We are usually inclined to hire a contractor whenever we start planning a home building project. But there is no law anywhere saying you can’t build your own house. If you know the essential things to do, why not enjoy the experience. All you need to do is to become the contractor and hire the subs depending on what you want.
You can engage in some manual side of the building and use the subcontractors in some areas where your skills are lacking. But you can?t do any of these without a detailed guide on building a house. That?s the essence of this article. You need to understand the processes necessary for erecting a structure. We are going to be explaining them here to aid your new adventure.
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Decide on the location to build your home
You are not going to build on air but on solid ground. Your home is not going to be situated in the wilds but amongst people. So, the first step in building your own home is to decide on the location. Since it?s a home, it means that the location you choose will be suitable for growing some roots.
If you don?t know how to choose the best place, consider these pointers. The first important consideration when building a family home is the climate. Check the prevalent weather conditions in that area before exposing your family to it. Investigate the existence of hurricane, intense heat, flood, frigid cold, etc.
The next thing is the stability of the ground. Don?t build on unstable earth where issues such as shifting sand may likely occur. Also, if the soil is mucky, we advise against such locations.
Don?t forget to check the community infrastructures and utilities. Electricity is essential for a happier living. Telephone and water are just as compulsory. What about a good school where the kids will enrol? Put all these into consideration, and you will decide easily.
Purchase the Property
So, after deciding on the location, the next thing is to buy the property you admire. This is where you will expend some right amount of money. It may seem difficult if you don’t have adequate cash on your own. But since you?re venturing into a money-consuming adventure, we advise that you start the funding process right from this step.
How are you going to pay for the land and fund the building project? That?s the next hurdle you?ll likely face. The good news is that there are many options available for you, but it?s better to collect a construction loan. At this point, you will need a certified builder to sign a contract and provide his resume as a reference for the loan.
Survey the land
You need to hire a certified surveyor to survey the property to locate the footprints. Many people don’t usually do this, and we don’t consider it as compulsory either. The only reason to do the land survey is if the landowner doesn’t know the property lines. That way, you can avoid issues with the neighbors. But, if the land is vast and you own it all, there is no need to survey it.
Determine the access route.
Your home must be accessible and needs a driveway to make it happen. After acquiring your land, it?s time to map out the route where the driveway will be. Consider the areas and avoid all the muddy or erosion areas that will make driving very difficult during winter or heavy rain. Also, before choosing the location for the driveway, ensure that underground utilities will be safe from construction. Afterwards, make sure that water will not remain on the driveway after the rain by placing pipes or culverts under it.
Decide on hiring a professional
Every construction follows a perfect house building plan to ensure adherence to family needs and requirement. Now you have to choose between hiring an architect or designing it yourself. But you see, engineers and architects have the training and experience you need to achieve the perfect family home. Also, many building & zoning jurisdiction code makes it compulsory to work with one. So we think that you should consider it seriously.
But before you do, consider the nature of the firm’s services. Will they hire a trustworthy contractor and also inspect his/her job to ensure that the project is on the right track? Are they only concerned about hiring the contractor and afterwards, they withdraw from the project? The former is the best approach, and you should use such a firm.
Another thing to do is get the approval of the city’s building commission by submitting your building plans for review. This is another reason to work with a professional so that you can get everything right for approval.
There are many spaces to incorporate in your new home. You can’t build blindly, and as such, these spaces are compulsory to get the perfect family home that you will proud of. So what are they?
This is the first significant area to design. An architect can design it for you, or you can draw inspiration from other pre-drawn plans. You may check online and get good ones too. But the areas to concentrate are the bedrooms and bathrooms. Make them practical and functional. Consider adding some special function spaces such as a den, playroom, formal dining room or office space.
Design the laundry room, kitchen, storage areas and garage. All these are necessary to enjoy a fully-functional home.
How you place your windows matter a lot. Remember the need for energy-efficiency in your home and put them right. One thing to consider in window placement is sunlight. So, in any area of the house, make sure you place the windows to maximize natural lighting and catch appealing views
Design the water drainage system
No one likes water intrusion in their homes. So, to avoid the damaging effects, ensure that you design the drainage perfectly.
After designing your home, the next best thing is to get constructions insurance covers. You will not build immediately until you get the important covers such as General Liability Insurance, Course of Construction insurance and Workman?s Compensation Insurance.
Some of these insurance covers may come from the builder you hire, but if not, you’ll acquire them to be on the safe side. While some States may make it compulsory for the builders, some others won?t. Also, the nature of your contract will determine if the builder brings them or not. So check it out seriously and know what to do.
Get the Construction Permits
There are many permits to acquire, but the starting point is the building permit. This is where you need the diagrams from an architect and the engineering load specifications to submit to the Department of Housing. Other permits include electrical permit, plumbing permit, septic tank permit, mechanical permit and environmental permit.
Create your ECB ( Estimated Cost Breakdown)
You need to know what every aspect of the construction will cost. The breakdown includes foundation cost, framing, electrical, lumber, plumbing, builder’s profit and painting cost. This breakdown is usually the work of your builder. The reason for creating the ECB is to have a rough estimate of what you are going to spend on your building project. So, instead of spending blindly, get an estimate to guide your hands.
Determine the jobs to do personally on the project
You can save a lot of money if you handle some tasks yourself. We suggest you choose the aspects you can do well but outsource the more technical areas. For instance, you can hire bricklayers, site workers, roofers, framers, flooring installers, electricians, Plumbers, HVAC workers, carpenters, etc.
Contract a builder
This is not compulsory, but you can consider it. Instead of handing over your project to a contractor or builder, why not take one on a contract basis. That way, he/she will divide the workload with you instead of carrying everything on your head. Moreover, your construction loan will be possible if you work with a builder.
After all the processes above, it?s time to lay the foundation of the house. The few things to consider here are; the size, the ground, basement and building codes in the locality. Once you?ve determined all that, let the excavators do their work.
We recommend using concrete to lay the foundation. So after excavation, smoothening, and formwork, use concrete and make it solid. The concrete will ensure an even distribution of weight for the building. Most importantly, hire an engineer to specify how thick the foundation will be.
Set the building lines and Install the floor
You need to square and level up the foundation. So, use corner stakes or batter boards to do that. We advise that you measure the lines from one corner to the other to ensure that they are level & square.
You have two options when installing the floor, pier and beam/joist or slab on grade. If you choose the “slab on grade” then, install the plumbing lines to avoid adjustments which will be impossible, of course.
Framing the building walls and roof
After the floor, the walls follow suit. First layout the lines on the house floor and the bottom plate/rat sill where you will attach the anchor bolts. Also, mark the places where the doors, interior wall corners and windows will be. Use metal connectors or straps at the top and the floor of the wall. After that, use sheet metal straps to brace the walls. Nail the studs and nominal lumber in place and ensure that they are straight and square to the line.
When it comes to the roof, start by laying the marks for setting the roof trusses. We advise that you use sticks to frame the roof. Cut and install the rafters and your ceiling joist. You can consider using prefabricated trusses to make things easier and faster. Select the best trusses that will suit your home design.
Once you?ve selected the trusses you need, set each one in the right location. Use hurricane clips or any other connector to secure the trusses. Also, plumb the truss centres and use a rat-run bracing to support them. Other safety measures include the installation of gable bracing, king rafters, hip rafters or any other to keep it straight during decking.
After the trusses, connect the rafters with a sub-facia board. All you need to do is support the gable facia boards and overhang if you are using them on your building. If the area experiences snow-loading or high winds, secure the decking adequately to withstand these adverse conditions.
We advise that you invest in a roofing moisture barrier. It will help to eliminate the impact of the elements on your uncompleted building. Get some tar papers, simplex nails, plastic-capped felting tacks and roofing tacks and use to form the moisture barrier.
Install the exteriors and final roof
The next in line are the windows, doors and exterior siding. You may need metal flashing to protect the gables and edges depending on your location. But if the city permits caulking, you can use it and seal the edges if you can.
Once you?ve installed the exterior features and siding, install the final roof. You have many options to explore. Once you?ve decided on the one, go ahead and complete the roofing.
Complete the Interiors
There are many things to install inside the house. Here is a list of all you have to complete.
Install water pipes
Install pipes for HVAC, air handlers, refrigerant and ductwork.
Add electrical outlets at all the necessary locations
Install insulation after determining the guidelines for the area.
Install the ceilings.
Install all the plumbing fixtures where necessary (shower enclosures, bathtubs)
Install the paneling or wallboard
Place the wall trim and install the interior doors & jambs
Caulk the joints, paint the walls and install beautiful wall coverings
Install cabinets where necessary
Install your flooring and appliances.
After every installation is complete, turn the appliances on to check that everything is working well. Once you confirm them okay, it?s time to move in and enjoy your new home.
Now you?ve seen why people hire architects to draw different types of house building plans for a contractor. It is not easy to start and complete a building project, and that’s why we wrote this guide. Even though you’re not a professional builder or contractor, you can build your own home. Instead, you can hire the professionals on a contract basis to help out with some stringent requirements.