Construction Manager: Owner Builder Consultant

You may or may not need a construction manager on your project. If you are comfortable with what you are learning from and other construction resources, you can build your home without the use of a consultant. There are web-based and owner builder specific software programs to help you manage bids, schedules, costs and so on.

Construction Management Software

Construction management software has come a long way. Software used to mean a basic Excel spreadsheet with a few unique rows and columns. Today, web-based programs like BuildLinks and Buildtopia help Construction Firms manage custom projects completely. They enable the company to have an online interface with a homebuyer as well as schedule, track progress and costs, and pay subcontractors.

There are several hard copy software programs available as well including some that are specifically geared toward's owner builders. Do a few searches online and contact a number of providers about cost AND ease of operation. The owner builder does not want or need a complicated, do it all program. It should be easy to learn and contribute to a better managed project at little cost.

Consultants or Managers "As Needed"

If you are learning, but not at the “go it alone” point in your confidence, you can hire a construction consultant or manager on an “ as needed” basis. There are qualified, experienced managers who will work for an hourly fee. The cost should run between 35.00 and hour and 75.00 an hour depending on your particular market. In addition, there may be a minimum cost, such as 100.00 for a jobsite visit or for an inspection . Some will want a minimum guarantee or a percentage of the construction expense. Say NO to any request based on percentage.

Personally, I think this is the best way to go. You can call for a consultation periodically. If you hit a roadblock, an experienced construction manager can help you find solutions. The key is, don't used them as a crutch. They are consultants for you. The owner builder is the general contractor.

There are some good web sources for finding a licensed construction manager or general contractor .

Other Choices for Construction Managers

Some owner builders are really flying blind and are not comfortable with any aspect of construction. There are two options in this case.

First, you can hire a construction consultant with whom you are comfortable. Tell them what you want them to accomplish. Be specific as to plans, permits, construction, bids, selection of materials, etc. Obtain a proposal, in writing, that clearly details their responsibilities and what their services will cost. Check with previous clients concerning their reliability and honesty. If everything is acceptable you can expect a well managed and successful project.

Second, you could change course and hire a qualified general contractor. Follow the same pattern as above. The difference is that a general contractor will give you a fixed price bid for most of the job and allowances for those areas which vary based on your selection of finished products.


NorthernTool Sale

Front Door


Floor Covering



Security System


Other Items

Often, a contractor will also include a number of specialty items. This is normally a fixed number of items. Remember, each contractor is different. Some may allow for a wide variety of specialty items, some, none at all.

Being You Own Contractor

Don’t be fooled. Being you own contractor is what being an owner builder is all about. It is hard, demanding work. You must be organized, flexible, considerate, firm, decisive, and be able to overcome adversity. In the end, a successful project will give you tremendous satisfaction. Please consider these options deliberately, the success of your project depends on you making an informed, rational decision.