Home Building Timeline
Though the average time taken to build a home is about 8 months (as per the US Census Bureau), multiple factors affect the timeline. The geographic location, the type of home being built, and the actual construction process can influence how long it takes to build a home.
The overall market conditions also affect the duration of building a home. A busy or a fast market generally results in longer durations while a down market shortens the timeline.
At Irish Custom Homes we typically advise a 6-9 month time frame when planning your home build.
How to Build a Home: Step by Step Planning Guide
To build a home, you first identify a location, purchase the property, prepare your dream home plans (or purchase them), and get all of the permits and licenses in order. Once the groundwork is over, you hire a contractor and gear yourself up for the actual construction.
The construction phase consists of various steps. This detailed guide will go into the activities that happen every week during a typical home construction process. We hope that by learning about these step-by-step activities, you will understand everything that needs to happen between starting construction and moving in.
Month #1: – Excavation, Foundation, Ground Leveling
The very first step that a contractor takes is mapping out the layout of your new home on your purchased plot of land. This is one of the most exciting steps because your home construction officially begins with the clearing of rocks/trees/existing structures and the leveling of the site for proper drainage. During week 1, the contractor will also set in place the footings of your new home into the ground.
The foundation is perhaps one of the most important parts of your home. It is the base on which your home will stand. This base needs to be dry and free of any cracks. The foundation work begins with the pouring of concrete onto the footings which were prepared during week 1.
The foundation work generally takes 2 weeks because the contractor has to wait for the concrete to dry completely. The foundation can either be a crawling space, a solid slab, or a basement. Once the concrete is dry, an inspection is carried out before proceeding to the next step.
Month #2 – Framing the House & Roof Install
After the foundation is built, the next step is to erect the frame of your home. The frame consists of the exterior walls, the floors, and the roof rafters. Once all of those sections are framed, sheathing is applied to the walls and the roof. They are also covered with house wrap – a protective barrier that prevents water from breaching your house while allowing water vapor from inside to escape. Once the framing work is completed, an inspection takes place.
Month #3 – Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP)
After the foundation or the skeleton of the home is ready, the next step is to install the wiring and the plumbing of your home. When you visit your under-construction home during the MEP phase, you will see lots of wires, pipes, vents, and sewer lines everywhere. Some siding work will also take place during month 3.
Heating and ventilation systems are installed during the MEP phase. Water heaters are mounted in their places. Once all the work in this phase is complete, a thorough inspection takes place before proceeding to the next step.
Month #4 – Insulation, Drywall, Trim, Tile, Some Paint
We are now approaching the half-way mark of our home construction process. After the MEP work, next in line is the insulation work. You want your home to be warm during the winter and prevent the heat from the heater to escape outside. Therefore, insulation material is filled inside the walls and ceilings.
Next, the walls and ceilings are with plasterboard or drywall. The finishing touches are given with a session of sanding and priming. The very first coat of paint may also be applied at this point. The first coat of paint is one of the most exciting milestones for a homeowner. The smell of the paint makes you feel like you can smell the move-in date.
Trim work is done around the windows and doors once painting is completed. Tile work is done in the bathrooms and kitchen for showers, backsplashes, etc.
Month #5 – Paint, Flooring, and Interior Finishes
This is where things get really exciting. Your role in the construction process will now increase. Month 5 is when the contractor will install the flooring in your home provided all is going well on the timeline.
The flooring could be hard wood, vinyl plank, or ceramic tile. It is completely your call. Month 5 is also when cabinets, shelves, and doors begin to appear. Various pieces of carpentry are fitted into your new home in a way that you had imagined. Any other trim work needing done like flooring trim after floors are installed, can be done in month 5. A second coat of wall paint is usually applied at this stage.
Fixtures and Appliances
By now, your home will start to look less like a construction site and more like a personal living space. Month 5 is when professionals like plumbers and electricians will move in and out of your new home in high frequencies.
They will work long and hard to install plumbing fixtures like faucets, bathtubs, sinks, toilets, and cabinets. The electrical guys will mount that microwave in the kitchen and install your favorite oven. Stylish light fixtures and other appliances will be fitted in and ready to be turned on.
Month #6: Punch List of Finish Items & Carpet Install
Once all the interior work is done and after all the heavy furniture has made its way inside the home, it is time to build your front door. Waiting for the interior work to be largely done is important because you do not want to damage your door while moving heavy fixtures and furniture into the home.
Month 5 is also a good time to have the walkway and driveway installed if it wasn’t already done in Month 1 when the foundation was poured by the cement crew. Your new home now begins to look inviting and you cannot wait to move in.
Exterior Work to the Outside
You want your new neighbors to sense that someone amazing is soon going to live in the neighborhood. Throughout months 5 and 6, much of the remaining exterior finishes will be done that really pull the exterior of your home together.
Your contractor will start covering your home walls with either brick, stone, stucco coating, or wall cladding. The choice is yours! It will look as if your home has just put on some new clothes. Homes can also have a variation of siding and brick or siding and stone.
It is time to clean up the interiors and get the house ready for the big move-in date. Carpenters, plumbers, and electricians have been working inside the home for a few weeks and it will take about a week to clean everything up.
Landscaping and external adornment
With the interiors of the house cleaned up, it is now time to prop up the exteriors as well. Week 17 is the time when all the landscaping work happens. The trees, flowers, and shrubs get planted. The grass gets laid and trimmed. A small garden can also be added if that is what you prefer. You have to work closely with the landscaping folks during week 17 to get the look-and-feel that you had envisioned.
Certificate of Occupancy
With all the construction work completely done, the next step is to call the building inspector. The official will check if everything in your home complies with the building codes. If there are no violations and if everything goes to plan, the official will hand you the occupancy certificate. Your home is now fit for human habitation.
You are almost approaching your move-in date now. You have one more chance to get your contractor to fix anything that does not seem right to you. Therefore, make sure that you conduct a comprehensive inspection of the entire house. Go through every single room, operate every fixture and every appliance, and make a note of things that still need some work. Any defects and damages should be pointed out now. Once you pay the contractor and sign-off, there is no turning back.
Month #7 – Time to move in
You made it! Your new home is built and ready to be occupied by your family. This is the day you have been waiting for. Invite family and friends for that exciting housewarming party that you have been planning.