DIY Again

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by codeone, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Just a personal thought on DIY. First of all a little about myself.
    I hold an Unlimited Electrical License in N.C.
    I also hold a Level 3 Inspection Certification from The Dept.Of Insurance in N.C.

    Today I inspected a bedroom and bathroom addition by a DIY. A very humble man who was using a DYI book to assist him.

    Yes he had a few problems several of which came from the DYI book. We spent adout an hour together going over his project. One of the problems with the book it did not really refrence the codes at least the current ones. It also had some faulty information. This info seemed like it was the authors opinion instead of what the code required for a safe installation. One thing actually caused the boxes to be overfilled.

    But you know, that wasnt so bad. (Now I'm probably going to be crucified by some for that statement.) Let me explain. The main thing was the man bought the proper permits to do the job and had the job inspected. This is the most important thing a DIY could do.

    Mind you this is my opinion ---- I have a lot more patience with a DIY doing his own work than I do with a liscened contractor who sometimes is worse than a DIY. (May be crucified by some for that statement too.) As a public servant (Officer) our job is to help protect the public, it requires patience,it requires teaching.

    Everyone can learn from anyone if they show patience and humility.

    Now still in a forum it is very hard to be able to give advice to an inexperienced person. Thats why Ill say again aquire permits, have your work inspected its much easier to get the help you need. Im not knocking the forum it still has its place and will be happy to help if I feel its not to dangerous for an inexperienced person. (Certain friends may crucify for that too)
  2. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    Excellent post. The real issue is getting a permit and inspection. That is what needs to happen.
  3. mickeytex

    mickeytex Project Manager

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Central Texas
    x2 on the good post. I think more DIYers would get permits and inspections if they knew they were working with someone like you.

    As a DIYer, i personally love the learning part construction and I appreciate any good info i can get.
  4. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    I'm a big DIY person
    My latest project - 3 story addition
    24x36 garage, same size great room, walk up attic
    Last year was 15x16 sunroom -on right with wrap around deck
    I also dormered the back of the house - Cape
    Added a 7x10 greenhouse, 6x10 3 season front porch, added 10x10 onto my pool cabana

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I've rewired 90% of my 1950's home
    Fixed several problems: overloaded circuit, (2) live (circuits) 240v wires at the bottom of basement stairs, 2 wire lighting in the basement that was shocking me, lack of GFCI outside & in the basement

    I ended up buying the 2005 NEC handbook, I've been doing electric work since I was a kid. I tend to over think, over research, & over build everything I do

    I've passed all inspections so far, I surpass the insulation requirements by 20-25%. I also buy heavy duty outlets instead of the .50 cheapies
    I've done all the design work, LVL beams were engineered to hold the weight. I actually went to the next size in the garage for added support. I'm saving over $75k in construction costs
  5. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    I'm sure alot of people believe this, not saying your not saving any money, just most people dont realize the cost of doing something wrong either. And yes, i'm a DIY also. just not in the electrical aspect. :)
  6. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    Rough framing alone was going to cost over $45k on the addition
    Probably another $20k on the sunroom, another $20k on the dormer
    I do things better then the contractor would, it's my house
    I don't cut corners
  7. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Congrats. Not necessarily on passing on getting proper permits and proper inspections. Passing is a plus.
  8. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    So much do you charge for yourself to work on your own house? I mean, your time is worth something, so what did the framing by doing it yourself cost you?
  9. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    Thanks, I have to say that my building Dept has been a big help
    We have a stream on the property, so I had to go thru conservation committee for approval to build. They told me to put every project I wanted to do, I then had 3 years to start the projects once approved by Conservation. This is the 2nd house I have owned & the 2nd one I had to go thru conservation committee

    This the old house, before & after
    The "2nd floor" is an unfinished attic with pull down stairs
    5 layers of roofing on the old roof

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    Nothing, my wife works - I'm a stay at home Dad
  11. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,653
    Location:
    .
    You should rename youself, Mr. Mom. :)
  12. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    That's a cop-out answer. Clearly being a dad leaves you spare time, or your houses would never get built. So, if you weren't building your house, what would you be doing with that time? Whatever that would pay, that's what it's costing you to provide your own labor, and has to be substracted from the 75k in savings.

    I'm not saying you aren't saving anything. DIY has none of the overhead a contractor does, and DIY is the most well-motivated workforce available. But exaggerating your savings, is a grave disservice to others who're considering doing the same.

    Cookie wants you to marry her - I'll take care good care of your wife? :p Building houses on my wife's salary sounds like heaven to me.
  13. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    You think staying at home & taking care of kid is a cop out answer?
    Now I know why housewives get ticked off at idiots who say housework isn't work :mad:
    How much do you pay your wife to take care of children & the house?
    Does the IRS allow you to deduct that from your earnings???

    Uh, I'd be cleaning the house, doing yard work, watching TV, maybe scuba-diving for lobsters, swimming in my pool, hot tubbing
    None of the other things I do pay me $$

    But if my wife asks I'd be working hard on house work - none of the fun stuff :D

    So I should have paid someone $80k to do the work & went to work :confused:
    So I should work for 5-10 years to pay off a loan for work that I can do ??

    Doesn't sound like clear thinking to me
    I'm not exaggerating my savings in the least
    I bought my last house for $23,600
    I put LESS then $40k into it & sold it for $200k
    BIG savings, no exaggeration
  14. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades



    I didn't say being a stay-at-home dad was a cop-out; I said your answer was a cop-out. Read my post again, before you jump down my throat.


    YOUR TIME IS WORTH SOMETHING. I'm not talking about the time that you spend being a parent, of course that's worth something, but it's irrelevant to the topic: which is your house-building activity. I'm not talking about your parenting or housework - I'm talking about your other job: the time you spend designing & planning & doing the work on your house. If you were to spend that time doing something else, what would/could it bring in? Suppose you were to hire out as a carpenter, for example, or as a designer.

    To get an accurate idea of how much you saved, you HAVE to substract that amount from your gross savings - to get your net savings.


    And I also said, very clearly, that I'm sure you saved money. I'm just trying to get an accurate idea of what you saved. If you count your labor as free, that's not accurate.

    Neither is lumping the money you made off market changes, as per your example. You need to compare what it actually cost you (including your time), to what it would have cost you to hire somebody. What you made off the housing market swings isn't relevant: that's profit, not wages. You would have made it even if you'd hired someone to do the work.
  15. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,653
    Location:
    .
    Geez, Frenchie, I think you are missing the boat on this one, for look at this man's numbers. He is making money building houses. Plus, raising his kids while his wife is out at a pay-job.
  16. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    Frenchie, your point is pointless

    I'm not doing anything else to make money
    To say I have to subtract some imaginary number that I could make is stupid
    I don't HAVE to subtract ANYTHING
    I HAVE saved over $80k VS hiring someone

    My last house was sold by the bank at a big loss to avoid foreclosure
    The money I made was due to my work, not market change

    Dream on
  17. jamiedolan

    jamiedolan New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    No offense intended to the OP or anyone else.

    Frenchie; I just wanted to say I agree with you. I have experienced and tried to explain this to people I know in real life and some people have a really hard time understanding my point.

    It's kind of a question of what your skilled at, if the OP is a store manager say and he could make $35 /hr if he worked, he might come out ahead if he was working and hired a contractor.

    However for some of us, due to family, health or other personal reasons, we choose not to or are unable to have a regular job. In these cases, you can "save money" if there is nothing else you would have been able to do with your time to make money.

    I agree no ones time and labor in a project like this is really free and should not be technically counted as such. But if it make the OP feel better to look at it that way, then it doesn't hurt anyone and make him feel good, so I'm all for it!

    Jamie
  18. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    Just a load of garbage from people who don't want to lose business from DIY people. I've tried to hire "Pro's" in the past. Over 8 plumbers & only 2 showed up to make a qoute. One was off the wall with an insane amount of money. The 2nd one didn't do the work as greed & wasn't paid in full. Over 8 electricians contacted to do work, 3-4 actually showed up & promised estimates. None followed thru
    If this is how "Pro's" treat the homeowner then it's no wonder you lose business

    Say I got a job for $30k
    Child care $12k a year (actually $18k at current rate we were quoted)
    Cost of a new car w/commuting $6k a year
    Cost of Gas over $3k a year (at todays rates)
    Taxes over $6k a year
    That's $27k a year

    Yes I saved $$, get over it
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  19. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Another words you still made money as you say due to your own work by not hiring a contractor?
    The money you lost was apparently the money you would have made if the house had sold in a timely fashion?
    So in essence you did ok because if you had hired a contractor or contractors you would have lost everything?
    This way you still feel good about what you did and still did not lose it all.
    Congrats keep it up.
  20. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Correct. "Money saved" and "money not spent" are not the same thing. My son-in-law and I have done a lot of work on our own here, and that means we have obviously not had to spend money to pay for the labor we have provided for ourselves. However, I have occasionally taken time off work at my regular job in order to help do some of the two-man work here, and that labor has cost me money even while saving some. Then also, many of us DIYers spend more time doing something than a contractor would have taken, and that factor occasionally ends up costing me more than if I had hired something done. Truly, not even my own labor while working on my own stuff is actually free ... but then the fringe benefits when my wife appreciates the completion of something are almost always invaluable even though she charges me nothing!
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