When building a new home many things come into perspective. Lot location, the style of home, involvement of an architect, type of mortgage or other payment options, etc.
Building on an undeveloped lot:
Depending on location and the scope of work – the process may vary. Prior to purchasing a piece of land, it would be a good idea to go to your local city hall or wherever you can obtain the information about the land. (e.g – easement, floodplains, creeks, etc.) Once you purchase land, it is ideal to get the land surveyed to choose placement of your house. Although you can do this any time prior to excavation, you also may want to consider getting soil boring tests done. This will ensure that the soil is adequate for building a home on.
For simplicity sake, lets say you’re building in a rural area with no city water and no city sewer. Once you clear the lot you may want to consider drilling your well. If problems arise while drilling your well at this time, it will be cheaper to troubleshoot. Drilling a well before the project starts benefits all of the contractors that will be working on the house. Access to water is a great luxury to have.
Next, you need somewhere for human waste and for this, you will need a septic tank. A septic field starts with an excavated hole, and ends with a tank inserted into that hole. Tank sizes may vary. Technically your septic can be installed at any time during construction. I prefer the septic to be installed towards the end of the project. Your septic field cannot handle the weight of heavy trucks and machinery driving over it. To play it safe and to avoid potential issues, I recommend waiting until the interior finishes are being done.
Note: Building requirements differ depending on your location. Always have your builder call your local building department to verify the steps in building your home. For example, you may not be able to drill a well before excavation.
Construction of your home:
Your general contractor is responsible for scheduling the subcontractors to ensure the job moves swiftly. Improper scheduling can cause a delay through the entire project. Some jobs may be started ahead of others to prevent delays and for that reason, the list below is not in any specific order.
Permits: Proper permits are to be pulled prior to carrying out work. Check your local building department for a list of permits to be pulled.
Excavation: Always call before you dig! If your house will have a basement, it will be excavated at this time. A crew will bring an excavation machine and power equipment to pile the soil away from the hole.
Foundation: At this time, your footings and basement walls are installed and put into place.
Framing: The framing is done at this point. The framing crew frames the house, sheathes the floor deck(s), roof deck(s), and the walls and also installs the house wrap.
Mechanical: If these trades cannot carry out work at the same time, they can be done rather quickly. These trades are plumbing, HVAC, and electrical. Typically your HVAC would come first, then plumbing, then electrical.
Windows & Doors: While the mechanical trades are working indoors, the rough carpenters install exterior doors and windows and complete any details regarding the house framing.
Insulation: Check your location building department for insulation requirements. Some local codes require your basement to be insulated or a vapor barrier. At this time the basement (if necessary), the walls, and the ceiling will be insulated.
Interior Finishing: All interior finishes include wood trim, cabinets, fireplace(s), flooring material, shower and tub surrounding materials, counter tops, etc. Typically the floor tile is installed first, then the trim & cabinetry is installed on top of it to provide a cleaner look.
Finished Mechanical Trades: Electricians can install receptacles, switches, cover plates, light fixtures, etc. Plumbers can install all plumbing fixtures, toilets, sinks, etc.
Clean up & Punch-list: Once the house is complete, it needs to be cleaned of all left over building material, scraps, dust, and dirt. Along with that, comes a punch-list. A punch-list is a list that the builder and the home owner have come up with that has any final touches that need to be done to the house.
For more specific questions regarding building a new home, or if you’re interested in building a new home – click here.