some thoughts from Dozer
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Material pricing, work regulations and engineers

from Alan Love your site! What a lot of effort you’ve gone to in just the website alone.

topics; working on your own project, engineers, materials pricing.

I’m an Englishman in the US [long time resident] who’s going to help a friend build a house in the same area as you. I’m a builder here in California but we use very different building techniques and materials, so I found your info to be a great resource. Couple quick questions if I might: a] are foreigners able to do any work on their project? b] are there any engineers/surveyors available to monitor standards? c] have you found it possible to make a-priori pricing arrangement with materials vendors/supply houses?

editor: Doing work on your own project — technically it is in violation of work permit regulations, work being defined as physically laying bricks — not sitting around watching people lay bricks. That being said, the resident of a house is not normally bothered for doing medium size projects, for instance — remodeling a kitchen, adding an outside barbeque room, hanging a new door, painting, etc.

professional engineers are available. The are required on multi story projects, especially apartments, condo and hotel projects. The are often used on multiple story residential house projects, not so often on single story projects. A story about me getting burned by an engineer is here: [dozer burned by engineer]( “engineer rip-off) . The message is this: due diligence is of extreme importance here when hiring anyone to do anything …. and …. don’t pay for contract fees up front (if you can avoid it).

pricing. At the beginning of a project you can go to most building supply stores and enter into some kind of pricing agreement. If you are going to give them the bulk of the business on a project, price concessions can be agreed to. The prices are subject to change, but you would be getting the same discount throughout. There is a very good supply of building materials locally. Credit can be arranged and is commonly used.

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