Building Your Custom Home: Phases of Construction Explained
If you have recently decided to pursue a new home build, you are probably wondering what to expect in the coming months during the construction phase of your project. Most of our clients anticipate their build process being full of exciting moments, milestones, and significant visual changes to your home structure. Although there are various phases of the construction process that do look like this, when large parts of your home are being built like the foundation, walls, roof, and drywall. 75% of your project will look less glamorous than those big, shiny moments we all envision our building process to look like. You will notice drastic progress during the first quarter of your build, and the remaining ¾ happen in small increments that eventually result in a completed home that you can enjoy for years to come.
This blog post is intended to help you prepare and understand the various phases of the construction process and provide tips to ensure that you can enjoy your experience when building your custom home.
Phase 1: General Requirements/Site Preparation
The first phase of construction involves preparing the homesite for the installation of the foundation. This includes obtaining the appropriate permits, clearing the lot of any unwanted trees, shrubs, and brush. Removing any large rocks or boulders along with grading the lot to ensure you have proper drainage and a flat home site. And lastly performing the layout and digging of footers and the foundation.
This phase of construction can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the size, complexity, and style of foundation your project team has deemed appropriate for your home. This timeline is also dependent on availability of subcontractors and building materials.
Tips for Phase 1:
Choose a reputable builder who has experience building in your specific area and can guide you through the process.
Work with your builder and project team to finalize floor plans and building footprint before you start this phase of construction to limit any unwarranted delays or costs.
Visit your homesite a couple times during this phase. You will begin to see where your home will sit on the lot, and can envision your future home more easily.
Phase 2: Foundation
During the second phase of construction you will see the foundation begin to take shape. This phase involves forming up the foundation walls and slab, adding reinforcement to the concrete, and pouring concrete to create a solid base for your new home. Your home foundation could be a slab-on-grade, crawl space, basement, or any combination of those depending on your design and budget. The foundation phase also involves installing drainage systems, waterproofing, and slab insulation.
This phase of construction usually takes about 2-5 weeks depending on the weather and complexity of your design.
Tips for Phase 2:
Pay close attention to the quality of finish that is installed on your foundation slabs, you may notice the contractors cutting your slab with a saw to reduce the chances of cracking over time.
Speak to your builder and architect about any above-grade foundation walls and how you would like those to be finished. Stucco, veneer, stains, and painting are all various options to make your foundation walls look more appealing.
Pay close attention to the weather during this phase, as your builder will be doing the same. Temperature, precipitation, and soil conditions will all affect the timeline and quality of your foundation.
Phase 3: Framing, Windows, and Exterior Doors
The third phase of construction is surely one of the most satisfying and rewarding phases. During this phase you will begin to see your home come out of the ground and take its final shape. You will see your floors, walls, and roof be constructed from various building materials. This phase also includes installing your windows and exterior doors, sheathing, roofing materials, siding, and other various masonry/cladding.
This phase traditionally takes anywhere from 1-4 months. This can vary depending on weather, material availability, and contractor availability. This phase of your home build includes roughly 40-50% of your overall project scope.
Phase 3 Tips:
Review your floor plan and design specifications as the walls start to take shape. Now would be the time to make any last minute changes if you do not like what you see.
Visit your home site a couple times during this phase to get a feel for what your new home will feel and look like.
Consider hiring a third party inspector to do a framing inspection in order to ensure that the framing is done correctly, and is free of defects.
Phase 4: HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical
This phase involves installing the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), plumbing, and electrical systems. This includes running all of the wires, duct work, pipes, outlets, switches, fixtures, and appliances through the walls, floor and ceiling of your new home.
This phase can take 1-2 months depending on the size of your home, material availability, schedule coordination, and interior designer specifications.
Phase 4 Tips:
Work with you builder to spec the most appropriate HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems for your home based on your needs, preferences, and budget.
Consider adding smart features to your home infrastructure such as thermostats, security system, internet, tv cables, cameras, lighting controls, and speakers.
Ensure that you do multiple site visits during this time to ensure that the location of all outlets, switches, and other systems are in the correct locations. Think about interior furniture locations, and A/V system layouts.
Phase 5: Insulation & Drywall
During the fifth phase of construction on your home you will see the walls, ceilings and floors be filled with various types of insulation and then covering those spaces with drywall, paneling, tile, or other wall coverings. Your builder will use either fiberglass, cellulose, foam, or mineral wool insulation in varying spaces throughout your home.
Insulating your home also includes air sealing, vapor control, and ventilation management depending on your climate zone, and outdoor/indoor air quality preferences.
Drywall installation involves hanging the sheetrock, taping all of the corners and joints, installing finished corner beads, and installing the drywall mud to be sanded and painted.
This phase of construction usually can last between 2-4 weeks depending on humidity, temperature, and any changes requested by your project team members. This phase begins the fine-finishes of your home and may seem like they are taking longer than needed. However, keep in mind that these are the steps that you will look at for the rest of your time in this home.
Phase 5 Tips:
Consider adding sound proof insulation or drywall between bathrooms, bedrooms, and common spaces.
Choose the best insulation for your climate zone, energy efficiency goals, and budget. Your builder can help you make the right decisions about energy efficiency and comfort controlling materials.
There are various levels of finish when installing drywall. You will want either level 4 or level 5. Level 5 includes skim-coats of drywall mud to ensure a perfectly smooth surface. This is a great option for areas with lots of natural lights and large walls.
Phase 6: Interior & Exterior Finishes
The seventh phase is when the finishing touches will be installed on your new home. These finishes are what create the feel, style, and comfort of your home. This phase includes flooring, cabinets, countertops, appliances, fixtures, lighting fixtures, doors, trim, paint, and tile. The exterior finishes may include walkways, driveways, landscaping, decks, patios, and other features.
This phase can take 4-10 weeks. This depends largely on the quality of materials chosen, size, and availability of products. Your interior designer should manage the ordering and specification of all your interior finishes.
Phase 6 Tips:
Work alongside your builder and interior designer to choose the finishes that reflect your personal style and preferences.
Have fun with the decorating process by adding personal touches like color, texture, artwork, furniture, and fixtures.
Perform a walkthrough to ensure that all of the finishes are satisfactory, as these are what you will see for the life of your residence.
Phase 7: Final Walk-Through & Closeout
The seventh and final phase of construction is conducting the final walk through and punch list for your builder. This involves inspecting all aspects of your new home build for accuracy, quality, and correctness. You will walk through your home with the builder and interior designer to check all rooms, systems, and features for any and all issues that need to be addressed before handing over the keys.
This phase also includes warranty registration, manuals, maintenance instructions, and closing documents with your builder, bank, or other project team members.
The last phase of construction should take anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks depending on how thorough your builder has performed work, and how many issues are present.
Phase 7 Tip:
Prepare a checklist along the way of items to inspect during your final walkthrough. Mention large items as you notice them to allow the builder to work on those as they arise. You may research online resources or consult with your builder to create a comprehensive list.
By now you’ve had the opportunity to see your home come to life phase-by-phase. This is a complex, and exciting process that can cause some stress and anxiety. However, creating healthy relationships with your project team members, especially your builder, will help you manage this process with ease and enjoyment. Trust the process, and enjoy the experience.
Chapman Building Company specializes in constructing high-performing and sustainable custom homes that create a healthy and comfortable space for you and your family. Your home should be a safe haven where you have the ability to rest, play, and grow with family and friends. We have experience with full-service construction, progressive building techniques, and pre-construction planning. Our team is passionate about high quality construction, client relationship development, and our impact on the environment, community, and people we come in contact with every day. If you think we would be a good fit for your new custom home project we would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about that. Contact our team to learn more.
Chapman Building Company LLC