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Thread: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

  1. #1
    borat123
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    Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Anyone else gone down the owner builder path?

    I dont mean actually building yourself such as a kit home, but project managing and subbing all the work out; in effect doing the job of the builder.

    Ive read its possible to save up to 30% on what you would have paid if going through a builder... (?)

  2. #2
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Yes its possible (in theory).

    However, it can also cost more.

    I speak from the experience of being a (former) lender (and son of a builder).

    Do you know the right tradespeople?
    Do you know in which order they need to work?
    What would you do if the electrician you booked didnt turn up and the plasterers were due to arrive soon?

    Even weather caused delays can cost you in dollars.

    Can you afford the time off work? i.e. will the money you lose not working cost more than the possible savings?
    Do you have building industry experience? If not, forget it!

    If the work is financed, most banks wont release payments until certain stages of completion.
    Do you have the money to fund the work until the bank pays you back?

    Youre better off with a contract.

  3. #3
    borat123
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Hi TG. Im using an equity loan facility so shouldnt have any problems with funds being available to pay the contractors. Actually Im intending on buying the block without finance, and hoping to use that as security for the funds to build.

    Ive got 20yrs project management and contracts experience, but as you rightly pointed out, no building industry experience.

    Im about to sign up for owner builder training, and following that, during the build will have someone who I can turn to for advice.

    Also, the nature of my work is not M-F / 9-5, and I often have full and/or part days free during the week.

    The site is about 10min drive from home.

    Havent got too far down the track yet - just putting an offer in a block, and finalising concept drawings with the architect.

    Thanks for the advice. Will let you know how I get on.... :D

  4. #4
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    I was going to but I opted for a full service architect and when I compared the final cost from the quotes obtained for the Owner Builder cost

    The architect was a touch cheaper and I had less headaches

    Edit
    Its easier to save by doing a portion of the job yourself as I did

    I saved a few K by doing the internal painting myself

    KK

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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4C415C4F5A1F1C1D2E0 link=1290206643/2#2 date=1290210657
    Hi TG. * Im using an equity loan facility so shouldnt have any problems with funds being available to pay the contractors. * Actually Im intending on buying the block without finance, and hoping to use that as security for the funds to build.
    you might want to reconsider this plan and borrow for the block and stay liquid with the cash for the build. (or 1/2 - 1/2 it)

    you then know your repayments on the land and can manage those will using the cash as a buffer / offset

    but i would discuss it with your lender 1st as they are the ones that need pleasing....

  6. #6
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Im with KK...

    Stick to doing the painting or other jobs that arent critical to the quality of the end product. Generally, the architects fees will be in the order of 12% of the total value of the project and with a good firm that is money extremely well spent.... 8-)

    Mal.

  7. #7
    Gra
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    I have been down that path of owner builder on my last place but in my case I am a carpenter by trade and did all but the bricklaying plumbing and electrical so there was a big saving. I took 3 months off work to compleat the build.. I agree with TG if your not connected with the building game in some way or have some skills in this area you could get your self in trouble..Very easy to blow the buget...

    Cheers Gra..

  8. #8
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Im still doing the owner builder thing right now.

    Everyones experiences are different, but I have certainly not gained a very good impression of the experience and have found that if you are not on site through the day OR have "no pull" with the subbies (because you are not also feeding them other jobs for them to care whether they bother turning up for you as agreed).....then you may save the builders management fee but will blow your job out from say 8 weeks to 12 months easily. The biggest problem being......they dont turn up when they say...they dont finish when they say.....and they dont give a fig. Its as though they can smell any situation where the can "have a lend...".

    The only weapon you have over this behaviour is to withhold their progress payments, and you have to be quietly tough or they will walk all over you.

    Which also means you need to sit down with individual trades at the start and work out a plan of action. Problem is, at the beginning of your project when you are a first time *owner builder you have not the slightest clue what to expect and what to negotiate....its only as you go along that you find out these experiences and what you should have done in the first place.

    The building industry (or atleast individual tradesmen I have met on my own jobs in this area) is a far cry in its level of service to its clients, from the level of service coffee and equipment merchants are expected to give (and do give at least in our case) to their clients.....

    My own opinion is its less about blowing a budget and more about not having your job turn into the never ending project, so my feeling is it is better to sign a real contract, pay the ransom, and get your project done and dusted without gaining too many extra grey hairs and a new ulcer from the experience.

    Good luck,
    A.

  9. #9
    borat123
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Thanks guys for all the info. I have to say that almost everyone Ive spoken to, both here and elsewhere, have not been positive about doing the owner builder thing....

    To try and reduce the level of risk, Im thinking now about perhaps going to lockup stage with a builder, and then owner building the rest. I guess it all comes down to how big the saving is, vs the level of risk I am willing to accept.

    Anyway, latest news this morning is that the offer on the block has been accepted.

    Attilio, are you building an entire new home, or doing an extension? And, did you do the owner/building training, or any of the other courses?

    cheers.

  10. #10
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7B766B786D282B2A190 link=1290206643/8#8 date=1290293652
    are you building an entire new home, or doing an extension? *And, did you do the owner/building training, or any of the other courses? cheers.
    New 2 bed cottage.

    No training, my beefs are not to do with "building knowldege" per se, but to do with managing the tradesmen. It is hard to do so when you have your own job to do at the same time, and this is mostly what the "bad tradesmen" take advantage of. I found the good tradesmen we dealt with look after themselves and are responsible with a minimum of supervision, and they give you advice on what they think is the best way of doing things so you can make informed decisions (and go with their advice). They will also recommend other tradesmen and suppliers they know, and so it goes on. Of course you have people that do rough work and or dont complete work properly...

    Just my own experience.

    Good luck,
    A.

  11. #11
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Quote Originally Posted by 474A574451141716250 link=1290206643/8#8 date=1290293652
    I have to say that almost everyone Ive spoken to, both here and elsewhere, have not been positive about doing the owner builder thing....
    I will go out on a limb and guess that most of those were individuals who tried the owner builder thing, like Attilio, and have learned the hard way.

    My advice was given from many years in lending seeing many, many people give it a go despite the warnings.

    As a lender I can honestly say all the owner builders went over schedule and over budget.

    As a rough guide Id say add 50% to both.

  12. #12
    brett230873
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    I have done the owner builder gig for our carport, extensions and bathroom. I did this because the only tradies I know are so good at their jobs that they are impossible to nail down thus I did much of the building and fixtures myself and then paid a tradesman to check my work and sign off on it (if certification required it). *I did this because I am confident in abilities, I like things to be done properly and with thoughtfulness and because as a teacher I am not paid anywhere near what a good tradesman earns so saved a fortune (60%)!!! Was it fun... Yes. Would I do it again... Yes. Did I have nights when I was so stressed (a baby and a certifier booked to arrive within days of each other) I didnt sleep...Oh YES. *Now having been through that and honing a better than average DIYer skill set would I do a whole house??? Hell No! *But I am not you and vice versa so all the advice on a forum is only as good as the way it is interpreted and the prior knowledge/experience of the reader. *

    So go and do some sums, do an owner builders course, work out some way that somebody will insure you and your property and most importantly, start making contact with great tradies in your local area. If you dont have family and friends in the business you will have to be extra vigilant. *Good luck and keep is posted!

  13. #13
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Hi Borat , as most have said here , if you cant find very good tradies , dont bother with it as itll only cause you grief mate.
    That being said DO as much as your capable of if you want to save some money, for instance , lve just completed 2 balconies ( 3m x 3m ) which were quoted by tradies starting at $4000 each ( unpainted )......l built them myself for around half that, and over engineered them with heavier timber , custom milled balistrauding , rubber joist protection , heavy gauge brackets and bolts etc and painted!!

    We owner built the whole place and it took forever, as we had to live in it as well ( 2 stages ) and being custom made with stone walls in part and a lot of timber throughout , so finding good tradies was a must , and yes we saved money compared to just contracting it out completely, but the time thing was really wearing ( we had limited money too )

    Cheers ken

  14. #14
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Im toying with the idea now, but I dont know if I could be bothered with all the people managing. As much as I hate to admit it, I know that I would be walked over and have very little clout with any tradesperson, and I really dont want the grief it will cause, nor do I want to be waiting twelve months to have it finished because I couldnt time the trades properly (which I know will happen).

    I think Im going to bite the bullet and have it fully contracted, and pay them my first (and possibly second) born for the privilege. Hey, its only money, right?


  15. #15
    borat123
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Thanks guys. There seems to be a common interest in roasting your own coffee and wanting to build your own house... :D

    Working out how best to fund it all has been the biggest challenge so far, before even starting..... As per Maheels suggestion, Ive financed the max of 80% of the land value (with an equity line facility), and will use the cash (60%) together with a construction loan (40%) for the build. The equity line is great as theres no fixed payment schedule, the interest is just capitalised to the loan each month, and no fixed term for the loan. You can move money in and out (up to 80% of the equity) as you see fit.

    As the bank Im using will only fund on the back of a fixed price contract with a registered builder, at this stage Im planning on building to lock-up with the builder, then owner building the fit out.

    Might even sub out the excavation first (sloping block), as apparently its one of the big ticket items...

    The architect was here a few days ago, and is now working on concept drawings, bill of materials and initial cost estimates... I should have something to look at in about a month.

    Working drawings after that and council submission.

  16. #16
    borat123
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Update:

    Settlement on the land went through today. Architect visits later this afternoon with the concept drawings...

  17. #17
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    Re: Anyone gone down the owner builder path?

    Realistically the builder does something for the money they earn/take.

    You would expect a professional builder to have a list of contacts and trades people that are better than average because the average to poor people donít get asked again.

    Also they have enough experience to keep things moving and running soothly.

    Are you going to have to do something to save a lot of money by taking on this task yourself?

    Almost certainly!

    Do you have the skills to do the job?

    You have to work this out for yourself.

    Are all builders professional?

    Like any group of people they range from the very talented and competent to muddlers.



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