Understanding the Construction Timeline

The concept of designing and building a custom home is a tempting one – but how long will it take? That is the question we hear most, right after how much will it cost. The answer is not a cut and dry one -the length of time will vary. It’s important to be realistic about the time it takes to build a home, from pre-planning, selections, plans and permits to the final walkthrough. It’s not as fast as some people think, though it’s not as long as others may think. That’s why it’s important to fully understand the construction timeline before embarking on this process.

There are five main issues that have an impact on the construction timeline: 1 - Plans and permitting 2 – Environment and weather3 - Workers and supplies4 – Changes5 - Construction style and selections

Plans and Permitting -

As for the planning stage, this is where you really need to nail down how much house can you afford, your desired home plans, and exactly what you want on the inside. If you change your mind and want something done differently, that will also slow down the process and could lead to an increase in costs. It’s important to be ready to go and be confident in the choices you’ve made when it comes time to start the whole process. There are also necessary permits and approvals needed before work can begin. 

Environment and Weather –

If you build on your own lot, this may require clearing of the lot and preparing it for building, including leveling the ground. Unexpected issues, like hitting rock, can cause delays. If you choose to build on a lot in a community, that work is typically already done and can help lessen the time as the lot is more likely to be ready for building, though it depends on the lot and the community.

The weather also plays a role. Rain and freezing temperatures can stop work, depending on where the builder is at that point. Thus, expecting to build a custom home during the winter and move in by spring isn’t typically realistic. Even in the Mid-Atlantic region, the weather can be unpredictable enough to cause plenty of delays. Summer is the busiest time to build, with fewer environmental issues

Workers and Supplies –

In the last 18 months, the industry has been inundated with demand for new homes. That means there’s more of a chance of shortage of workers and supplies. Everyone and everything is in demand, especially when it comes to plumbers, electricians and other specialists. Supply inventory is low and prices have increased considerably over the past year or two. Due to COVID regulations instilled in warehouses, many items that used to be readily available are now special order with lengthy lead times. We take all of these factors into consideration and order items as soon as they are selected. 

Changes - 

Once products or designs are selected, items are ordered. When extra work is added or changed this means that construction has to stop while everything gets worked out again. As changes are made, the process may lengthen due to lead times and availability.

Construction Style - 

A home with an intricate roof system, lots of exterior or interior stone work, extravagant trim work all can lead to longer construction time. Also, selection of special order appliances, fixtures, cabinets and tile can also impact the construction timeline. Although we try to plan around the lead times, it is out of our control if there are delays in receiving items. 

None of this is said to discourage you from choosing to build your custom home; it’s simply meant to give you a much clearer idea of just how long it takes to build a home, especially when you add in customizations. Having a clear idea of what you want, but also being open minded should issues arise and having clear communication with your builder will go a long way to at least help you get through the process more smoothly, if not more quickly. 

Think ahead to the wonderful home, built to your lifestyle that you’ll have at the end of the process with no changes to be made because everything was done exactly the way you wanted it from the start. That’s definitely worth the wait.  Let your next home be a Foreman built home. 


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