A long time ago when this house was just a twinkle in Tai's eye, we had a discussion about who would build it. Davido's name came up. Knowing next to nothing about the Biesinger clan (except that it is a mighty huge clan), I was reluctant to hire a family member — I was worried about what would happen if things went wrong, if we got mad, if he got mad, budget overruns, missed deadlines, etc. Basically, I was worried about what would happen if we hired a family member and then had a stereotypical GC experience.
But, my family connections include a geologist, a second-grade teacher, a pediatric endocrinologist, and a couple of college students, so I couldn't really produce another general contractor option. We hired Davido, and I'm so glad that we did. Here's a brief list of the good things that have happened because we did:
• started digging approximately 90 minutes after we received our building permit and finished excavation that same day
• got us a connection to an awesome concrete subcontractor who we otherwise couldn't have afforded — our first floor (which will remain exposed concrete) is beautiful
• got us another connection to a metal subcontractor who has matched an early, low bid and does great custom work
• put bonus reflective insulation around our bathtub — hey, who knows whether it will keep our water hot longer, but it's worth a shot!
• got us blown-in insulation for only $400 more than our initial blanket insulation bid, taking us from R-17 to R-23
• got us additional sound-proofing insulation in interior walls upstairs
• bonus: radiant heat in the front porch concrete!
• tolerated Tai working to his heart's content on the framing crew, giving him the bona fides to say, "I built this house"
• the specs on our framing plan called for a lot of unique hardware, but Davido tracked down less expensive options that still maintained high performance
• enjoyed a friendly relationship with all inspectors, who come out to the site more to admire Davido's handiwork than to find fault with it
• Davido found us an equally beautiful but less expensive window brand than was originally specified, saving us several thousand dollars
• got a level 5 finish on our drywall, making it look like it was painted before so much as a layer of primer went on and thoroughly hiding all drywall seams and patches
• found a pro painter who was willing to work on hourly with materials at cost, meaning that we get a fully painted house with lacquered doors and windows by the end of this week for minimally more money — saving us the roughly three weeks it was going to take us to do the same job (which saves us much more in construction interest payments than the painting will cost)
• Davido has done so well keeping things on budget that we have barely touched our contingency money, and we've gone so quickly that we won't use all the construction interest money in the budget. He has saved us enough money in construction that it looks as though we might be able to build a garage with the savings, something we thought we'd have to wait a year or two before doing.
But there are two big things that deserve their own paragraphs: timeline and peace of mind.
We are flying on this house. It's now looking quite likely that we'll be moved in before Thanksgiving, which was a laughable pipe dream back when we got our permit on July 29. Things have moved so quickly. We will get to celebrate the holidays in our new house.
Every time I hear anything about construction, it's because another piece of good news rolled in — either Davido has saved another $500 on some sub-bid or product, or he got us a free upgrade, or he's shaved another couple of days off the construction schedule. The more I share this with people, the more I'm coming to realize how exceptional it is to be under budget and moving faster than expected. Which gives us total peace of mind about our general contractor.