The Difference Between Homeowner Built VS. Professional Built

In this informative article from Herald Homes, the author brings up some excellent points people need to consider with regard to the decision whether to have a professional Builder build their new home or to consider the route of a self-built home. As a builder, we often deal with clients who are still trying to decide whether or not to build their own home. Many times they have not taken into account numerous factors that could have a large impact on the final outcome, financially, overall quality wise, and in terms of their stress levels.

From our experience, what might look like a no-brainer in terms of cost savings, when considering a professional Builder, vs. doing it yourself, often turns out to be the exact opposite. With possible unforeseen costs in materials, trades, unplanned municipal and provincial regulations, and time delays (not to mention the risk of accidents, lawsuits, and poor quality), a homeowner build is not always the best way to go. (Admittedly there are also some great homeowner Builders out there – who have great success, but it is important to weigh out the pros and cons and arm yourself with the knowledge prior to making the decision).

Building in Progress


Published July 24, 2015 – 9:16 AM
Last Updated July 24, 2015 – 11:47 AM

Building a new home is a lot of work and often just how much time and resources it will take is underestimated by those who choose to build their own home. Many people want to be in control of the building process and feel it is not necessary to seek professional assistance, but before you make this choice, make sure you consider all that is involved.

There are many home builders dedicated to helping individuals build homes to fit their needs and lifestyle — this is where the builder’s area of expertise lies. They are familiar with the process, timelines, how things work and are familiar with the details, inspections, building code and products.

Building your own home can be an amazing experience, however, you should consider if the amount of time it takes in learning all of the details and the process is really worth it. There are a number of factors that can get missed during the planning stage when it comes to owner-built homes.


There are many things that could potentially go wrong on a building site if you are unfamiliar with the process in terms of keeping the site and contractors safe. Taking the time to educate yourself and those working onsite with you about how to remain safe is critically important. If not, there is the potential that someone may end up getting very seriously hurt. A professional, safety trained builder, has the expertise and proper insurances in place to mitigate that risk, which not only adds peace of mind but also allows you to know that your home and those on-site are protected while they are working on your home.

Building Code

All homes must be built to meet the building code standards and pass various inspections from the municipal building officials. Although building code books can be purchased, once you begin building and the inspections start, if something is not built to the code or if a product does not meet code requirements, this can create delays. A professional builder has experience working with the local building officials and knows the inspection processes. This could have an impact on the date of completion if you are doing it yourself.

Time Lines

Building a new home takes considerable time, from the planning phase through to moving day. A professional builder can provide you with a work schedule so you know what to expect at certain times throughout the construction process.

If you are building the home yourself, you will want to make a detailed schedule. This in itself is a big task. Be sure to leave extra time in case of delays, weather issues or challenges which may arise during construction.


Builders often have their own sub trades they use and because of their consistent use of these companies it is a possibility they will take priority over a one-time project. This could make scheduling sub trades more challenging for the person building their own home, especially if the owner is scheduling time off from their job to be on-site with the sub trades.

Building your own home can be a rewarding experience, but if you have open and clear communication with your professional builder, this will just as rewarding. You are still a huge part of the process from beginning to end, but, it allows you to leave the building to the professionals.

For more information, contact the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association by visiting

If you have any further questions or comments, or would like to give us a call, please feel free to pick our brain or to sit down with us for a no obligation chat about your planned project!

Sherry Donovan is communications director for the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association 902-450-5558,

Posted: Thursday, August 06, 2015