Most home buyers have a lot of questions about the construction of their home: How long will it take to build? What happens when? What does each step involve? When can we visit the site and see our home in progress? When do we have to make final decisions about cabinets, fixtures, flooring and so on? When do building inspections take place? Will we have a chance to inspect it ourselves before we take possession?
Below is an outline of the typical construction process today keeping in mind your builder may use a different approach. The process and schedule will also be affected by the size and style of the house; the lot; the construction techniques used; the amount of customization required; the number of municipal inspections; whether the home is located in a large development; and availability of labour.
Before construction begins, 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 work.
Prior to this, a number of site tests may be conducted to examine the water table, the soil and the bearing capacity of the ground and to conduct environmental tests. With this information, final engineering adjustments can be made to the plans.
Your house is staked out and the land is prepared, with the topsoil removed, excavation is done, and the footings are formed and poured. At this time utilities may be brought in.
The foundation walls are erected and may be insulated and damp-proofed. Weeping tiles are installed to drain ground moisture away from the house. A municipal inspection of the foundation may be conducted before the outside perimeter is backfilled.
At this time, the builder may ask you to begin making your selections on flooring, tiles, cabinets, etc. While it will be weeks before these items are installed, they must be ordered early to prevent delays later.
Exterior walls, interior partitions and the roof are assembled. Frames are built on the floor, one wall at a time and then lifted in place. Roof trusses are often brought to the site ready for installation, and roofing is completed as quickly as possible. Windows and doors are installed. The builder’s aim is to get to “lock-up” as quickly as possible to protect the structure from the elements.
The basement floor is installed. Electrical and plumbing services are roughed in, and heating, cooling and ventilation duct work is installed.
The municipality will probably require a structural inspection to ensure that the home is being built according to building code requirements. Electrical and plumbing inspections will likely be conducted as well.
Interior and exterior work
For the next several weeks, a great deal of work will happen inside and out, much of it at the same time, or overlapping. Proper scheduling is key to smooth progress.
The exterior walls and the roof are insulated, and a vapour barrier is applied. Another inspection may take place to ensure this work has been done properly, before the drywall is installed. Heating and cooling systems are installed, including fireplaces.
Walls and ceilings are painted, flooring is laid, and kitchen and bathroom cabinets are installed. Plumbing and electrical fixtures are put in, trim is applied, and interior doors are hung.
Siding is applied on the outside, along with eavestroughing, and porches and decks are installed. Final lot grading is done, and the driveway and walkways are put in.
Several additional municipal inspections may occur. For instance, after completion of the interior to check stairs, handrails and other health and safety related items, and/or after final grading outside. Plumbing and electrical work will probably require final inspection.
During this period, your builder will update you on progress and discuss deadlines for selecting finishes and other decisions you may need to still make.
From near-completion to possession
At this point, your builder and crew are busy completing the final touches and cleaning up. You will be asked to do a walk-through of your home with your builder. Any last-minute touch-ups will be done, and then you will be handed the keys to your home.