Design Build Process : Homeowner Involvement

Castle is one of the few professional remodeling companies that actually encourage participation by clients. Castle believes that by encouraging homeowner involvement, a greater value can be provided to the client. Labor costs typically represent the largest portion of remodeling costs and consequently provide the greatest opportunity for savings on the part of the client. Although Castle often receives and passes along deeply discounted pricing on materials, additional savings can be garnered if the client procures and delivers some accessories and materials. Castle also believes that clients who are involved in their project have a greater appreciation for the skill required as well as the unexpected circumstances that arise in remodeling.

 

Although Castle encourages client participation, there are certain restrictions that have been enacted based on past negative experiences. In general, Castle most strongly encourages participation in the beginning and ending stages of the project. Here is an overview, broken down by category of work, of Castle policies on homeowner involvement.

 

  1. Plans, Engineering, and Permits

This is an area that Castle does not allow homeowner participation. Castle’s system as a general contractor is built around pulling the permit and taking responsibility for all necessary inspections. Castle will work with client-provided architects and designers.

  1. Site Prep, Tear Out & Demolition

Many clients do tear out and demo and save thousands in labor costs. This is the first stage of the project and involves ripping out, smashing, and removing what will be leaving. This phase can be gratifying and tiring. Expect many trips to the dumpster and try to recruit some friends to help.

  1. Excavation

Leave the digging to the pros. Heavy equipment is the way to go here.

  1. Concrete

Again, concrete is better left to professionals who have specialized equipment.

  1. Masonry

As one of the most skilled of the trades, masons are paid a good salary for a reason. Their trade is as much art as it is science. Masonry takes years to learn and your home is not a great place to learn, as any mistakes will show for many years.

  1. Floor Framing

Unless you have experience framing, I would leave this to Castle. All framing requires knowledge of handsaws, attention to detail, an ability to work with heights, and physical strength. Framing is also usually a 2-3 person job.

  1. Wall Framing

See above.

  1. Roof/Ceiling Framing

See above.

  1. Roofing, Flashing & Gutters

Generally, unless you love high places and have tons of free time, this is not a category of work that is worth doing yourself. The laborers who perform this work are fast and efficient. Many clients are surprised to discover how little they could save by doing this part themselves. On the other hand, if you have a brother, friend, uncle, or past pro you would prefer to complete the work, let us know.

  1. Exterior Trim & Decks

Carpentry work is our expertise and we would prefer to complete this work.

  1. Siding

See Roofing, Flashing & Gutters

  1. Exterior Doors &Trim

Carpentry work is our expertise and we would prefer to complete this work.

  1. Windows

Carpentry work is our expertise and we would prefer to complete this critical element. The codes on installing windows have become stricter to help ensure that mold problems do not occur. Installing a window requires many forms of flashing and should be left to Castle.

  1. Plumbing

Castle requires that our plumber complete all plumbing work. The complexity involved in passing a plumbing inspection is above even the most avid do-it-yourselfers. The potential liabilities involved with plumbing and plumbing leaks has led Castle to trust in our professional partners to provide all fixtures and complete the installation. By working with just one partner, there can be no warranty questions or finger pointing when a defect or clog occurs.

  1. Heating & Cooling

This is a complex area and requires experts to complete.

  1. Electric

Much like plumbing and heating & cooling, Castle requires that our professionals complete the electrical work. Electricity is a dangerous thing and should be left to the professionals.

  1. Insulation

Some insulation applications, particularly fiberglass batts, are easy to install and can be done by the client. Typically, the amount of time it takes to complete this item compared to the small savings realized from doing so leads clients to pass on this area.

  1. Drywall

Not a good place to learn on your own home. This is a messy and time-consuming process that requires a lot of experience to complete on a timely basis and even more experience to create a smooth surface that stands the test of time.

  1. Tile & Stone

Take a class, buy a wet saw and you are in business (if you’re adventurous). Not that easy but some homeowners have been quite successful if willing to take their time. This is a decent place to save (you can save about half of the tiling costs by doing it yourself) and an opportunity to set your tile in grout for an eternity.

  1. Millwork, Doors, and Trim

This is where Castle shines. Our craftsmen are experts at matching trim, and installing to perfection. Some homeowners with both experience and a lot of time take this on.

  1. Cabinets, Countertops, and Appliances

Castle generally does this part. If you hire a pro, please let us handle the part that reflects the most on final appearances.

  1. Specialties

Many homeowners handle this relatively easy portion, which offers a chance to save money by cutting out management coordination of ordering and delivering materials and the labor to install.

  1. Floor Coverings

If you have the time, this is an area to save by installing or managing yourself. It adds to Castle’s coordination, but we are amicable.

  1. Painting & Decorating

This is frequently handled by the homeowner if they have the time. Don’t forget to figure in time for masking and prep. Please paint nicely so that our pictures look good.

  1. Clean Up and Debris Removal

If you are willing to clean the jobsite each day and move debris to the dumpster, you may be able to save some costs in this area.