If you are building or remodeling a home, you will be confronted with the challenging task of scheduling several contractors. Unfortunately, construction is not a smooth process with definitive completion dates. Each construction project is unique in its process, scope of work, and goals. Because of that, you must analyze your project before it starts and develops a construction schedule.
Before beginning, understand that your plan must be flexible. If you are building a home from scratch, you may run into delays in receiving your permit. That has a domino effect that pushes out the start dates of every contractor. If you have hired a General Contractor to build or remodel your home, there may be scheduling conflicts with other projects. If that is the case, you will need to work directly with the builder on getting back on track. For the purposes of this article, it will be assumed you are hiring the contractors yourself and controlling the scheduling.
The 16 Steps of Home Construction
1. Home plan design
2. Permitting process (including review, changes, and final approval)
3. Establishing temporary power to the site (so contractors can run their tools)
4. Site work
8. Installation of windows and doors
10. Rough mechanicals including plumbing, electrical, and HVAC
14. Interior trim and other finish work
16. Cabinets and countertops
As you can see, there are potentially 16 contractors involved during the construction of a home. All of them will have numerous jobs in addition to yours. Products will arrive on-site that are wrong or need to be switched. Weather will hamper your efforts and make a contractor's job more difficult.
Assembling construction work begins with setting a deadline for completion. Typically, it takes between 10-12 months for someone to complete the construction of a home. The more custom home is, the longer it will take. Your particular project may be completed in 6 months, but the more detailed the plan or difficult the building lot, the more time it will take.
After setting a deadline for completion, select the contractors you would like to hire. Many processes will be involved in choosing the right contractor, but through a process of elimination, you can select a handful of builders. With the contractors selected, you can then plan your construction project according to their schedules. For example, there may be 2 framers of equal ability and reputation, but one can start next week and the other in 5 weeks.
Knowing that can help you can make an informed decision on which one will fit into the schedule. Speak with all the contractors you have selected and make sure they understand your schedule. If you find that any of them are not willing to work within your time frame, search for another contractor. In construction, time is money. Unnecessary waiting costs both.
The other key ingredient for scheduling is multi-tasking. As each phase of construction progresses, you will need to schedule another contractor, sometimes several at the same time. For example, while the rough framing is being completed, you should call the plumber and electrician to perform their duties. While the plumber and electrician are working, you should contact the insulation and drywall installers. Always be a step ahead of the contractors working for you. Below is a list showing a typical scheduling path:
During the permitting phase, schedule site work contractors.
During site work, schedule foundation, and framing contractors.
When framing has started, contact mechanical contractors to start their "rough" phases.
As framing approaches completion, schedule roofer and sider.
As mechanical contractors are finishing their work, contact insulation and drywall contractors.
When the drywall is complete, schedule a finish carpenter to install doors, moldings, etc.
Upon completion, schedule interior painter.
The final phases of your project will involve installing cabinets, countertops, and flooring materials. These trades are often performed very closely to each other. Do not be afraid to put contractors in touch with each other. Time is money to them too, and any coordination they can do between themselves makes everyone happy.
Remember, a home construction schedule is highly complex and filled with variables. The process cannot be mastered, but it can be controlled. It begins with setting goals and scheduling contractors beforehand; however, by understanding the general scheduling path, you can gain a better understanding of the way in which phases are completed.