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Timeframe for Building a New House Always Varies

How fast can you build a home?  With the construction of 21 new homes in Winnipeg during this month’s Habitat for Humanity “Blitz Build”, highlighted by a visit by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, you may have wondered how long does it take for a new home to be built.  This is a common and important question that most new home buyers ask when looking at building a new home.  Just how long will the whole construction process take and what does each phase of construction involve? 

Usually, each new home is unique and will have its own construction schedule.  The construction timeframe for each individual new single-family home is impacted by a variety of different factors such as the style and size of the house, the amount of customization being done in the design and the construction, the lot and location, and the availability of trades and labour.  So, each home typically has its own unique timeframe for completion.  And any change of mind from the home buyer on design elements, both structural and interior, will usually ensure that the construction process takes longer than originally planned.  

Generally speaking, there are five common phases in the construction of a new home.  The first phase is pre-construction.  During this phase, the plans for a new home are finalized and submitted to the municipal building permit office for review.  Once plans are finalized and a permit has been approved, the next phase of construction is building the foundation.  Excavation is done and the footings and piles are formed and poured.  The foundation walls are erected and utilities such as water, electricity, telephone and cable are usually brought in at this phase as well.  This is also usually the time final decisions on flooring, cabinets and other interior touches are made to ensure they are ordered for timely installation.

The third phase of construction is the framing of the house.  Exterior walls, interior walls and the roof are assembled.  Doors and windows are installed once the house has been fully framed.  The basement floor is installed and electrical and plumbing services are roughed in.  The duct work for heating, cooling and ventilation is also completed during this phase.  Phase four focuses on completing both the interior and exterior work on the house.  The exterior walls and the roof will be insulated.  Siding or stucco will be applied.  Eavestroughs are put into place and lot grading will be completed.

Inside the home, the heating and cooling systems are installed and the drywall is completed.  Walls and ceilings are painted, flooring and cabinets are installed, and electrical and plumbing fixtures are completed.  This is the time when home buyers are most anxious to see what’s happening in their new home.  Your home builder will usually stay in regular contact with you during this phase to update you on progress and to finalize any further decisions that need to be made.

The last phase is the transition from near-completion to hand over of the keys to the new owner.  At this point, the home buyer will be asked to do a walkthrough of the home with the builder.  The builder will inspect the home with the home buyer to identify any last-minute work and touch ups that need to be done before the home buyer takes possession.  It also allows the builder to familiarize the new home owner with the systems and products in the home so they can use and maintain them properly.

While these are the common phases for the construction of a new single-family home, new home buyers should always ask their builder to explain the construction process specific to their new home.  Many times, there are specific expenses or payments that are attached to the different phases of construction.  Each builder may determine the beginning and end of each phase in a different way, so having them explain it in detail is an important step, especially if payments are required at specific completion points.  To avoid complications and disputes, it’s always best to get the specific details on these payment trigger points in writing.