The Move Towards Self-Performing in General Contracting

For centuries, building a structure required many different spe­cial­ized laborers. One person would be hired to build the walls. Another indi­vid­ual would be used to do the foun­da­tion. Someone else was in charge of the floor. The list went on and on. However, in recent years, this fact has started to see some changes. Many general con­trac­tors are moving towards a system where they take care of more aspects of the building, with the exception of tasks that require signi cant expertise, such as plumbing and elec­tri­cal. This shift has mainly occurred because few building com­po­nents requires artisan-level skill. The tasks can easily be learned and it is just simpler for the general con­trac­tor to take care of it them­selves. Addi­tion­al­ly, there are several other benefits that come with a con­trac­tor that self-performs.



The most ben­e­fi­cial aspect of being a self-per­form­ing con­trac­tor is that they are seen as not just a jack-of- all-trades, but also a master-of-all-trades. When a job comes up that requires many different building skills, a self-per­form­ing con­trac­tor is the most com­pelling option. They can do every­thing them­selves and fewer people will be involved. This means less calling around, less nego­ti­at­ing, and less confusion. Rather than having 10 or 15 sub­con­trac­tors around, who all have different needs and different schedules, a self-performer handles everything.


As pre­vi­ous­ly stated, self-per­form­ing con­tract­ing is a newer trend in the con­struc­tion industry. Because of this, general con­trac­tors who self-perform have to prove them­selves. They have a rep­u­ta­tion and do not want it to be tarnished. Therefore, their com­mit­ment to quality ensures incred­i­ble work­man­ship, as does the fact that they usually have intensive hiring, on- boarding, and training for new employees. Property owners and archi­tects know that when they work with a good self-per­form­ing con­trac­tor they will be getting a skilled workforce that has all of the necessary talents to accom­plish a job and do it well.


A self-per­form­ing general con­trac­tor, simply put, is the biggest asset to a con­struc­tion site’s budget. The first reason for this is that they are not working on different types of sites month-in and month-out. They know every aspect of the site. They know how long each portion of the project will take. They know what all of the material and labor will cost. If an architect or property owner hasa budget that they need to stick to, a self-per­form­ing general con­trac­tor is the best person to help them stick to it and get the best value for their money — if one technique or material is too expensive, they will know of an alternative.

And then there is the fact that a self-per­form­ing general con­trac­tor may be able to have a lower bid. They have their own labor so little to no money will be spent on hiring sub­con­trac­tors at their marked up labor rates.

In short, a self-per­form­ing general con­trac­tor is a good choice for anyone who needs to stick to a budget.


One of the key concerns for every con­struc­tion site is safety. There is heavy machinery, a lot of people,electrical work being done, uneven ground, and so many more hazards. When self-per­form­ing general con­trac­tors are employed, though, the job site becomes much safer. The reason for this is two-fold. First off, most of the labor that is on-site is on the same team. They all work together on a regular basis and com­mu­ni­cate well. Secondly, most self-per­form­ing general con­trac­tors will have thorough safety standards and rigorous safety courses that all staff are regularly trained in.


In years past, many general con­trac­tors chose to use sub­con­trac­tors because they preferred the spe­cial­ized labor for par­tic­u­lar tasks, plus sub­con­tract­ing used to come at a lower cost and sub­con­tract­ing tended to reduce the overall risk for general con­trac­tors. However, this is no longer the case. A 2015 FMI study showed that nearly half of general con­trac­tors are planning to increase the amount of con­struc­tion tasks that they self-perform.

The main reasons that con­trac­tors are making this move are three-fold. First, when a general con­trac­tor self-performs they have more control over the schedule.They do not have to wait for sub­con­trac­tors to show up and complete their work. They do not have to spend time com­mu­ni­cat­ing, nego­ti­at­ing, and planning with other sub­con­trac­tors. They can promise a client that they will be nished with the project by a certain date and have more control, allowing them to keep their promise.

Second, self-per­form­ing con­trac­tors have more control over the quality of the con­struc­tion project. They know the level of crafts­man­ship that their laborers can maintain and they can guarantee this level to the client.This type of control over the quality helps general con­trac­tors to grow their brand and their rep­u­ta­tion. It also allows the con­trac­tor to be assured that all aspects of the project will be on the same quality level, reducing the amount of costly repair work.

Third, by avoiding sub­con­tract­ing and the fees that come along with it, self-per­form­ing general con­trac­tors can sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase their profit margin while possibly saving the client money. This money can then be used to reinvest into the company so that skills can be increased and expanded. It can also be used to provide more com­pet­i­tive bid and still be at an accept­able profit level.

One of the keys to self-per­form­ing is to use products that lend them­selves to self-per­form­ing. An example is the Bautex Wall System that can be easily and correctly installed by general laborers who work directly for the general contractor.

One general con­trac­tor, in Texas, hired a sub­con­trac­tor to build a Bautex Wall on the first of two buildings. When they saw how easy it was to install Bautex, they self-installed the Bautex walls on the second building.

Another benefit of the Bautex Wall System, that makes it a good choice for self-per­form­ing, is how it takes fewer steps. A tra­di­tion­al framed, block or tilt-up wall requires three trades. One to erect the wall, another to insulate it and a third to install an air barrier. With the Bautex Wall System, one team installs the structure, insu­la­tion and air barrier at the same time.

In addition to being easy enough to be self-performed,the Bautex Wall System installs up to twice as fast as tra­di­tion­al walls.

When making the move into self-per­form­ing con­tract­ing, it is important for con­trac­tors to slowly expand the tasks that they can self-perform. One product that will serve every self-per­form­ing general con­trac­tor well is the Bautex Wall System. To find out more about this light­weight, stay-in-place, insulated concrete block for wall systems, please contact us.