If you want to fulfill your dream and build your house yourself, you will be facing quite a few decisions. A very important one comes up right at the beginning of the construction project: Do you want an architect or a general contractor to oversee the building of the house? Both options have advantages and disadvantages.

Building with a general contractor

A general contractor takes care of everything: planning, organizing, hiring of tradesmen and the building your house from A to Z. If you have little time yourself and want your home to be built for you, a general contractor is the perfect choice. However, keep in mind that you will not have much say in the design.

Building with an architect

Would you like to have more freedom in the design of your home? Then you should work together with an architect. But that also means that you will be responsible for handling more of the details. For example, you will have to pay the tradesmen’s invoices directly.

Choose your partner carefully

Whether architect or general contractor, you need to think carefully about your selection. It’s a good idea to look through the commercial registry and get information about your future partner from the debt enforcement office. You can also obtain references from clients who have already worked with the architect or general contractor you have in mind. A careful review of your potential partners could spare you some unpleasant surprises later during construction.

Pay close attention to the constructor’s lien

If you decide to work with a general contractor, you also need to pay attention to another important aspect. Sub-contractors, such as electricians, kitchen fitters and carpenters, can claim a constructor’s lien on the property within a given period of time if the general contractor fails to pay the sub-contractors’ invoices. This will be noted in the land registry of the house. If, when the building is finished, the general contractor becomes insolvent and some invoices still haven’t been paid, the worst-case scenario is that you could end up having to pay twice over – both the general contractors’ bills and the tradesmen’s invoices.

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