Spike's Calculators

Steps Involved in Building a House

Getting Started

When building a house, ideally, the weather will be perfect, all the materials will arrive on time and intact, and the tradespeople will be ready and on time. Unfortunately, these are rare occasions. The weather could take a turn for the worse, materials could be late or items missing, the electrician held up at another job, or many other things that can go wrong. The point is that building a house can be a chaotic event. Look at it as gambling, it takes a lot of effort and money, but there are no guarantees everything will go perfect. Sometimes you win, and other times you lose. We have attempted to do this website to give you a step-by-step guide to building a house and some idea of what each step involves. While certain things must happen before others, like the foundation goes in before the roof, you may complete some of the steps in a different order without creating too many problems. In other words, look at this site as a general guide to construction.

1. Financing

For most of us, before you start anything, you might want to talk to your bank or mortgage company to make sure you can get the money needed to complete the house. You need to know how much is available before you start looking at building your home. And more often than not, you will have to deal with a cost overrun. It is a common fact that you will need more money than you planned on using! Having to take out a second mortgage to complete the project is not a good plan!

  • Don't forget to budget for the driveway, sidewalks, landscaping, fencing, blinds and maybe even some new furniture or appliances.

2. Plans

You could either find a suitable building lot and then a plan to suit the lot, or if money is not a problem and you have your heart set on a specific plan, first get your plans and then a lot to suit the plan.

  • Before you choose a plan, take into account your lifestyle and your budget. It is very easy to go over budget or choose a plan that looks ideal on paper but does not suit your family.
  • There are many design books on the market or you could hire an architect or a home designer to design a house for you.
  • Make sure you have enough copies of your plan, 10 would be nice. Your building permit will take 2 or 3 copies and you will probably have to leave a plan at your place of lending. That leaves you with 6 or 7 copies left. Many of the sub-trades need a plan to price out their work, make sure you remember who has a plan and get it back when they are finished with it.
  • Most subdivisions will require a set of plans.

3. Subdivision

The developers often control many aspects of what goes into their subdivision. You must decide if their building scheme is within your budget and lifestyle. Most subdivisions will have to approve your building plan before you can apply for a building permit.

  • A building scheme is when the subdivision owners or the city have placed restrictions on the type, color, roof-style, size, basically, it could include anything to do with the house or the lot. Some subdivisions have many restrictions and others have none

4. Lot

Put an offer on the lot, and make it subject to financing and in certain subdivisions, subject to the building scheme.

Building lot

Read more about Purchasing the Right Property

5. Estimates

Get cost estimates from all the sub trades needed to complete the job.

  • Make sure that you get several quotes from each sub-trade, at least 3 or more, stick to REPUTABLE companies and you will be able to ELIMINATE a lot of problems afterward. Compare all the quotes to make sure they include the same materials and work, and of course the quality of the material. Cheaper is not always better. Have the material list checked by someone who knows a little about it. Do not be afraid to ask questions.

6. Financing and Insurance

Arrange suitable financing.

  • Your mortgage provider will require that appropriate insurance is in place at the start of the construction and you will want to make sure that your home is protected in case of fire, theft and other problems that can affect the value of your home.

7. Building permit

After the subdivision developer has approved your plan, take your plans to your local "Building Authority" to start the building permit application.

  • A Plot Plan is a drawing of how and where your house will be placed on the lot.
  • Depending on the time of year and how busy they are it could take from 2 to 6 weeks before the permit is ready to be picked up.
  • When you receive your building permit, you will receive a list of conditions that must be met. Example: some beams must be engineered or the soil must be tested.

8. Getting Organized

While you are waiting for the permit, you have time to organize and start arranging for the first sub-trades that you will need. Ensure that the sub-trades you have chosen to do the work fit into your schedule and time frame for completion of your home.

  • If you are your own General Contractor the first trades to contact are the Surveyors, Framing crew and Excavator.
  • Contact the electric company to get temporary power and if this takes to long, there is usually a friendly neighbor who will let you use their power for a small fee.
  • You should contact all the trades you have selected to confirm their availability and when confirming ask each trade during what stage of construction they need to come in to do their job.

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