For many considering building their own home, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime project. It is certainly one of the biggest investments you will make, both in terms of time and energy, and financially. Hence, it is important to know as much as possible about the construction process, both for your own peace of mind, and to avoid making any costly mistakes. Sometimes, the experts – the architects and construction workers you employ – can end up dominating the construction process, leaving you as a passive observer. Remember, both their labor and the materials they work with are paid for with your money. It is completely natural to want to, if not supervise, at least be informed about the progress of your build. But, how can you follow and remain involved in the construction process?
Start by choosing the Best Company for you
Before starting your project, you have to think carefully about how to find the healthiest balance between your desires and budget. Choosing the right company for you can be the most important decision in the entire process. Make sure to shop around. Don’t settle for the first company to give you a suitable offer, try with other companies as well and show them your original offer to give them the chance to beat it and win your business. Companies such as Direct Building Services sometimes offer you the chance to look closely at their previous works, to give you a feel for the kinds of results you can expect. When it comes to looking for the right architect, recommendations and existing reputations can be helpful guiding tools. Make sure to clearly express your own wishes at all times, whatever these may be. The same must be with the construction company you settle on. Whether it’s a particular design you have in mind, or particular materials, come to all prospective employees with clear goals in mind, and while it’s important to be flexible where you have to be, always remember that it is your project, and not anyone else’s that needs to be realized. When it comes to informing the people involved in the build about your financial capabilities or limitations, do not feel pressured into revealing the details of your budget. Operate on a need-to-know basis, and leave the rest to their imagination.
How you operate in the beginning can set the tone for the rest of the project. If you come across as presenting minimal involvement from your side, then you run the risk of leaving space for unwanted maneuvering later on, and even the possibility of having a finished product that did not meet your initial expectations. Remember that before making big commitments like signing any contracts, you can always look for a second opinion, if not from the experts, then friends or family that have already got through the home-building process and from whose mistakes you might be able to learn. There is always a golden rule with any contract; take the time to read all the small print and don’t sign anything until you have made absolutely certain that you understand every single point on the document.
Once Construction Starts
Once a contract is signed, you will most likely have a better understanding of know what is included in the construction agreement and what will be left to you to organize. Any elements beyond the brief of the construction company will either have to be dealt with by you or by arrangement with some other company (typically for later installations such as garage doors, fencing, garden taps, roof insulation, etc.). But that will come later. On the construction site, it is best to arrange a meeting with all the workers and their supervisors to inform them that you will follow their progress and occasionally ask them questions if there is something going on that you do not understand. From then on, it is the best to have a go-to person (ideally the construction supervisor) to approach with your queries. As the project advances, keep yourself up-to-date on the arrival of materials, particularly whether or not there will be any delays in arrival or changes to amounts initially estimated. Talk with the supervisor about weekly plans and the timetables they have set in place for completion of different aspects of the build. For instance, when can you expect the foundations of your home to be laid? What date does he/she anticipate that walls will be erected? What do they plan on doing in the event of bad weather? There are no questions concerning your project that you should be afraid to ask and if you don’t like the answer, make sure to get an adequate explanation and find a solution you can both work with. This cannot happen unless you ask the questions in the first place.
Depending on the frequency of your visits to your site, you should try to arrange for tours of the construction area at appropriate intervals, so you can see the progress first hand, as well as having it explained to you. Again, if there is something that you find to be unsatisfactory, talk with the supervisor about it. If there is a serious disagreement, take a photo of problem in question and ask for the second opinion of an expert or friend. On the whole, try to maintain a friendly working relationship with everyone of your construction side. Even small gestures such as offering refreshment every now and then can go a long way to creating a productive working environment. Remember, your investment is in the hands of thee workers.
It is always better to be involved in your own project, especially if you are building a family home. The more you get informed about it, maintain communication channels, and deal with problems as they arise, the less chance there will be of any dissatisfaction with the final product. Building a house can sometimes seem like an overwhelming endeavor. But being involved in your build can also be one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences you will ever have.