At first glance, acting as your own general contractor when building a new house seems fairly straight-forward. You basically have to manage everyone's schedule and make sure things move smoothly, much like project management in business. Well, yes and no. There is a certain order of things that every good contractor should know, like window cleaning is last on the schedule, but there are also unknown quirks to the schedule, like the wood floor people need to be alone in the house for several days. Scheduling anyone else onsite during their time can spell disaster. There are also several requirements concerning the cleanliness of the site that need to be considered.
1. Dumpster: While the sight of a dumpster near new home construction is nothing unusual, an experienced general contractor knows that it is pretty standard verbiage to require sub contractors to clean up after themselves each and every night. Be sure to both schedule and budget for it to be delivered and emptied multiple times over the course of your project.
2. Construction Fencing: Depending on state and local building code, as well as the location of the construction site itself, you are required to install construction fencing to cordon off certain areas, like a steep cliff near the site or the hole during swimming pool construction. This temporary fencing could be rented chain link fence sections or orange safety fence. It is meant to serve as both a visual and physical barrier to dangerous areas on your construction site. Not having this properly installed could lead to fines from the local building department, potential loss of insurance coverage and, in the case of an injury, a possible lawsuit.
3. Erosion Control: Believe it or not, it is not your local building inspectors that require the plastic erosion control fencing around your property during construction. It is your state's Department of Natural Resources, and a separate erosion control plan must be submitted for each construction site. Erosion is not just a coastal problem; it happens everywhere. After the native plants are stripped off the land during construction, the dirt and debris can be swept away and into storm drains. Erosion control fencing, sometimes called a silt fence, is meant to preserve any existing vegetation, redirect stormwater, and reduce the loss of sediment.
4. OSHA Requirements: You may just be the general contractor, but you need to be aware of OSHA requirements for each sub-contractor. The safety of their crew is a joint responsibility. Know which trades are required to use safety harnesses and other fall protection. Over the course of a busy day, workers may rush to get the job done. Not only do you want the work done right, but you want everyone to be safe. It is your job to make sure everyone goes home to their family each and every night.
5. The Portable Toilet: Yes, we went there. If you are acting as the general contractor, you need to order that toilet and get it pumped out regularly. While we are sure that this is the least glamorous job you will do in your career, it is nonetheless very important. This is not cheap, but it is an added expense that you cannot overlook. Do not assume people are going to trek to the corner gas station. If there is no running water on site, make sure you provide either a portable sink from the same company or, at the very least, a large jug of hand sanitizer.
When acting as a general contractor on your home, you can save a substantial amount of money if you know how to follow all the rules. For more information, see a website such as http://rent-a-fence.com/.