Every construction job is different, and from our previous article we discussed the different Variables That Can Affect the Construction Timeline. However, there are some steps in the process that are standard when it comes to building a home. A construction timeline tailored to the house you are building should be provided before the project begins. If one is not provided there is nothing wrong with asking for one.

According to Home Building Smart, here’s what the average construction timeline might look like:

Pre-construction period

Before you begin, the construction plans and cost estimates should be finalized and your finances (loans, etc.) should be sorted out. This can take one to two months maybe even longer.

Preparing the lot and laying the foundation

This includes clearing out trees, leveling the lot, construction of the foundation and starting the flooring. A month is about the average timeline for this step.

Framing the house and building the roof

Framing usually takes about two months, but can be delayed by the weather. Once the roof is completed: framing and covering, weather is generally less of a hindrance as it allows for different activities to be undertaken within the structure during rain.


Siding and services: electrical and plumbing

Workers will erect internal and external walls of the house, which takes about a month. With the walls in place, rough plumbing and electrical wiring works, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (if included) can be done but the installation of services will be ongoing.


Surface finishing

This is when the inside of your house starts to look like a house, with the work completed. Expect about two months.


Fixture installation and finishing works

In the final two months painting is done in addition to finishing the plumbing and electrical work and hanging of ceiling fans, if any.


Punch list

This is a critical step where you do a final walk through and you and your contractor create a to-do list of little things that still need finishing up to ensure that the work meets your expectations. Make sure you go into this with a critical eye and question anything that seems inconsistent with these expectations.  This is your chance to get your contractor to fix mistakes before you move in.


Some of these steps can overlap, of course, and as previously stated delays along the way can make the job take longer than anticipated.


Have you experienced the home building process? What timeline did it take? Share with us in the comments below.


If you need any clarification on this topic, feel free to email us at



The building materials used when building affects the extent of damage sustained by infrastructure during and after natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes and floods.



Reinforced concrete is one of the most practical and preferred building material in the world. Why? Because it has the ability to regulate the strength required at specific points within a structure, and it can be used at a relatively low cost.  Properly designed concrete structures will resist hurricane force winds and can be made to resist earthquakes. Compared to wooden construction, it provides superior fire resistance, and can gain strength over time.  Concrete structures can also stand against sea swells and intense waves along shore lines and floods. It is one of the most durable building materials.



Under proper conditions, wood provides excellent, lasting performance.  However, it also faces several potential threats to service life, including fungal activity due to increased levels of moisture. It is also buoyant and this makes timber structures get swept away at high water levels as in floods and sea swells. Albeit timber structures can withstand earthquakes and hurricane force winds once they are well built.


In earthquakes, timber structures have the ability to permit high levels of displacement in the structure due to its flexible joints.  These joints dampen the horizontal forces generated, while sustaining only minimal damage.  Also, since the forces acting on the structure in an earthquake are directly related to its self-weight, lighter materials like wood would be best.


Steel Frame

The steel framed structure is widely used in the construction industry due to steel’s physical properties such as strength, malleability and its ability to be prefabricated. In terms of the ease of erection and overall durability of such structure, these properties make it one of the best materials for construction, but also one of the most expensive materials and methods in the industry.  Like reinforced concrete, it can be designed to withstand hurricanes, earthquakes and floods.


These materials can be utilized on their own or in combination to address the weakness of one, to fit within the budgetary allowance, or to make the structure’s design more interesting.


The prevalence and impact of natural hazards means that special attention should be made in building designs and materials and in employing the right technical professional to lessen tragic loss to property and life.



Before hiring a contractor / builder to construct your home first ask these important questions we share with you this week.

Question #1: How long have you been working in this industry?

You need to know how the builder / contractor learned the trade and how much experience has been acquired.  While more experience does not always mean better service, a builder / contractor who has been around the block a time or two is more likely to have a proven track record.

Also, ask whether or not this builder / contractor is a member of any professional construction body.  This is not a determining factor but it provides more credibility.


Question #2: Are you willing to provide me with references?

A builder/contractor who is proud of their accomplishments would be happy to provide contact information for owners of projects that they have worked on, and would love to show you their work.  Be mindful that you are looking for projects that fit the style and scale that fit your needs.


Question #3: How does the actual work get done?

Some builders / contractors subcontract or use someone else as a foreman on their projects.  Getting background information on this person is important. Taking a look at projects handled by this foreman is essential.

In addition, it is useful to find out how the work will be laid out and what the typical work day will be: working hours, line of communication/responsibility.


Question #4: What is the payment schedule?

Different contractors / builders may offer different options when it comes to payment and different options may work better for your situation. However, never pay for the work in its entirety prior to the job’s completion and inspection. Do pay a fair down payment but you should establish a payment plan tied to progress and should hold back the final payment until the job is completed in keeping with the agreement and reasonable standards.


Question #5: Will you write out a contract specifying what you will do, the anticipated time frame, quality of material, payment schedule, and a termination clause?

A builder/contractor (or any professional) can offer you the moon but deliver a pebble; and what can you do about it if you don’t have the agreement in writing? Not much. Request a written contract that includes the items listed above.  Have the contractor sign and date the contract and keep a copy in your records. Beyond that, make sure you understand everything in the contract. There needs to be a written and clear outline of who is to do what and when – and what happens if there is a violation.  This contract will be useful if any legal action has to be taken.

Is there any other question you would like to add?



After all the dreaming, hard work and saving you are finally ready to turn your dream home into a reality. With all the excitement what most individuals fail to realize is that it does not take much for the project to turn out to be an epic fail. Proper planning needs to be in effect to save you time and money. Here are 5 costly mistakes you need to avoid.

Mistake #1 – Poor financial planning!

Unless you will be buying your home out of pocket (in that case, we envy you!), you are going to need financing. Check around for the best mortgage rates and terms and find out how much you can afford before meeting with a real estate agent, architect or contractor. Building your dream home should not plunge you into debt or a straitjacket. Deciding on the type of construction and style of the home that will fit into your budget may require some research but it will definitely pay off in the long run.

Mistake #2 – Planting roots in the wrong location

After you have built your dream home, you will not be able to move it around if the location chosen turns out to be wrong for you. Consider changes that may occur in your environment in the future and how that will affect your quality of life, and value of your property in case you decide to sell your home later on.  For your own enjoyment and for future sales look for property in a location which is convenient while still being relatively peaceful.

Mistake #3 – Not starting out with a good set of plans

People think they are saving money by not buying good plans.  First, without plans you cannot get an accurate cost estimate for building a house. You can’t make an accurate materials list so you won’t know what the materials will cost. A contractor will not know how difficult the house will be to build so he cannot give you an accurate estimate of the labor. The plumber, the electrician and other subcontractors need to be on the same page so it must be a plan that can be understood by all concerned.  Incomplete or nonexistent plans will inevitably lead to misunderstandings, tear-outs, delays, and conflicts which cause greater expense.

Mistake #4 – Choosing the Wrong Builder

Shop around for builders, ask for references and check them!  Do not make the mistake of choosing a contractor because he has the lowest price. Talk with several builders; check out their work to find the right fit. A good contractor will be willing to work with you to stay within your budget by going over the proposal to see where you can cut back. Regardless of your choice, understand that working with a professional with a solid background and years of experience can come at a premium price but it is worth the investment.

Mistake #5 – Building for only your current needs

If you know that children are in your future, build with them in mind.   If you cannot afford to prepare for children immediately build to allow for an addition later on. There is nothing worse than building a new house that is already too small the day that you move in.  If you need more square footage than you can afford at the present time, consider lowering the cost of the fixtures such as cabinets, windows, and doors some of which you can always upgrade in the future.  If this is to be your retirement home, what will your needs be then?  Does your home need to have wheelchair access?  Will you always be able to use the stairs?

Which one of these mistakes do you believe would be the worst to make?  Have you made one of them?  Can you think of other mistakes that should be avoided? Share with us in the comments.



One of the most exciting milestones in an individual’s life is building their own home! Choosing the right home design that both suits your personal taste, and meets your functional needs can seem difficult, however when you know what to look for, you realize that it is not as hard as you thought.  The size of the home, the layout of the different rooms, among other factors can either enhance, or diminish the functionality of a home design. Here we discuss 3 factors to consider when choosing a home design.


  • Before you settle on a home design it is wise to think about your individual needs and wants as well as those of the other members of the family who will be residing in the home. A lot of consideration should be placed on the number of individuals in the family, and the type of family structure. Single-parent families, nuclear families, extended families have different needs. Given the same size lot, the design of the home will be different to achieve maximum effectiveness (for example the size of the kitchen should differ based on the family type). It is also important to take a look at where you are now and where you plan to be. Have you only recently been married, are you expecting to have your first child or another child soon, are your children just about ready to leave home, do you plan on expanding in the future, are you almost at the age of retirement? You need to ask yourselves these questions before settling on a design.



  • While focusing on the floor plan and the overall layout of the home ensure that you consider how the layout of your furniture will fit into the home. If you have not bought furniture as yet it would be easy to incorporate them into your home design. Consider whether or not the floor plan will accommodate the arrangement of the furniture. Ensure that the room sizes are of adequate size. Will the windows be blocked by furniture and appliances? Will the furniture layout utilize or hinder the flow of natural lighting into the home? All of these should be considered.


  • Do you consider yourself a very private individual? If yes, you should consider designing your home with an L or U shaped layout. Also consider how much privacy you would need and from whom. The home can be designed to limit interaction between your neighbors through the window and door plans, and from other family members with the addition of interior walls. Would you want a lot of privacy in the bathroom, bedroom, and your home office?


Which one of these factors do you find most important? Share with us and our readers in the comments below.  If you need any clarification on this topic, feel free to email us at 



There is a lot of pressure when it comes to designing and building your dream home. You want to ensure that it is as perfect as possible and that you make as few compromises as possible. In this article, we discuss what needs to be done when designing a home and factors that you need to consider.


Getting Started: All you really need to get started is a simple thought or a dream.  Think about your likes and your dislikes, the design choices that speaks to you, features that you’ve admired in other homes, as well as features that meet your needs and suits your style.  Take note of these to better transition into the next step, finding an expert.

Getting Advice: Before making a final decision, it is wise to run the ideas you come up with past an Architect, or even a Contractor. By doing so you will be well informed on what can and cannot work, as well as the most cost effective design choices and materials allowing you to remain within a specific budget.

Keep the Future in Mind: When planning on designing a home it is best to design with the future in mind, not just your current situation. Where do you see yourself in ten years, 20 years, even 50 years? Do you plan on extending your family? Then you should design in such a way that the home can be extended at ease. Do you plan on spending your retirement in the same home? Then consider building a home that is elder friendly instead of having to make a lot of alterations when old age starts creeping up on you.

Think about the Land: Maximize on the shape and size of the land by designing your home to suit its natural state. You can always alter the land to fit your design, which you may need to do in any case. However the more alterations that needs to be done the more money that will be spent. If the land is already flat, designing a home that works best with a slope is unnecessary.


If you need any clarification on this topic, feel free to email us at