren't comfortable with or are out of your league, see if you can trade labour or machine work for their help. I find more people are will to do this now as it saves both sides a good chunk of cash. I don't see why you couldn't build your own house, unless regulations have got rediculous out there, which likely they have! I built an addition on a few years ago and wish now I had done more of the work myself (just did the drywall and finishing work) but had a baby on the way so time was limited.

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post #9 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 09:21 AM
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JVW for the electrical just call the inspector and ask him. In SK you can take out a home owners permit but it is 5-6x the cost compared with a electrician doing it. We had a electrician pull the permit. We bought all the wire, did all the trenching, and buring of wire to the house. My electrician just hooked up the wires on either end and he said we can do as much of the wiring as we wanted. We ended up doing 95% ourselves. Texcan is the cheapest place to buy heavy cable or wire that is 12 guage or heavier. Our 450 and 350 cable was a $1000 cheaper delivered than picking it up at Ecol. We framed our house with double 2x4 walls that are spaced 5 inches apart. We have a completel thermal break between the outside and inside with a r value close to 50 in the walls. We put r60 cellulose in the attic. For 2500 square feet of house all that insulation cost around $7000. It cost an additional $3000 to put 2 inches or r11 inthe basement floor. Foam is crazy expensive. The confort levels of the high insulation is incredible because heat is not leaving the building at a high rate. We have been heating it with a masonary fireplace burnt often just once a day sometimes twice if it is minus 30 till we get our furnace and boiler in. It is a very cheap way to insulate it and a great investment that will pay you every year with less utilities. We are hoping to finish our house this summer which will be 6 years after we dug the hole. It is a big job and have spent over 6000 hours of our own time doing it. Besides doing the work of construction it takes a lot'of time to plan and purchase materials at a discount. The cost saving is half when doing it your self and the quality is probably double. Feel free to call me JVW if you still have my number.
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post #10 of 133 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 09:23 AM
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New home warranty is a scam. General contractor/managerís fee was 20% (if house costs $500k, add additional $100k for the one guy). I couldnít help but see that as a conflict of interest, I.e. itís not in his best interest to cut costs. Not worth it unless you work a full time job elsewhere and simply can not deal with the phone calls and scheduling yourself. I 100% agree one could build their own house if they had the skills. Definitely simple enough to manage contractors. Just plan to finish it and not be one of those house that gets the exterior OSB on and then it stays like that for years without getting the siding on!

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