How to organize seismic retrofit and various renovations
June 23, 2014 9:26 AM Subscribe
We bought a 1920 bungalow in Berkeley and need to get various things done. We're hiring an engineer to look at the foundation + retrofit and make plans. After that, should we hire a general contractor, or should we go with organizing everything by ourselves?
posted by The Toad to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Aside from seismic retrofitting, there's a (hopefully, small) issue with the foundation,2 brick chimneys need to be removed for earthquake safety, roof is on its last legs, electric needs some upgrading, we need to install central forced air heating...and two or three dozen little issues that need to be taken care of at some point or another.
Husband thinks we might get a raw deal if we hire somebody to organize everything and it will be much much more expensive without leading to better quality work. Why not hire the subcontractors ourselves?, is his thinking, because then we could also pick craftsmen with a good reputation!
I tend to think we will have a very hard time organizing everything - beginning with whom to ask first, scheduling the work so people don't get in each others' way, getting permits (difficult around here). I'm a stay at home mom and we live 5 minutes from the new place so that is definitely a plus - no problem letting people in a few times a week, checking in on them etc. On the other hand, I have a toddler in tow and it's unlikely that I will be able to spend hours at a time at the permit office without losing my mind...or hang out on site while daughter plays with the nail gun...
Have you done this? What is your advice?
(Btw since the term seems to be used differently by different people - by "general contractor", we mean somebody who manages specialized subcontractors who are licensed etc. Not a "guy with a drill" type scenario who does stuff alone and without permit/without being qualified to do, e.g., electrical/plumbing work. We prefer not to cut corners.)