I'm looking for a general estimate of "man hours" needed to build a small house. I'm sure it will vary widely. The purpose is curiosity, and to enable one to take it as reference and compare with time spent in another context.

Please consider a house built in a typical, simple process, not a modular house, 3d printed or other optimized process. We could consider a small house to be 100m². The typical crew seems to be 3-5 people.

So far I've found estimates like: 4480 hours (unknown size), 1280+ hours (2000ft²), 3 months (# of people and size unknown), 900 hours (1200ft²), 600 hours (2 story house shell) and 8000 (200+m²)

The answer could be a range or could be a list of estimates for specific conditions, for instance.

  • basement with poured concrete walls? – ojait Nov 3 '15 at 21:19
  • 100 square meters! For how many people? That's very small, isn't it? – ojait Nov 3 '15 at 21:24
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    Strongly depends on the finish. You can build a log cabin very quickly. – gbronner Nov 3 '15 at 22:32
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    I think there's too many variables involved. This question is far too general to get any accurate answers. – Tester101 Nov 4 '15 at 0:54
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    It depends on the location. Local building practices, building style, materials, etc. Worker experience, including how often they've built the same or similar home. Weather can play a role. Contractor scheduling, and coordination. As with software, how long it takes to complete a home depends very much on what's being built. And like with software, estimates are almost never accurate. – Tester101 Nov 5 '15 at 0:44

When I constructed my house which was a single story (20 feet x 30 feet) and approx. 600 sq. ft. it took about 4 months until it was 100% completed . The only labor I paid to have done was the concrete floor. This was for two people working 8 hour a days x 6 days a week for 4 months. 48 hrs./ week x 4 weeks = 192 hrs./ month x 4 months = 768 hrs. x 2 people = 1536 total hours. Or it took one person 1.28 hours per sq. ft. If you want to get an idea of what the national (in the US) average cost is for any phase of construction Google (or purchase) "National Repair and Remodeling Estimator" by Albert S. Paxton. Published by Craftsman Book Co.. It comes with a CD for calculating an estimate. It also breaks down every phase of construction A-Z giving hourly wage, time for completion, material and supply costs by job location, etc..

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    Note that the time scales somewhat with the number of people working - for example, it takes me roughly three times as long to sheetrock a ceiling than it would take 2 people, and 3 people will take less man-hours than 2 people. Obviously depends on the task though. 6 people sheetrocking a ceiling is a lot of man-hours of a couple people standing around and watching. – Comintern Nov 4 '15 at 0:19
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    That reminds me of a joke: how many state highway workers does it take to fill a pot hole? 6. 1 to fill the hole and 5 to lean on their shovels and watch. (no offense was meant to any state employees in the community). – ojait Nov 4 '15 at 15:48
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    @ojait That's due to unions. You've got the apprentice, who fills the hole. The journeyman, who guides the apprentice. The master, who oversees the journeyman. The site supervisor, who watches over the site. The job supervisor, who manages the job. And the engineer, who makes sure the job is overly complex. – Tester101 Nov 5 '15 at 0:48
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    Of course, in the private sector, it takes 8 people. 1 to do the work. Then 7 managers to tell the one guy he did it wrong. – DA01 Nov 5 '15 at 4:32
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    @Tester101 No unions required for that. Just general building and state codes will require the contractor, the engineer, the plan reviewer with his $0.02, the inspector with his $0.02, the master, the journeyman, and finally the apprentice. It's so bad I have a hard time remembering all the overhead required and need computer apps and templates to help keep track of it all! – Damon Dec 17 '15 at 7:17

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