Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why you should start building your home in the spring

Why you should start your custom home project in the spring
If you are thinking about building a custom home, you should be doing your planning and designing in the winter so that you can get your building permit before the spring. There are a couple of reasons for this;
·         Designers, contractors and the local municipal building departments are not as busy in the winter months. Even through things have changed with the construction industry being a 12 month of the year business, the high volume time is in the warmer months.
·         This will allow you to choose your contractor without any pressure. In the spring time when contractors are starting to get busier and picking up building projects you could end up being rushed to make decisions if the contractor that you want to build your house is filling up his work load for the whole year quickly.
·         You will be able to get a lot of the choosing of fireplaces, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, floor coverings, kitchen layouts, bathroom layouts and trim details out of the way. This will help you later in the build process because even with all those choices made you will be asked by the contractor to make constant decisions. It’s called a custom home for a reason; it’s customized to the homeowner and the homeowner’s budget.
·         Choosing and signing a contractor in the winter before the spring will allow the contractor to book important sub-trades so that your project can be developed in a timely manner. For example; in spring time when you go to dig the foundation your contractor will hire an excavator company, if they don’t know about the project until the spring then they might have a hard time getting the excavator company in a timely manner since everyone will be calling and asking for digging services.
Building in a cold climate means that you should start the building process as soon as the ground thaws. Most custom homes take a full year to build so you are pretty much guaranteed to be building the house through the winter months. The difference is that if you start in the spring then by the time the weather turns to rainy in the fall and then snowy in the winter the house will be enclosed with the siding or stone installed already on the outside. The only work then should be on the inside out of the elements in an environment where you are able to control the temperature.
Building in the cold always takes longer and ends up costing more. Workers and tools do not work as well in the cold and the act of having to shovel snow ends up costing the home owner money. There are also certain things that cannot be done in the winter (like stoning the outside of a house) without adding large amounts of heat which costs money.
There are more man days lost in the winter because of equipment freeze ups and hazardous driving then in any other part of the year. Also the day light hours in the winter are shorter which shortens the day for people working on the outside. This slows the process of building the house and usually adds cost because in the construction industry time costs money.
If you start a house in the fall or the end of the fall you could end up in a situation where the weather gets unusually cold and you have to insulate the ground, footings or foundation against freezing. This is usually accomplished with straw or thermal blankets. This process ends up costing the homeowner more money, something that can be avoided by starting the foundation earlier in the year like summer or spring.
In a lot of rural locations they have spring road restrictions called “half loads”. This is when the frost is coming out of the ground making the roads softer and more vulnerable to damage. In “half load” restricted area’s you are only aloud to fill trucks such as concrete, lumber and delivery half full to keep the weight from ruining the road bed. This also means that important things like cranes cannot access a job site. If you do all your planning and permits in the winter then the contractor has the ability to start your project before the half loads are placed on the roads. The contractor can get all the digging and concrete out of the way so that the project isn’t slowed down with the road restrictions. This will also save you money as having trucks do delivery half full will double your delivery charges.
The earlier you start your custom home project the better the chance that you will have access to important in demand sub trades. Certain sub trades depending on their reputation are busier than others. For example; good drywallers are in high demand and are almost impossible to get on time depending on certain times of the year. But if you start your custom home in the spring then you will need drywallers in the fall or early winter. If you start early then you have the flexibility to wait any extra week or two for the good quality trades. It makes your project more flexible and allows you to do all the finishing’s in the house in the winter after Christmas when trades are looking for work.
If you want help with the building or designing project feel free to email me at robabbott@villagebuilders.ca or stop in and see us at 3 Caroline St. Creemore.
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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