10 Steps To New Construction: What You Can Expect
Few things are more exciting than having a newly constructed home. Watching it take form and shape on this parcel of land you personally chose is like watching life in motion. Every step in the process is designed to complete your beautiful new home quickly and safely. What exactly are the steps in this process though? What is happening at each phase of the construction as you eagerly drive by and try to see what has changed? The home construction process is a mystery no more with this handy breakdown of the 10 steps of building a new home.
1. Site Preparation and Laying the Foundation – This step is essentially “breaking ground” for your new home. The ground is leveled, wooden forms are constructed as a guideline for the foundation, any needed holes or trenches are dug and footings are installed. Footings are supportive structures placed where the house will meet the ground. Once those pieces are in place, the concrete is poured and set. Before the next phase of construction can begin, a city/county inspection is needed to ensure the foundation has been created according to building codes.
2. Rough Framing – The “rough framing” is the skeleton or shell of the home. It includes the floors, walls and roof systems. A waterproof barrier is applied to protect the framing from mold or rot caused by water damage.
3. Rough Mechanical Installation Begins – The mechanical parts of a home include the HVAC system, plumbing and electrical systems. Some of the components installed at this stage include sewer lines; water supply lines; pipes; plumbing for bathtubs, sinks, faucets, showers and drains; ventilation; HVAC ductwork; HVAC vent pipes; wiring throughout the home; install outlets, switches and some types of lighting; install lines for telephone, cable TV/internet and sound/security systems. Throughout this phase, there will be three more inspections to ensure various aspects of the mechanical systems are installed properly and meet building codes.
4. Insulation Installed – Depending on climate, local building codes and homeowner’s desire for energy efficiency, a number of different materials could be used as part of the insulation.
5. Drywalling – Drywall is installed throughout the home, seams are taped, any texture is applied and the first coat of paint primer is applied. Many builders also begin working on the exterior finish of the home during the drywalling step.
6. Interior Trim Installed – Interior trim is installed to complete much of the walling and related structures. The interior trim phase can include baseboards, window sills and frames, inside doors, moldings, cabinets, vanities, islands, fireplace mantels and stair balusters. The walls also get a fresh coat of paint during this phase. Note: Some builders will begin creating the exterior walkways and driveway during this phase while other builders will wait until after flooring and counter tops are installed.
7. Installation of Flooring and Counter tops – Flooring is installed throughout the home. Counter tops are installed in kitchen and bathrooms.
8. Mechanical System Completion and Related Finishing – During this step, the HVAC system is installed and ductwork connected. The system is tested and checked for any problems or leaks. Additionally, final electrical and plumbing items are installed and finished. These items include finishing of the wiring and installation of outlets, switches, lighting and installation of the electrical box/panel. Toilets, sinks and all faucets, drains, fixtures and final plumbing is installed during this phase as well.
9. Finishing Touches, Final Clean-up and Final Inspection – During this phase, any finishing touches are installed and touch-ups made before final clean-up and inspection. Items installed in this phase include mirrors, shower doors and any finishes to flooring and walls. While the final clean-up is happening inside, the finishing touches are made with landscaping and finishing up any last details on the exterior finish of the home. If the builder did not have the driveway and walkways poured during a previous step, they would do so now. Once this work is completed, the fifth and final inspection will take place where a building code inspector will verify the home meets all applicable building codes. Once the home passes this inspection, the inspector issues a certificate of occupancy (C.O.). This means it is safe for you to move in.
10. Walk-through with Builder – The builder will take you on a final walk-through of the home. They’ll show you any specific features you’ll need to know how to operate, they’ll go over the HVAC system with you, discuss warranties or guarantees, disclose your expected responsibilities for upkeep and maintenance so you can plan ahead and otherwise “introduce you” to your new home.
This general 10-step list is a handy guide to the process of building your new home. While we’ve noted in places where some builders may differ in approach, such as when they pour the driveway and walkways, our list of steps should give you a good idea of what is happening at every phase of construction. Watching your new home being built is such an exciting time! Now you have a sneak peek into how the process works, every step of the way. Welcome home!