The Build Lifecyle: What to Expect
Posted by Carolyn in Blog
The build lifecycle and what to expect can feel just like embarking on a long journey. And, like any long journey, ups and downs exist. It can feel like a roller-coaster ride for the home owner, and a mountain climb for the construction crew. However, with proper planning and effective communication (read hear about understanding your construction schedule), the journey can be smooth.
Above is a graph showing the stages and associated emotions of going through the build lifecycle. The green line is what the contractor feels throughout the process. The blue line is the homeowner’s experience. You will notice that the contractor’s line is a little more level. This is because they’ve been through the build lifecycle many times. A homeowner will often fluctuate between more highs and lows because they are less experienced.
At the start of any build, the homeowner experiences excitement as the design process kicks off. It is a time to be excited about what the contractor can offer, and and time to dream about what the project will be. This is where the importance of a design schedule comes into play in terms of understanding the build lifecycle. The design schedule is a calendar that can be referred back to in order to show exactly where the build is in the process, and to assure the homeowner that milestones are being met on time for their project.
The following are all the milestones in the build lifecycle that will appear in your design schedule:
- Preparation & Foundation
- Rough Framing
- Rough Ins: Plumbing, Electrical HVAC
- Drywall & Interior Fixtures, Exterior Finishes
- Interior Trim
- Flooring, Countertops
- Mechanical Trims & Bathroom Fixtures
- Mirrors, Shower Doors, Finish Flooring & Exterior Landscaping
- Substantial Completion
When beginning, there is generally a dip in excitement as the budget is hammered out. Then there is usually another dive after the signing of the contract. There are a number of reasons this happens. A couple of common examples are: The planning process can feel like it’s dragging (especially when submitting for all the required permits). It can also be difficult to wait for the moment when the project breaks ground. This in-between period is both anxiety-provoking and exciting all at the same time.
The First Steps
The first step in the build lifecycle is to dig the hole! After the hole comes the footings. After the footings the foundation walls come out of the ground and the floor goes on. The walls go up on the main floor, and then the roof.
In only a very short 1-2 months the shell of the building exists. This is the time where the homeowner will start to see all the site work and experience the hustle and bustle onsite. The homeowner’s excitement is also usually high at this time because it’s exciting to see progress from week-to-week.
The Middle Steps
After 1-2 months, the shell of the building exists, but this is when work slows down as the rough-ins stage begins. And during rough-ins the growth of the project is less visible. The shell may be done but now it’s necessary to do all the infrastructure work (e.g. the mechanical heating and plumbing systems). Again, not as visible in terms of progress, but absolutely necessary. At this stage the homeowner might think: “This is taking a long time” and it can, again, begin to feel like a low.
When the insulation hits the walls and drywall goes up, things pick up again. This is the stage when all the finishings start to happen: the primer goes on the walls, the flooring starts to happen. This is the stage when the homeowner can actually see themselves moving in and living in their space. It means that the end is near. The celebration can happen shortly!
The End is Near
As the project’s end draws near, and the homeowner’s mood starts to revive, the project enters the “substantial completion” phase. This means, essentially, that the project, or a portion, is fit for its intended use. The owner can finally occupy and use the property. Substantial completion also mean 45 days to completion and to that much anticipated party time.
Although the build lifecycle can feel like a challenge to all parties, with a strong schedule and an understanding of significant milestones, the experience can be transparent and even, at times, enjoyable. With clear communication between the homebuilder and the homeowner, the build journey (read here for tips from CHBA on home renovations) from start to finish can be one of excitement and expectation.
Now the project’s complete – it’s time to plan that party!
Have more questions about the build lifecycle? Or have a project in mind? We’re here to help you put together that perfect plan leading to an even more perfect home.