How to be your own
General Contractor on a Home Construction Project
By: Mark J. Donovan
I live in New
Jersey and would like to be my own general contractor, and do some of the
renovations myself on my home improvement project. In particular, I want to
do some of the construction myself on a new home addition and want to hire
subcontractors for some of the tasks that I can not do, or am not allowed to
do in the state of New Jersey. Can you explain to me how I go about being my
own general contractor and building the addition myself?
A General Contractor basically coordinates the build; pulling permits, hiring
the subcontractors for Foundation, Framing, Roofing, Electrical, Plumbing etc.
He frequently also obtains the financing through a construction mortgage and
disperses payments to the subs as they complete their phases of the project. At
the end of the project the General Contractor sells you the home, or transfers
ownership to you, and the construction mortgage is converted over to
a conventional homeowner mortgage.
You can be your own
general contractor, however, banks are hesitant in giving out construction
mortgages to "part-time" general contractors, so unless you have the finances to
fund the project yourself you may run into some problems getting the
construction mortgage. A good documented plan (architectural drawings, costs
fully fleshed out, a timetable/schedule for the building of the home or
addition, and subcontractors identified) can be helpful however in getting over
|In regards to actually doing the
work, you should check with your local municipality building inspector. Plumbing
and Electrical can sometimes be a problem as frequently building inspectors
require licensed contractors to do this work. From my experience, doing your own
framing, insulation, roofing, flooring, interior trim work can all be done by
When you submit your plans to the
building inspector they should clearly spell out / show what you are planning to
build. They should include drawings of cross-sectional views of the construction
and what type of material will be used.
Assuming you get the permit approved you
should be able to construct the home or home addition yourself, or via
subcontractors that you hire. You will need to have inspections upon the
completion of major tasks:
(including outside doors/windows/roofing)
You will also need approved septic
design plans and inspections for a septic system if your home will not be
on municipal sewage. Note: a septic design can take 2-3 months to complete, so
To learn more about how to be your own
general contractor or how to hire the right contractors for your new home
construction project see
Home Addition Bid Sheets from HomeAdditionPlus.com.
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