I have great admiration for those who try and general their own home construction. However, I have seen very few people save money. There are certainly many secrets to making the building process run smoothly. Connections, pricing, liability, experience and know-how are just a few things you get when hiring a general contractor.
I heard a funny story from a builder, named Skip, who lives in Texas. He said he has a friend who wanted to build his own home. His friend would frequently ask Skip for advice. Skip was a little concerned with his friend’s questions so Skip decided he better go to his friend's construction site. When Skip arrived he sat in his truck while finishing a phone conversation. (That is what builders spend most of their days doing) As Skip was on the phone he looked over at the home and was concerned because he could tell that the foundation could not be level. He got out of his truck and set up his laser transit, to verify his suspicions. Skip said the foundation was 5-3/4 inches out of level. He talked with his friend about how to remedy this problem. Obviously the remedy was very costly, but not as much the next mistake his friend made. His friend had poured his basement floor and it was anything but smooth and flat.
To top it off, Skip noticed there were no plumbing pipes coming out of the concrete. He asked his friend why there were no pipes. His friend said, “Well, because this is a basement home plan, all of the plumbing can be placed on the main floor.” Skip just shook his head and explained to his friend why the plumbing needed to be in the basement, under the concrete. He told his friend that he could have the basement floor cut out where the pipes needed to go. The man who came to cut the floor called Skip to ask how thick the basement concrete was. He called because the saw blade was not big enough to go all the way through. Skip asked his friend how thick he had poured the floor. “Well“, said his friend. “The footings were 10 inches and then I poured it four inches above the footings, so the floor is 14 inches thick.” Apparently his friend didn't use 10 inches of gravel to fill up the void. I can just imagine how the cement truck drivers were just laughing their heads off and counting their money.
The story doesn't stop here, but I'll have to finish it later..