Many home buyers have many questions about the construction of their home: How long will it take to build it? What happens then? When we visit the site and see our home in progress? What does each step involve? When do we need to make final decisions on fixtures, cabinets, flooring, etc.? When is a building inspected? Will we get a chance to inspect ourselves before we take over? You can check frequently asked questions here.
Here's an outline of today's typical construction process for a single-family home. Note that this is a generalized description—your home builder may use a different approach. For multi-family buildings and large condominiums, a separate construction process is usually involved, and you should ask about specific construction times for that development.
The process and schedule will also be affected by the style and size of the home; a multiple; construction techniques used; the amount of customization required; Number of municipal inspections; Whether the home is in a major development; Availability of labor and many other factors. Ask your builder to explain the process/steps to your home.
Phase One: Pre-construction
Before any construction starts, plans for your home are developed, finalized and submitted to the municipal building permit office for review. Permits may be required for all or some of the following: electrical, building, plumbing, septic systems and sewer connections.
Before this, a multiple site tests can be conducted to check the water table, soil and soil carrying capacity and carry out environmental tests. With this information, final engineering adjustments can be made to the plans.
Phase Two: Foundation
The land is prepared by leaving your house. Often, topsoil is removed and piled elsewhere for later use. Excavation is done, and footings (concrete slabs to support foundation walls) are prepared and poured. Water, electricity, telephone and cable services can be brought in at this time.
Foundation walls are erected (for example, temporary wooden forms can use poured concrete or permanently insulated blocks, concrete blocks or protected timber). The foundation can be insulated and damp-proofed. Drainage is installed to keep soil moisture away from the house. Foundations may be municipally inspected prior to backfilling the outside perimeter.
At this point, the builder may ask you to start making your choices—deciding on flooring, cabinets, tiles, etc. These items will take weeks to install, but they need to be ordered early to avoid delays later.
Phase Three: Framing
External walls, internal partitions and roof are assembled. This usually means erecting the framing skeleton and putting on the outer sheathing; Or another framing technique can be used.
After the house is completely framed, doors and windows are installed. The builder intends to move to a closed "lock-up" as soon as possible to protect the structure from the elements.
The basement floor is installed. Electrical and plumbing services are roughed in and ducted for heating, cooling and ventilation.
At this time, your municipality may require a structural inspection to ensure the home meets all building code requirements. Electrical and plumbing inspections are also likely to be performed.
Phase Four: Interior and exterior work
For the next several weeks, there will be a lot of work inside and outside, much of it at once.
The exterior walls and roof are insulated, and a vapor barrier is applied. Another municipal inspection can be done to make sure this work is done properly before the drywall is installed. Heating and cooling systems are installed with fireplaces.
Walls and ceilings are painted, kitchen and bathroom cabinets are installed and flooring is laid. Electrical fixtures and plumbing are placed, trim is applied, and interior doors are hung.
Siding is applied to the exterior with eavestrophing and porches and decks are installed. Final lot grading is done, and driveways and walkways are laid.
A number of additional municipal inspections may occur—for example, to inspect stairs, railings, and other health and safety related items after interior completion and/or exterior final grading. Plumbing and electrical work may need a final inspection.
During this period, your builder will be in regular contact with you, updating you on progress and meeting deadlines for choosing finishes and other decisions you need to make.
Phase Five: From near-completion to hand-over
At this point, your builders and crews are busy finishing the finishing touches and cleaning up. You will be asked to take a tour of your home with the builder. Any last minute touch-ups will be done. On the date of possession, you will be handed the keys - the house is now yours!