Planning the Plan
I know how it feels to be excited about a project, but to make sure that project goes smoothly, your excitement must not override the need to thoroughly pre-plan. This includes going into the process with a reasonable budget to pay for every stage of construction (and every stage of that stage!).
You should put your budget (what you want to spend) and have your contractors’ projected costs (what they are going to spend and charge you) in writing, in as much detail as possible. Even if you’re in a position where money is no object, a budget and lists of costs will keep everyone to plan and be a valuable reference document if and when costs must be adapted to suit unexpected circumstances. It could even protect you from incompetent or unscrupulous contractors letting costs (and their profits) creep sneakily up and up.
The other precious commodity you must budget is time. Back in the dark ages when my clever husband used to fix glitches in our home computer, I noticed that the amount of time he thought it would take and the amount of time it actually took differed sizeably. Experience taught me to assume the computer would be unavailable for about three times longer than he thought it would take: twenty minutes, you say? I’ll do something else for an hour, then. Worked well. Machine got fixed and there was no bickering. Well, less bickering.
A wise estimate of your project’s duration, based on thorough experience, is one of the most valuable things a contractor can provide you. Building a house is going to be a major upheaval in your life. Poor time-management shouldn’t cause it to interfere with your son’s wedding, your dream vacation, your new job, any important event a protracted construction project could mess up.
These two factors form major parts of the Pre-Construction phase of building your new home. This phase includes drawing up the architectural plans for the house and obtaining all building permits required. You may also need tests on your actual building site and subsequent adjustments to the architectural plan.
From the Ground Up, Literally
After pre-construction planning is done, your house will come to life in roughly this order:
- Preparing the site: topsoil excavation and removal; concrete footings installed to bear the foundation walls.
- Foundation: Foundation walls poured, usually concrete poured into wooden forms. Drainage installed to keep the foundation dry.
There may be the first municipal inspection at this point in the process. And now the contractor may be asking you to decide on finishes – tiles, counters, cabinets, etc., – to allow time for their ordering and delivery.
- Framing: walls and roof built and windows and doors installed. Your contractor wants to get the house protected from the elements as soon as possible. Plumbing, HVAC, and electrical ducting are roughed-in. Basement floor is built. Likely the city will conduct a structural inspection at this point.
- Interior Work: walls and roof are insulated and a vapour barrier installed. Heating and cooling systems installed. Surfaces are painted. Flooring is laid and cabinets and fixtures installed in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- At the same time there will be loads of Exterior Work: wrapping and siding put on outer walls and eavestroughs against the roof. Porches, decks, and exterior stairs built, as well as walkways and driveways. Your lot will be graded: sloped to direct water away from the house to an exterior drain.
Several more inspections will take place throughout these last couple of stages, for example to check the safety of staircases and of plumbing and electrical systems. Final lot grading will be inspected as well.
- Walk-Through and Handover: your contractor will tour the home with you and note any last-minute adjustments or details that need fixing. After these are taken care of, the moment you have waited for for so long will arrive: possession day! Your contractor will give you the keys and you can live in your new home!
Guides for the Journey
Most of the time we just live in our houses. We take for granted the hundreds of detailed tasks that need to be carried out properly to provide us homes that function seamlessly, as we expect them to. This maze of meticulous detail is best navigated by seasoned experts in the field, so our house of dreams doesn’t become a house of cards. The team at Reid Developments can guide you through every stage and make your new home a complete hit!