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A Custom Home Builder vs. a General Contractor – What’s the Difference?

A Custom Home Builder vs. a General Contractor – What’s the Difference?

Before you begin the process of designing and building timber frame homes, learn more about the different types of professionals you’ll need to get the job done.

So you want to build a timber frame house? Great, you’ve come to the right place! However, our team of timber framers at Mid-Atlantic Timberframes can’t do it alone. You’ll also need to hire a home builder or general contractor, but which one? Read on to find out more about the differences between the two—and how a custom timber framer like Mid-Atlantic Timberframes fits into the picture.

  1. Builders: A custom home builder will generally work with you from start to finish—from drawing up a home design to excavation, construction, and handing over the keys. A builder will usually have a crew who can handle foundations, subfloors, framing, roofing, and walls. Sometimes a builder may handle mechanical jobs such as heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical work themselves, but they may also subcontract these jobs out. In the latter case, the builder is also acting as a contractor.
  2. General Contractors: A general contractor usually comes into the picture once construction of a home is set to begin. (If you choose to work with a general contractor, you may also need to hire an architect first to help you draw up the plans for your home.) They will make sure your home is built to your specifications by coordinating all of the necessary subcontractors, including hiring, scheduling, monitoring, and paying them for their work.
  3. Timber Framers: Timber framers works with the builder or contractor you hire. They will design and manufacture the timber frames of your home and work with your builder, contractor, and/or architect to determine how these elements will best work in the home’s design, in terms of both aesthetics and structural integrity. Once your home’s foundation and subfloor are in place,  timber framers will come and erect the timber frames, sheath the roof, and apply SIPs to the walls and roof. They may also apply roof felt and house wrap. Then their duties are complete, and tasks to complete the home—such as exterior and interior finishes, plumbing, and heating and cooling work—are up to the builder or general contractor.

As you can see, in the overall scheme of building timber frame homes, timber framers plays only a small, though crucial, part. Mid-Atlantic Timberframes recommends that you hire a builder or general contractor at the same time you hire a timber framer. That way, the two can work together from the beginning of your home project, paving the way for a smooth, successful partnership.

If you need help choosing one of these professionals, we will be happy to provide a list of those working in the area you are building in. Ready to make your dream timber frame house plans a reality? Call us today.

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