General Contracting your own building project is a great way to be involved, maintain creative control, and save money... but it can also be fraught with unexpected challenges! This workshop will take you through the GC process, letting you know what to expect every step of the way. Participants will learn about scheduling, permits, estimating, design plans, loans, the steps of the building process, how to hire and work with subs, and much more.

Course start time: Saturday, 9am
Course end time: Sunday, 5pm

  • Competency Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Sterling College credits: 1 Continuing Education Unit ($130 additional)
  • AIA credits: 14 HSW Learning Units

Class Schedule -- © Kenneth Friedman, 2012

This class runs 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, with a one hour break for lunch.



I. Introduction

A. Who Am I

B. Who are you?

C. Organization of Class-Schedule

II. Why GC Your Own Home?

A. Money

B. Save Time

C. Creative Control

D. Fun

E. Alternative ways to have significant input.

III. How much time will it take?

A. Can you do it?

B. How long will it take?

IV. Start with your needs.

A. Excel is your major tool for all calculations and lists

B. What are your space needs? - Spreadsheet

V. Rough Budget

A. Budget Tool – Spreadsheet – Rough Budget.xls

B. Can you afford it?

C. Mistakes to avoid

VI. Rough Timeline

A. Make guesses – Check with experts –Quick questions.


VII. Get land

A. Can you get something in your budget?

VIII. Design House

A. Why work with an architect?

B. How to choose an architect.

C. Architect is a major advisor

D. Package Plans

E. Construction Drawings

F. Review My Drawings

IX. Back to Rough Budget – spiral/helix pg. 29

A. Fill in more accurate estimates.

B. Can you afford it?

C. Back to design.

D. Our false starts-on trestle, garage only

E. Ways to lower costs

F. Have land, have design, have rough budget

X. Get quotes

A. Must get 3 quotes for each job. Major Rule

B. Tools

C. Books

D. Magazines

E. Advisors

F. Suppliers

G. Sub-Contractors

H. Sweat Equity what should you do yourself?

XI. Contracts

A. Depends on what is standard in your area and what type of contractor it is. Some are more formal that others, but must feel that they are honorable.

B. Important parts

C. Review contract in handouts

D. Keep them simple. A contract can be a letter.

XII. Detailed Budget

A. Show and check that working

B. Customize as needed

C. Ways to lower costs

D. Back to design

E. Back to budget

F. Back to quotes

XIII. Financing

A. Bank construction loans that turn into mortgages – single set of fees and single close.

B. Bank has own budget form. Can drive you crazy since not the same categories as you use.

C. Bring your spreadsheets etc. to the bank. If you look organized, they will be happier to work with you. Show them you are on top of things.

D. Can you be your own contractor?

E. How are they on construction delays? How long to finish?

F. How fast do they pay? Should have an account at bank so they can do direct deposit.

G. How do they give out the money?

XIV. Insurance

A. Must get homeowner’s insurance at the beginning of the project. Protects you from liability.

B. If you are the contractor, might need workman’s comp insurance. In VT, you do not need it if you are a sole practitioner. All of the subs must have it who works for you. This is a hard one since the helper; cleaner types might not have any.

XV. Detailed Timeline

A. Wonderful, clear presentation of all the steps.

B. Check off as done.

XVI. 10. Start work – What do you do?

A. Act Like a Builder

B. Project Manager

C. Scheduler

D. Reviewer/Inspector

E. Bookkeeper

F. What else? – These come after the GC jobs

XVII. Getting the Project Done

A. Working with Subs

B. Work environment

C. Disputes

D. Payments.

E. Working with Suppliers

F. Dealing with your partner

G. Mistakes to avoid

H. Ways to lower costs – I bring this up again because of the need to review things when you are in construction to lower costs.

I. Big problems

J. What to do when you get nervous and discouraged.

XVIII. Ten Commandments of Contracting- From Owner- Builder B book


Start Date: May 14, 2016
Duration: 2 Days
Tuition: $350