the home building process

The Home Building Process: Tips for Constructing Your Home

You know that you want to build your next house rather than buy an existing one. But you’re not sure how to start building a home. Should you try to do most of the work on your own, or is it better to hire a reliable contractor when constructing a new home site? While reality TV shows might make building a home look easy, in reality, the process is more complex. You want to have someone on your side who knows the ins and outs of the home-building process and who’s familiar with the legal requirements and considerations as well as the safety requirements.

If you’re wondering where to start when building a new house, consider this your new home site checklist. The first thing to do is to find a contractor.

The Benefits of Hiring a Reliable Contractor to Do All Your Site Work

There are many reasons why hiring a contractor is a smart move when you’re building a home. Take a look at just a few of the most notable benefits:

  • They know what they’re doing: Building a new home from the ground up isn’t exactly a beginner’s project. There’s a lot to know about digging the foundation, installing water and sewer lines and pving a driveway. A contractor is going to have ample experience performing the tasks required to build a home, or the connections necessary to hire the right people for a particular job.
  • They can take care of permits and legal concerns: For safety and legal reasons, new homes need to be built to code. You also need to get certain permits before you can begin construction and for various aspects of the project. Navigating your state’s building standards and codes can be complicated and confusing. When you hire a contractor, you can rely on their knowledge and expertise to follow codes and to pull the appropriate permits for the project.
  • They’ll put together a plan: An experienced contractor knows what to do and when to do it when building a house. They’ll create a plan for the building process that will ensure things run smoothly so your home is built on-time and with as few delays as possible.
  • They have the right equipment: Ideally, you want to work with a contractor who owns their own equipment. That means they can get started on a project without delay and don’t have to worry about returning an excavator or other piece of machinery by a particular deadline.
  • They have insurance: A contractor should have the appropriate insurance to protect themselves and their workers when on the job. Required insurance includes workers’ compensation insurance and general liability insurance.
  • They have a proven track record: When you hire an experienced contractor, they should have proof of that past experience to show you, such as photos of previous projects. You can also ask to talk to previous clients to get a sense of how the contractor handled the job and whether they would recommend working with the individual or company.
  • They can get a better price on materials: Working with a contractor can mean that you pay less for supplies, as many contractors get discounts, especially on materials they purchase from big box stores.

Once you hire a contractor, you can expect them to handle the process from start to finish, from clearing the site to installing landscaping.

Clearing the New Home Site

After hiring a contractor and creating a plan for your home, the first step in the building process is to clear the site. Land clearing can take several forms, depending on what’s already there and how much work needs to happen. For example, if there are a lot of trees on the property, your contractor will need to arrange to have them cut down and the roots dug up. Depending on the size of the lot and the size of your home, you might leave some of the trees intact. It might also be the case that there are no trees on the property, but that other material, such as shrubbery or brush, needs to be cleared. Depending on the angle of the land, your contractor might need to grade the lot before the building begins.

Another thing to remember when clearing the site for a new home is that the property lines should be marked clearly. Even if your home will be the only one for miles around at the moment, you don’t want to risk building over the property line and having it become an issue in the future.

digging the foundation

Digging the Foundation

The foundation is the base on which your home sits. The foundation must be excavated and constructed correctly the first time.

Digging the foundation involves more than simply creating a hole in the ground and filling it in with some cement. The contractor will take steps to make sure that the foundation of your home works with the site. What your home’s foundation needs to succeed depends a lot on the soil type that surrounds it. For example, soil with high clay content tends to absorb water easily. In freezing temperatures, the moisture level in the soil can cause it to expand and contract, putting pressure on the foundation and potentially leading to cracks.

Foundations built on surfaces that aren’t appropriately compacted also have a higher risk of cracking. When laying the foundation of your home, a contractor should understand the precise conditions and have a plan to preserve the foundation and allow it to last as long as possible.

Installing Water, Sewer and Septic

Depending on where you are building your new home, it might connect to a municipal or city sewer line, or it might have its own on-site septic system. In either case, the pipes and system that draw wastewater from your house must comply with your state’s requirements. For example, New York has specific rules for buildings that drain to a sewer and on-site septic systems. Whichever option you end up using, a reliable contractor will know the rules and follow them, so they can install your water and sewer lines safely.

Driveway and Asphalt Services

Whether your home sits far back from the road or within view of the street, you’ll want a driveway to make it easy to get to and from your front door. A paved driveway can be ideal, as it has a long life, increases the value of your home and is more affordable than installing a concrete driveway.

Just like the structure of your home, your driveway needs a sturdy foundation to function properly. Without a strong foundation, a paved driveway can easily become damaged by winter weather. Just like your house, the soil underneath the driveway influences how the foundation should be built for the best results. A licensed contractor will know how to prepare the foundation for the driveway and apply the asphalt to ensure that the finished product lasts.

Landscaping and Lawn Work

Although you might happily take on the task of planting flowers in containers around your house in the spring and fall, it’s a smart move to hire a company to handle the initial landscaping and lawn installation when you build a house from the ground up. If you’ve never gardened or done any sort of yard work before, it’s also a good idea to hire a professional landscaper for the initial project. They can plant shrubs and flowers that will do well in your area, lay mulch and install a lawn. They can also maintain your yard or give you tips and advice so you can handle some of the tasks on your own.

other services you'll need

What Are Other Services You’ll Need When Building a Home?

A general contractor is just one example of a professional you’ll want to work with when building your home. You’ll also want to hire and work with a team of other specialists, such as:

  • Drillers
  • Concrete contractors
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians

Your contractor for your new home can recommend reliable subcontractors to you or might even handle hiring them for you.

Colonial Excavating Is New York’s Choice for a Reliable Contractor to Ensure the Structural Safety of Your Home

Your home is going to be your shelter and your refuge. You want to make sure you hire a skilled, reliable contractor to build your home on a solid foundation and ensure everything is up to code and safe. Colonial Excavating serves the Capital Region of New York, providing services ranging from excavating to sewer line installation and from paving to landscaping. If you want to make sure your new home is safe and sound, contact us today to learn more about how we can work with you.