Guest post by Alair Homes Collingwood
Building a custom home may be the most challenging and complicated process you’ll encounter, and one that involves a good deal of communication and coordination from the moment the process starts to its finish. The project involves many specialists and disciplines, from designers and the general contractor to the subcontractors who build the home.
Custom home builders create one-of-a-kind homes that offer an even greater range of design choices that are often built on a single lot. Buyers who wish to choose all the detailing of their new home often decide to work with a custom home builder. Besides securing the approvals and permits for a custom home, a home builder must manage all aspects of the home building process. They must manage all the local inspections and approvals, along with incorporating all the design elements you want for your dream home.
Once your site has been cleared and graded, the contractor will dig the footings for the foundation. If your home includes a basement, they’ll excavate it using a backhoe. When the footings have been placed, concrete is poured into the forms and it’s left to cure. When work resumes, the crew will install the water and sewer lines, along with any plumbing used on the first level of the home. They’ll wrap the foundation with a moisture barrier to keep water from entering the foundation. Once the inspector from your local jurisdiction signs off on the foundation, the team will remove the forms.
The floor joists, walls, and roofing are completed next and the builder will cover the exterior framing with OSB (oriented strand board) or plywood to complete the home’s shell. The framers fortify the walls for the windows and door openings to support the extra load these areas carry. Then they’ll apply a house wrap to prevent moisture from entering that could cause warping, wood rot, or mold growth.
Wiring, Plumbing and HVAC
This phase of the construction process is a bit more complicated, since the plumbers, electricians and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractors place the pipes, wires and ductwork throughout the structure. Pipes and wires are run through the floors and walls, and the HVAC ducts are placed, connected and tightly sealed. It’s likely that the plumbers and HVAC technicians will precede the electricians, since wires bend easily around pipes and ductwork.
Your jurisdiction will require an inspection of the framing, plumbing, wiring and HVAC installation to verify that they meet the local code requirements. Much of it centers around building safety, but in some cities, the inspectors may review the plumbing and HVAC installations for energy conservation. Both the distribution of hot water pipes and the integrity of the ductwork for the HVAC system affect indoor energy consumption.
Insulation and Drywall Installation
Before the final phases of construction take place, the builder puts in the wall, floor and attic insulation. Specialists hang the drywall, tape and texture it before applying a coat of primer.
At this point, the cabinetry, flooring, trim and doors go in, and your home starts to take shape, especially after all the plumbing fixtures and appliances are in place. Work progresses on the exterior that includes completion of the siding and the exterior trim. The outdoor hard surfaces like driveways, sidewalks and patio slabs are poured, and the landscaping installed.
Certificate of Occupancy
Once complete, your home receives a final inspection from the city, and if all is well, they’ll issue a final certificate of occupancy that indicates it’s met all the health and safety standards. This certificate allows the local utility providers to put the services in your name.
Your builder will walk you through your new custom home to familiarize you with its features and the functions of the internal systems. They will explain your responsibilities as the homeowner for maintenance as well as warranty coverage and procedures. You and your builder will conduct a final walk through of your new home and it’s your responsibility to ask them to correct any problems you see, so be observant.
The Right Custom Home Builder
Working with a custom home builder who’ll construct your home to your desired specs is the most integral of steps to your new home. Define your needs when looking for the right builder. Some builders might specialize in a specific type of home, price range, or style. Make sure the experience is there as well, or at least has seasoned pros on the team. Builders sometimes offer customer references, so see if you can follow up and ask about their experience. Another important factor to consider is the warranty that is provided. We suggest looking for structural warranties that last at least 5 years. Lastly, look at the quality of the people who work for the custom home builder. Make sure they listen carefully, provide informative answers, and are prompt and professional.
If you already have a plot of land or are working with a realtor to find a desirable spot for your custom home, knowing the basics beforehand is a good start. We hope this general outline of the standard steps of building a custom home has been informative and has allowed you to get a grasp of the totality of your custom home building project.
This guest post was brought to you by Alair Homes Collingwood, a local custom home builder offering a unique approach to home building and pricing.
Marg Scheben-Edey is a Broker with RE/MAX four seasons realty limited, Brokerage in beautiful Collingwood, ON. With three decades of experience, Marg is a leader in the local real estate marketplace and is ready to help guide both Buyers and Sellers in achieving their real estate goals. Email Marg