6:28 PM 01/13/2013
We are planning on doing a full renovation: plumbing, electrical, install a central A/C, kitchens, bathrooms, floors, windows, etc. But - No new additions, no new bathrooms or kitchens, no moving of walls. Has anyone done something like this without a GC, but just hiring individual contractors? Also - is it possible to get permits for some but not all the work? Do the inspectors, when they come to inspect the plumbing look at the other stuff as well?
You mean you are not adding kitchens and bathrooms where there were none, but you are replacing existing ones with new ones in the same places, right?
I expect the architects to have much to say, if you do or do not have a certificate of occupancy reflecting the multiple units, if you will file alt 1 or alt 2, or if the plumber’s monthly report of Ordinary Work is all you need along with an electrical permit.
Your plumber and electrician will file on line. Other contractors can pull permits if they are registered with the DOB. The DOB calls all of us “GC’s,” (unless we are, plumbers or electricians) but many of us don’t meet the DOB definition of GC’s. We don't build or demolish buildings, increase or decrease their sf by 25%. For instance, as a renovator of bathrooms and a tile setter, I am licensed by the DCA – regarding consumer protection. As a Licensed Home Improvement Contractor, I can also be registered with the DOB.
Confused yet? It has to do more with workers’ comp insurance, than being a “generalist” or a manager who assigns work to subcontractors. But, as an HIC renovating one of your bathrooms, I would not want to take responsibility for other people renovating a kitchen, who may not meet insurance requirements and do not wish to be supervised by me. The insurance company does a routine annual audit. They want to know the folks doing the work are insured. It is a law. Workers comp is billed as a percentage of payroll.
There is also the NYS Construction Industry Fair Play Act of 10/26/10. If you want to hire "independent contractors," you may want to Google that and read the fact sheet.
You can find me in the B'stoner directory under Shower Stalls. - Green Mountain
7:23 PM 01/13/2013 | 0 Votes
If you are doing work that will require a general building permit than you will need a contractor with a tracking number. The plumber, mechaical and electrican then pull their permits. In some instances you as the owner can pull the permit, but for a full renovation I do not expect that to be allowed.
8:48 PM 01/13/2013 | 0 Votes
Of course, the contractors and architects say you need a contractor and architect, but from the details of your query, it doesn't sound to me like you will necessarily need a GC or architect. You'll need permits for the plumbing and electrical work, but the plumbers and electricians can pull those. If you do everything else in place, you probably don't need any additional permits. I served as my own "GC"in a similar renovation of my own house: new kitchens and bathrooms (in place), new plumbing and wiring, walls skim-coated and painted, floors re-finished.
That said, I'd almost say if you have to ask the question, you'll need a GC. I was able to take a couple of months off work, and devoted a ton of time besides, and was pretty familiar with the whole process. It's time-consuming and complicated to coordinate a big reno like that. I'm glad I did it that way, but it's certainly not for everyone.
9:17 AM 01/14/2013 | 0 Votes
You say “full renovation.” You also ask: "Do the inspectors, when they come to inspect the plumbing look at the other stuff as well?"
I don’t know what you should expect, or if you contemplate hiding something, but in my experience, the work that is filed is the work that is inspected, unless the inspector is responding to a complaint. Perhaps, as you suggest nothing other than plumbing, electric and AC, requires a permit, and you have nothing to be afraid of, or perhaps only one easy change requires a permit.
Funny, I just checked the spelling of piecemeal and got this example in Merriam Webster Online: “<remodeled their house piecemeal because of budgetary constraints>”
Are you only trying to save money by acting as your own GC? Or, do you want to renovate your way through an occupied building room by room more slowly, but with more continuous function?
It may be possible, depending on how many bathrooms and kitchens you need opperting, while others are being completed. It may or may not save money, but it may also yield higher quality and higher value.
– Green Mountain
11:24 AM 01/14/2013 | 0 Votes
I acted as my own GC on a renovation that sounds like it had a similar scope as the one you're planning. All new plumbing, electric, central AC, partition changes, etc. I was combining 2 units on 2 floors so there was also the issue of a new stair. I had an architect prepare very basic plans for filing. I pulled the general construction permit in my name - all I had to was provide evidence of workman's comp and disability insurance which I was able to obtain for a nominal cost from the State Insurance Fund. The electrician and the plumber took care of their own filings and inspections. In my experience those inspections do not involve other trades. It's certainly possible but you do need a basic understanding of how the trades work together. I was dealing only with subs I knew and trusted so it made it doable for me.
11:51 AM 01/14/2013 | 0 Votes
Questions to ask yourself before you go this route (I am a homeowner, not a contractor. We did a whole house reno about 6-7 years ago. We did not go it alone as you propose):
1. Are you going to be around a lot to check on the work? By a lot I mean a few hours a day while the crews are there.
2. Who is sourcing the materials? You or the contractors? Including finish goods -- cabinets, tops, doorknobs, light fixtrues. Do you have a sense of lead times -- ie how long to procure items and when they weill be needed?
3. Who will be coordinating and organizing the flow of work -- i.e., which pieces of electrical work need to be completed before which pieces of plumbing work (boiler, etc.), coordinating doorswings and light switch locations.
4. Who will be filing, paying filing fees, signing off on work, etc.
Coordinating all this is mammoth undertaking. If you think you know what you are doing and can truly function as a GC, go for it, but if not, what you may save in GC fee you may give back in delays,changeorders, higher contractor quotes, etc.
12:09 PM 01/14/2013 | 0 Votes
Yes, we have done something like this acting as our own contractor. If you keep all the walls, plumbing, and fixtures in place, you don't need to file the whole job and what you do need to file can be handled by the individual plumbers and electricians. However, all this said, I recommend you find either a REALLY GOOD licensed contractor and/or work with an architect. You will save money in the long run. By contractor I mean someone who is primarily a finish carpenter (and can also do general plumbing and some electric, although you will hire licensed plumbers and electricians for that) and who holds a current contractor's license himself. We didn't have any trouble coordinating anything, but we've had to do many jobs over two or three times because our main guy didn't have the skills or knowledge we needed. Now we know people we should have hired (too late) and they would have saved us money. In addition, you have to be careful about kitchens and baths -- both with locating things such as fridges, islands, and washing machines, and what materials to choose. An architect OR a knowledgable contractor with some taste and good sense can save you from some dumb mistakes there.
6:23 PM 01/14/2013 | 0 Votes
As others have said it can be done but you definitely need to have a tremendous amount of free time to oversee all the subs and have a good understanding of laying out spaces, kitchens, bathrooms and all the intricancies involved. A good contractor, architect or construction manager will save you time, headaches and most likely expensive mistakes.
6:28 PM 01/14/2013 | 0 Votes
I would call tri-state -- they did EVERYTHING regarding our full Reno three years ago -- they had a few architects that were recommended and pulled our permits. Sean was great at having a few sit down meetings with us to kind of hammer out all of the details and steps and ascertain a scope of work that didn't have us guessing how the progress would go. Excellent communication from start to finish and affordable. Sean is the point of contact -- 347-362-6266.
9:29 AM 01/15/2013 | 0 Votes
The answer depends on what has or has not been done to your house previously. You would be well advised to hire an expediter or an architect if only to look into the DOB records for your house and advise you on what applications and permits will be needed. For instance, you do not need a GC or an architect to file minor plumbing work, but if the current number of plumbing fixtures in your house does not match the number on file at DOB, it will need to be amended. You will need an engineer or architect to prepare a basic set of plans to file in this case. If everything checks out and you are not adding any fixtures, your plumber can obtain the permit for you and will call for an inspection when he completes the work. Electrical work is not filed with the department of buildings, so your electrician can take care of this for you. If you want to change any interior partitions or structural elements, you will need an architect or engineer. Depending on how large this renovation project is, the main benefit to having a GC is to coordinate the work. Your plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc. are probably not going to be communicating with each other, which can lead to scheduling problems. If your electrician needs to wire some light fixtures in your kitchen, but he needs to wait until the plumber finishes moving some pipes out of the way, or for the carpenter to finish framing your ceiling, you either need to have a lot of patience and time on your hands, or you need a GC.
9:52 AM 01/15/2013 | 0 Votes
Scheduling really wasn't a problem, at least not for us. The issue is finding somebody with the skill set to do the job correctly. The person who has the skills you want will in fact be a finish carpenter and licensed contractor. We and people we know have had the best results dealing with small outfits where the license holder does the main work himself, works on one job at a time, and has some helpers he always works with and supervises closely. Hope this makes sense.
10:01 AM 01/15/2013 | 0 Votes