Building Your Dream Home As Smoothly As Possible

Originally posted in our August 2020 Newsletter.

For most of us, a new home is one of the largest financial decisions we will make, and one that is done properly can benefit you for years to come. Not only in dollars and cents, but also in the many things money can’t buy. The right home reflects the priorities of your family. Before you begin to draw out the plan for your new home, you need to consider these factors so that you meet your wants and needs. Here are some questions that may help you with your design:

  • Where do you spend most of your time?
  • Do you need a home office?
  • Does your job require anything specific in the home?
  • What are your family’s hobbies and how might that affect design?
  • Do you need a guest room and adjacent bath?
  • Do you intend to have any special exterior spaces, i.e. pool and gazebo?
  • How would you share bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.?
  • Do you intend to have a work or storage area in the garage?
  • Are you a particularly private person?
  • Do you need a quiet place to escape or nap?
  • Do you entertain regularly? Formally or informally?
  • Is your home where all the neighborhood kids spend a rainy afternoon?
  • Which rooms do you seldom use?
  • If you have children living at home, how will their needs change as they grow older?
  • Do you need a separate, formal living room?

It is advisable to establish priorities in terms of needs, wants, and would-like-to-haves in the future. “Needs” relate specifically to all items that you must have in the home to meet your basic requirements. “Wants” are items that would be nice, but you can live without. “Would like in the future” are items that should be considered during construction by making accommodations for their future installation later. This is helpful as your plan is being designed and when decisions must be made in order to keep your home within a desired budget. Create a chart with three columns.  At the top of each column write “MUST HAVE”, “WOULD BE NICE” and “WOULD LIKE IN THE FUTURE”. When completing the priority chart, it is a good idea to have each decision-making occupant complete their own chart separately before getting together to discuss and come to a consensus.

In addition to selecting the spaces for your home, you must also decide which rooms need to be adjacent or next to each other.  An example, the kitchen should be next to the dining room; however, the master bedroom should not be adjacent to the secondary bedrooms.

For a more comprehensive planning guide, contact the office at Open Range Construction.

What is the timeline for starting my new home? In our experience, each process of the design and pre-construction timeline takes longer than you anticipate. Here is a general guideline for the process:

  • Week 1-3            Site Assembly/Preliminary Architectural Plan
  • Week 2-5            Soils Test/Perc Test
  • Week 4               Architectural Plan Specifications & Lighting Plan
  • Week 4-5            Elevations & Building Sections
  • Week 6-8            Preliminary Cost Estimate
  • Week 9-11          Plot Plan/House Stake
  • Week 9-13          Structural and Foundation Engineering, Mechanical/Plumbing
  • Week 14             Completed Construction Documents
  • Week 15-20        Final Cost Estimate & Construction Contract
  • Week 20-22        Building Department Plan Review

Building a home is an exciting process. Following the recommendations of your builder and not hovering is important to allow the experience to be a good one.

The following suggestions are general tips from builders for clients wanting to build a home in order to make the process run as smoothly as possible:

  • When selecting an engineer for your design, be sure to find someone who specializes in ICF block. An engineer inexperienced with ICF will not necessarily know the requirements specific to the build method.
  • Once excavation begins, don’t be surprised by an increase in the estimated amount or the allowance. No one can see what is in the ground until you start digging. Blasting is sometimes needed here in the Colorado mountains.
  • Select your finishes (electrical and bath fixtures, trim, doors, etc.) as soon as you have a home design and give them to your builder. This will help to avoid any breaks or gaps in the construction schedule and assist with a more accurate estimate. Gaps or breaks will cost you more money.
  • Once a decision is made, avoid changing your mind. Any change will cost time and money.
  • No matter how much planning you do, you still need to plan on unexpected expenses of about 10 percent. This includes price increases on building materials, items overlooked on the estimate, upgrades on items you may have selected and unexpected problems during the build.
  • When you receive a pay request from the builder, process it quickly. Most builders have an agreement with their subcontractors and vendors that payment to them will be made by a certain date.
  • Don’t ask crew members or subcontractors to do additional work for you. They are assigned a task each day they are on the jobsite and are expected to complete it by day’s end.
  • Plan for delays. You will have a schedule but there are so many variables that can happen that are not under anyone’s control. Weather, subcontractor issues, materials being shipped correctly and on time, mistakes made during the building process among others are all things that can delay your project. Be realistic in your expectations.

Your builder strives to ensure a smooth home building process. By following these few guidelines, you will be in your new home in record time.

Posted in ICF Tips, Ideas on Sustainability.

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