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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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New home warranty is a scam. General contractor/manager’s fee was 20% (if house costs $500k, add additional $100k for the one guy). I couldn’t help but see that as a conflict of interest, I.e. it’s 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #18
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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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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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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