Build Your Own House

Construction Site Manager

Summary: A Construction Site Manager is a licensed general contractor whose responsibility is to act as your site manager with the contractors and subcontractors.

Carl, I bought your book, but have a question for you.

I want to use a construction site manager for my first project.

Your book makes a little mention of how this compares to savings or the added expense over the 25% savings of my being my own General Contractor.

What would be the difference in cost, what would be the site supervisor’s fee?

I plan on building a new home in Chattanooga TN and wonder if there would there be a regional difference in what a site supervisor would get?



Hi Steven,

In my book, Be Your Own House Contractor, Chapter 1, you’ll find:

Alternatives to Being Your Own House Contractor

For one reason or another many people (or their lender) decide that they can't go forward with the plan to act as their own general contractor.

Here are the three other ways you can build a house.

All involve using a professional licensed general contractor (builder) in a position of increasing responsibility and at correspondingly greater cost to you. The first two options should still save you money overall.

Please note that sample home building contracts for the following are available on my “Getting Started” page, under #9.

1. Site supervisor or Construction Site Manager contract. (Total cost to build + 6 to 10% of total cost)

2. Cost to Build plus a percentage or a fixed fee contract. (Total cost to build  + 10 to 15% of total cost)

3. Fixed Total Price Home Building Contract. (Total cost to build includes the General Contractor's profit and overhead)

Because each option increases the General Contractor's or Construction Site Manager's responsibility, the cost of using that General Contractor also increases. With a Construction Site Manager or a Cost Plus contract, the cost of the land, the materials to build the house, and other fixed expenses should be the same as if you were the General Contractor.

The least expensive way to go other than you going it alone, is using a Site Supervisor. This is the way by which you can still be considered the general contractor, possibly be accepted by your construction lender, and possibly feel more comfortable overall.

Under a Site Supervisor arrangement, you hire a licensed general contractor whose only responsibility is to act as your Construction Site Manager with the contractors and subcontractors.

This Construction Site Manager in return for about one-third of his or her normal fee (or profit and overhead) will assist in finding the contractors (although you can still find your own), schedule them, check the quality of their work, approve the quality of materials, and order materials, when needed, in your name.

You will still be responsible for selecting and buying the land, figuring out all cost estimates, securing suppliers, permits, paying all bills, including those from contractors and subcontractors and ensuring building inspection department inspections.

You will be responsible for the final job and its overall acceptance by you, the building inspection department, and your construction lender.

Under a Cost plus a percentage contract or a Cost plus a fixed fee contract or under a Fixed Price Contract your primary responsibility is finding a good General Contractor (builder) and paying him as the work progresses.

The total cost of construction may differ by regions, but the percentage of total cost charged by a Construction Manager is pretty standard throughout the country.

Good luck,

Carl Heldmann