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Building a custom home? Here’s how many people it takes to build it

Whether you’re building a custom home with the help of a custom home builder, or buying a home from a builder, each home requires a fairly large team to build the structure and install everything that goes into it. Just how many people does it take? Canadian Contractor magazine has some answers for us.

There are so many jokes surrounding the building industry. “How many engineers does it take to screw in a light bulb” for starters. But in reality, how many people does it take to build this:

custom build

Survey says…

According to Canadian Contractor, the National Association of Home Builders in the United States says it takes on average 22 sub-trades to construct a home. It further states that sub-contractors make up 75% of the work to build a typical singe-family home.

“The report noted the most common jobs that builders sub out include work on security systems, carpeting, HVAC, electrical wiring and plumbing. The least common jobs delegated to subcontractors include work on finished carpentry, interior doors, exterior siding, framing and exterior doors/windows,” according to Construction Dive magazine (U.S.)

Changes overtimegeneral-contractors (3)

Canadian Contractor indicates the numbers have fluctuated over the last several decades. Sub-contractors were doing 70% of the work in the 1970s, but that number rose to 84% 10 years ago.

What does this say about today’s construction?

A custom home build requires a lot of team members to put the construction together. While that hasn’t changed, a few things in the industry have:

  • Custom homes still require more than 70% of sub-contractors, which means home construction and designs are much more complicated and technical than they used to be.
  • There is a need for specialty sub-contractors to build specific amenities into homes, including HVAC specialists.
  • There’s a labour shortage and finding skilled tradesman to do the job is a difficulty.

That doesn’t mean this should deter you from having your dream home. If you’re interested in a custom home, why not speak to any of these custom home builders?  They can help you determine of building a custom home is right for you. We recommend you interview at least three contractors to compare the size of their teams, their quotes, and more information based on asking them these questions:

  • Explain my project and ask them how they would approach it?
  • Do they have experience with this specific type of project?
  • When would they be available to look at my project and give me a quote?
  • When do you have me scheduled?
  • When do you expect payment?
  • What if there are delays? How will they be handled?
  • If the scope of the project changes, or you run into something that will increase my cost, how will you communicate this with me?


Aside from our directory of custom home builders, you can also use our directory to find a whole host of home service professionals to make your dream home a reality!

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