One contractor v. 3 contractors

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Posted by: from Mississauga
2/13/2012 at 9:14:51 AM

Is it more advisable and cost effective to hire 3 different contractors---electrical, plumbing, general than 1 general for all to make a bathroom basement?

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Date/Time2/13/2012 at 9:50:23 AM

As a general rule, you will get a cheaper price from one company. They are already on site and spread there profits over the whole job. There is also only one company to deal with if any problems do arise.

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Date/Time2/13/2012 at 11:29:04 AM

Hi Percival, If you are hiring different contractors to do your project, you are actually acting like the general contractor. It would be your responsibility to have everything ready for the next guy in line, and to manage the workflow so that the individual contractors are not tripping over each other. If you miss a deadline for one of the contractors, the chances are he has budgeted his time to do your work on a specific day and has more projects lined up for subsequent days - he probably won't come back until he can fit you in again. Same for the guy after him and the guy after him. This can add up to significant delays in the completion.

A general contractor will have trades that he uses regularly and will manage the workflow for the best efficiency - that is what you are paying him for. His trades will give him a little more slack on the scheduling as they are probably getting a significant volume of work from him.

Working with a general also gives you only one point of contact to deal with anything that happens - it is his responsibility to get your project done on time, on budget, and the way you want.

If you have some experience at renos and understand the sequences that have to happen, you could probably manage it on your own. If you haven't done it before, but are prepared to put up with some hiccups, you could also probably do it on your own.

The costs will probably work out to about the same either way.

Good Luck with it!

Jim Kuzma

Kettleby Handyman Services

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Date/Time2/14/2012 at 2:04:39 PM

Hi Percival.

Jim is correct in that you decide the engage the services of varies trades you will in fact be acting as a general contractor. It is not just about cost as there are a number of important factors to consider. There are advantages to this approach if project scope is very clear, with a lot of detail and in writing along with drawings. The disadvantage is in the coordination and scheduing.

You will likely have to find a trade to do the framing, then have the plumber and electrician rough in, some else to insulate, vb and drywall, find a tilers, then paint, then trim then have the plumber and electrician return to complete. In addition you would have to be on site during this process to deal with issues that may come up, assign accountability and responsibility, ensuring work undertaken by one trade does not make it more difficult or problematic for the next trade etc.

In addition there are other concerns such as addressing warranty and substantial completion issues, insurance and licensing compliance, etc.. A general contractor takes on these responsibilities and it is a lot more work than most people think.

Good luck.


Kingsway Construction Inc

Glenn Rosborough

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