Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thinking about building your custom home in the spring?

Thinking about building your custom home in the spring?

In the last couple of months I have talked to several couples that want to build a new custom home but don’t want to start construction of it until the spring. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to start the build in the spring as it gives them the ability to take the entire winter to have the plans drawn up, the permits approved, find the right custom home builder and make as many choices as possible before construction starts in the spring time.

The problem is that when most people think about starting construction in the spring they are thinking about starting in April or early May. In a lot of years that was possible, but after this last winter things have changed. Last winter was long, cold and heavy with snow, what that did is push back construction starts on new homes by as much as two months in a lot of areas in the province.

Why you ask? Because in most rural areas where custom homes are being built there are “half load restrictions” that are placed in effect by the local municipalities. Half load restrictions are restrictions on the size of the loads that heavy trucks and transports can carry over the municipally controlled roads.

The reason for these restrictions is because when spring arrives the rural country roads become soft as the snow melts, it starts to rain more and the frost starts to slowly come out of the ground. Without these restrictions municipalities would have to spend thousands of dollars every year fixing the roads from the damage the heavy trucks would cause.

How do these restrictions affect you wanting to build a custom home you ask?

Excavators, concrete pumpers, transports delivering supplies and concrete trucks will be banned or restricted to only half full loads coming and going from your home building site. With excavators the restriction wouldn’t allow you to dig or backfill the hole for the basement of the home (as they won't be aloud to drive down the road to your building site), with concrete trucks they are only allowed to deliver a half full load of concrete. This ends up costing you a lot more money as the concrete trucks have to charge more money than normal for the amount of concrete they are delivering.

This could change your starting schedule from the early spring till the first week in June. That’s what transpired this spring, the half load restrictions were placed on the roads near the end of the March and weren't lifted until the first week in June. They lasted almost 10 weeks one of the longest periods that we could remember in the last couple of decades.

The outlook for this winter looks a lot similar to the last winter with cold temperatures and heavy snow forecasted for the length of the winter. This means that there is a good chance that the long half load restrictions will be put into place this coming spring potentially delaying the start of your custom home build.

To avoid this problem you should adjust your thinking about when you want to start your home. You should adjust your timeline so that the digging of the foundation will start in early march instead of April/May. This simple adjustment of 1.5 months will allow your builder to not only dig the hole for the house but have the foundation installed as well.

This then allows the framing of the home while the half load restrictions are in place, speeding up your building schedule by as much as two months compared to everyone else who attempts to start in the spring. When you are a head of the normal building schedule you have the ability to get trades before they become bogged down in everyone else's building projects.

To talk more about starting house construction in the spring email me at and I’ll see if I can help.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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