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.