Builder or Inspector ?   Which way is better ?

Many people think a lot about how to manage the project of building their home and what is the best system or method to use. In principle, there are two basic methods. One is to use a Builder or General Contractor (GC) and the second way is to use an Inspector.

Using the GC method, the customer places the order with the GC and the GC contacts and employs people or sub-contractors. The GC is the contact person and the only body talking to the customer. He is solely responsible during the building process and also afterwards when the project is completed. He coordinates and acts as an integrator for all tradesmen and systems on site. Eventually when all is finished, the customer receives a key without the hassle of talking and negotiating with each and every tradesman. That is why this method is sometimes called 'Turn Key Contractor'.

The Inspector system is very different. Using this method the Inspector does coordinate with the tradesman on site but he leaves the negotiating and closing with each subcontractor to the customer. 

There are two typical claims or misunderstandings that should be clarified:

First mistake- "it is less expensive when using the Inspector method…" This is simply not correct. The Inspector cannot receive for his customers, prices that are less expensive than the GC. Also, most of the Inspectors receive commissions from subcontractors. This commission must be incorporated in the cost making it more expensive to the customer.

Second mistake – "the Inspector is responsible for the building materials and workmanship quality…" This is INCORRECT! He has no responsibility to the quality before, during or after the project has been finished. By law he is designated as a consultant and in fact not liable for anything on site!


Please see below a chart showing the difference between the two methods:

Item General Contractor Inspector
A 'closed' and known budget Often there are breaches
Approved authorization for the building permit
Insurance coverage and safety responsibility of all people present on site
An approved Building License
Responsibility for quality of the building
Responsibility for maintenace after completion
Total cost of building project Less Expensive More Expensive
Receives commission from sub-contractors Does Not Usually Receives
Supplies a Warranty and Guarantee for the whole house
Is responsible for attaining the 'TOFES 4' to enter the house
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