The Process
of Home Construction
A Pictorial Overview

This is a pictorial overview to Home Construction. I am going to walk you through the process. I have also placed in bold type each Trade (contractor)that was involved in each segment of the building process. I have to limit the number of pictures to keep the pages from getting too large.


   
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You may notice in the pictures that we started home construction in the winter, and finished in the summer. We had a total of 9 months of construction, and 2 of rain. Yes, it rained non-stop as soon as we got our financing. Weather is one of the reasons that I suggest you go for the longest duration you can on your home construction loan, as long as the terms are the same.

I have concentrated my pictures on the outside of the house during home construction. I wanted to give more of the basic structure than the finishing. Let' get started!

Home Construction 1, the road construction begins


Most of us do not think a road is any big deal, Right? Wrong! I found out real quick that it was a major concern in home construction. You must have a good road to get materials and trucks in with dirt, concrete etc... Find yourself a good dirt and excavation contractor that is a road building expert and he will bring in the right material so your road is passable in all weather conditions. If it is not, you are going to suffer serious delays in your home construction project.

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Home Construction 2, Septic System Installation


We put our septic system in before the pad, because it was easier to access the site to install it prior, to home construction. Usually it is put in later in the home construction process so nobody runs over it and destroys anything. If you are not on city water, and sewer you are going to need a well, and a septic system. Most counties require a permit. When you apply for the permit they will supply you with a list of licensed Septic System installers, if you ask. In our county we had to have a septic plan done by a certified septic system designer then apply for the permit. Then it was installed, and inspected. It is not that complicated, your local county will walk you through it.

Home constrcution 3, the pad is built for home construction


Dirt is not cheap! You would think it would be. Nope! We brought in 106 loads to build up our pad prior to home construction. We had the pad built then we had it core sampled by a soil testing service. The soil testing service gave us a report and we sent it to a civil engineer for recommendations for the foundation prior to home construction.

Home Construction 4, The peiers go in


We live down south where the soil has a high consistency of clay so we put in Bell Bottom Piers below the slab to give it stability. We put one at every intersecting footer and every nine feet under the supporting walls as recommended by the civil engineer for our home construction.

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Home Constrcution 5, the forms are in for the foundation.

Home construction 6, The plumbing is in the forms

Home construction 7, the steel is in the foundation


These are a pictures of the foundation forms prior to pouring the concrete. As you will notice, the Plumber has put in his piping below the pour. The electrician has also put the conduit for the kitchen island, and floor plugs in the great room.

You will also notice all of the steel that we put in the foundation. In our area, one of the largest home repair industries is foundation repair. Why you ask? Good Question!

Our area also has the highest use of post tension foundations for home construction. Post tension foundations use far less steal rebar in the foundation. The method uses steal cables that are placed in the foundation before the pour, and after the concrete sets up they then tension the cables to give the foundation strength. Unless it is done just right you have problems. The problems are cracking and settling that shows up many years later, and guess who pays then? Your right! The homeowner you, or me. The Builder, has no liability after several years. So why would a builder use this method, you ask? Outstanding Question again! Because it is cheaper method of home construction, that's why!

One more point; I would suggest when you are choosing your concrete contractor bid the foundation project turnkey. In other words ask for his price for a completed foundation according to your specifications. Why? Many people told me to buy my own materials, and hire the different crafts, to do my foundation. That I would save money in the long run. I would have to hire a form framing or set crew a form fill crew to dig the footers and form the dirt so the concrete guys could put the steel in and then pour. I would have to coordinate all the materials to be on site and on time then get each one of these crews to do it. This also is contingent that it does not rain in the process.

Sounds like a pain doesn't it? I decided to take the easy road and turnkey bid the project. My concrete guy was pouring when I was in grade school so he was competent, and I did my Research and found a good one. He lined everything up on his end, the only thing I had to line up was bringing in the plumber and the electrician to put in anything that went in the foundation or ground. Once that was done the concrete guy took over and did his thing.

After the fill dirt was in and the forms set and everything was ready to pour, guess what happened? Yep, It came a 4-inch rain and washed it all away. Guess who had to pay to fix it? Not me, the concrete guy! Remember I bid it turnkey. That means he does not get any money until I have a completed foundation.


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Home Construction 8, The concrete pumper truck

Home construction 9, the foundation is poured

Home construction 10, the foundation is finished


Now we are ready to pour the foundation. This one is pretty self-explanatory. I put a shot of the concrete pumper truck and the concrete guys at work. It was really great watching these guys work!

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Home construction 11, framing the top floor

Home construction 12, framing the bottom floor

Home construction 13, framing the front of the house

Home construction 14, framing the garage


Framing my favorite part of Home Construction! Why? Because it is when your house starts to look like a house. Another reason to love it is, you get to see the shape of your dream home. It also goes up very fast. They had the whole place framed in 3 weeks by the framing carpenters.

A couple of points to remember here. Keep a close eye on the progress, use your plans, and measure to see if everything is where it should be. If something is a couple of inches off do not have a coronary. Do have one if it is a doorway or a window opening. They don't look too good with a gap in them.

If you do you RESEARCH prior to home construction you will find a good Framer. Remember the Building Contractor page. If not, go look and come back here, I have more home construction to show you.

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One more thing that is important that I don't think I have mentioned is get to know your contractors doing your home construction. No! This is not Research! Well it is sort of, but what I mean is really get to know them. Your crew will have a foreman, get to know him, ask questions and get his opinion. Bring them a cold drink, buy some donuts, show some good will. Believe me they are not used to it. The General Contractors usually treat these guys like dirt. So it pays to be different, why?

I got to know my Framing Foreman, and he had no problem approaching me about anything (related to the job). The basis of this trust started right after they had put the floor decking down for the second floor. I measured one of the closets, and it was longer than it should be. I asked him if he could explain. He looked at the plans and apologized, and said they would tear out the flooring and make it right. We had another look at it, and then decided why not make an additional small closet instead of waste the material. So later we added a door and it is now a hot water heater closet. I had bought that material for my home construction and he had wasted it. So maybe I should have gone nuts, and made him pay.

Later on in the framing the Foreman came and asked me to come up in the attic above the master bedroom. He showed me how with just a little material I could have a room measuring 22' x 14'. He had already figured the additional cost of lumber, and just wanted to know if I wanted to do it. Let's see a giant room for $1500 dollars of lumber (it costs more for the other materials to finish it but not much) you bet I did. They knocked it out in a couple of hours and it is now my media room upstairs. The point is the Contractors will help you with your home construction, if you are approachable. Get to know them, and listen to them. These guys know home construction, and they are building your house!


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Home Construction 15, the cornice work


Now we are moving ahead with our home construction, we have the windows in, roof decking done, the felt down on the roof, and the cornice done (cornice is the siding, facial boards, soffit and outside trim). My framer also had a cornice crew that came in after the framing was done.

The cornice guys, are very different than framers. They are finishing the outside of the house. The framers are putting up sticks at an alarming rate. The cornice goes slower, because it must fit right, and look good.

One very good reason to have the framers and the cornice people work for the same contractor on your home construction is, one directly follows the other. If the framing is not right, the windows won't fit properly, and the cornice won't go on right. If it doesn't, they go back to the other crew, and it get's corrected.

One quick note on windows. Windows are one of your biggest expenses in home construction. Do your homework, and find a regional manufacturer of windows, and buy from them. Unless you want really high end windows, you can save as much as 50% by going directly to the factory. Do it the same way as you did your other materials for home construction, get a bid from your plans. They deliver right to your house, and most of them have a 5-year warranty.

Home construction 16, firebox set


Now we will spend a little time on inside home construction. This is a picture of a firebox in the study that has been set. We used a separate contractor to set the firebox's . Many of the insulation contract companies will do both setting the fireboxes and insulating the house. We are not ready for insulation yet, we have to top out the plumbing, rough wire the house, and rough in the Heating and Air Conditioning.

Home construction 17, plumbing rough

Home construction 18, HVAC rough

Home construction 19, electric rough


Now we are getting all the guts of the systems of the house put in, plumbing piping, rough electrical wiring, and Heating and Air Conditioning duct work.

It is to be noted here that all three of these crafts are trying to get their part of the home construction done at the same time. You certainly want them to get done as soon as they can because the home construction loan interest clock is ticking. That means they are all in each others space and it can be circus sometimes. They tend to whine about the other one getting in the way. Just give them a little cheese with their whine! Sorry, couldn't resist!


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Home construction 20, paint


Now we are back outside of our home construction and this is right after we had the outside painted by the painting contractor. A couple of notes here. I did my RESEARCH and found a good painter for the outside. So what could go wrong?

A little story for your amusement is in order. My wife was watching the painters on her day off, thank God. She had picked the color at the paint store and given them the paint chip number and the paint she wanted.

By the way, spend the money for the highest quality paint. You don't want to do it again in 3 years. All the General Contractors will slip cheap paint in and it will fail quickly. Good paint lasts a long time. Labor is far more expensive than paint!

Ok, back to the story. The painters took their paint chip index in and handed it to the paint store guy and said give me this color. The paint store guy put the index example in his machine, you know the one that you can match any color in the world using the computer. He then mixed up 25 gallons of the stuff and the painters brought it back. They preceded to put it on the house. My wife called me at work in horror, she said, "the painters have painted half the house and it is the wrong color" so I got in the car and went to investigate. Of course when I got there the painters were at a full stop and confused.

The part of the house they had painted was a washed out white ugly gray nasty color. We had picked a regal gray. OK, what gives! What had happened is my wife had picked the color at the paint store and given the painter the number of the paint and the type of paint. The painter proceeded to pick up his color index off the dash of his truck that had been in the sun for 5 years and handed the matching color number to the paint store attendant. The problem with the chip was it had faded to a terrible white color and the computer did it's job and duplicated it.

It was not funny at the time but it is now. What can you learn from this? Buy the paint yourself and you don't have any miscommunication. Another good reason as told to my wife by one of the paint store guys is as follows: Some of the unscrupulous painters will buy cheaper paint and put it in empty buckets of the good paint. You think you are getting the good stuff. So buy it yourself and ask for the buckets when they are done. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on them while they work at least until they get a good start.

Of course if you do you Research and find the good ones you can relax somewhat. But, what have I said over and over. Knowledge is power, so get the power, study and learn. Go to the Knowledge Center and check it out!

Building Knowledge Center

Home construction 21, The roofing goes on.


At his stage of home construction we put on the roofing. We choose composition because it is durable and I didn't want to pay for a metal roof. Clearly the metal would last longer, but I like the way the architectural composition looks, and it was 50% less. One note about roofing make sure you get a good roofing company with a good warranty. In other words do your Research. There he goes again!

The warranty is especially important if you have a roof with complicated angles and many valleys. We do, and we have had a couple of leaks. We could have gone with the low bid Roofer but choose a company with a good reputation and a 5 year warranty, it has paid off!

One more quick thing about the home construction process. We decided to paint the outside before putting on the roof. The reason is simple, to avoid over spray from the painters. One thing you must do is felt the roof as soon as the decking goes down. Then paint the outside and get the roof down as quickly as possible. Felt alone will leak if given enough time.


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Home construction 22, the cultured stone goes up.


Now we put on the stone. We choose cultured stone because it does not weigh as much. Weight is a key factor in foundation construction. The more weight the more you have to put in the foundation. Oh, you need a Masonary contractor to do this. Do your Research!

Ok! Let's talk about the inside for a few minutes and then I must finish up. I will add some more pictures later if you want me to of the inside, but for now you have a good overview of the process. For more information on home construction go to the Building Knowledge Center. We have put many resources there for you to educate yourself.

Building Knowledge Center

The interior is where things slow down in home construction. The finish work seems to take forever. After the rough in of electrical, plumbing and heating and air conditioning you are ready for insulation in the walls. The attic insulation comes later after most every thing is done up there. If you have your Air Handlers for your Heating and Air Conditioning units up there that all must be finished prior to insulation. It is a good idea to have all that done and check the drains for leaks on the units prior to insulation. Leaks are easier to find before all that fluffy itchy stuff is in your way.

Now it is time for sheet rock, or other wall cover that you choose. Sheet rock is by far cheaper. After the sheet rock contractor is finished you can paint the inside. Once the paint is done, your are ready for all your trim and cabinets using a trim carpenter. Now you are ready for the flooring contractor. Once your flooring is down you can bring the plumber back to install the fixtures, toilets etc.... One quick note on the home construction process: do any carpet or wood flooring last, or it will not hold up. After this you bring in the electrician to do his trim out, lights fixtures wall plates etc....

After you finish the interior you will need to clean up the outside and have some dirt brought in and spread. Then on to the landscaping contractor....

I hope you get the picture of how home construction is all a progression. Pick out some good books in the Knowledge Center and learn the home construction process. Like I said, on the Home Page if a regular guy like me can do it just think what somebody as smart as you can do!




For more Information on Building Your Own Home Go to Our Building Knowledge Center.




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