Stages Involved In Building a House
Essentially, there’re certain stages that have to be strictly followed when building a standard house. These stages are followed to make sure that a house is built securely and safely.
Most houses built today utilise a standardised process. Following a standardized process allows for consistency across the country with respect to the set requirements and building codes.
Also, standardisation ensures that the techniques used to build houses are safeguarded to allow for a cost-effective and efficient construction process.
A standard house is constructed using a 17-stage process. Most of the stages are handled by subcontractors specializing in a specific area.
All the subcontractors work under one supervisor or contractor who oversees and coordinates the entire construction process. The supervisor’s role is to ensure that the work is completed on budget, on time, and as per the design specifications.
Let’s discuss each stage for more details about what takes place in each stage, the steps involved in each stage, and the materials needed to build a standard house.
Stage 1: Grading & Site Preparation
The first construction crew to arrive on the site is tasked with grading and preparing the site. In this stage, the land on which the house is to be constructed is cleared. The surface on which the foundation will be built is flattened.
Preparing the site includes activities such as clearing the site by removing any debris, rocks, and trees that may be sitting on the land. The time it’ll take to clear the site depends on the nature of the land.
For instance, if there are sturdy trees or large boulder rocks on the site, it’ll take longer to clear them. If you’re just dealing with flimsy bushes, trees, and small rocks, then it’ll take little time to clear the site.
Grading entails leveling the site, whereby soil is moved or filled until the surface is flattened. Even if the site is sloped, it’s leveled to make construction easier.
Grading can also be done to alter water flow around a property. That way, water is less likely to flow down to your house in case there’s heavy rain or flooding. Instead, it’s directed to flow around the property or to the garden beds.
Stage 2: Foundation
The next stage involves laying the foundation. Most standard houses sit on a concrete slab. The slab is made by pouring concrete on a level surface. The process requires some little preparation. Minimal framework is also required before pouring concrete.
Concrete slabs are especially great for building houses in warmer areas. However, concrete slabs are not the best choice for use in cooler areas as they’re negatively affected by ground freezes. In worst-case scenarios, a concrete slab can shift as a result of freezing, thereby making the house unstable.
Wire mesh and steel rods are integrated into the slab to reinforce it and stabilize it, thereby making it stronger and prevent movement. Some connections should be made before pouring the slab. These connections include electrical conduit and sewer lines among others.
Another alternative for making a foundation is the use of stilts. Stilts are preferred in areas prone to flooding. The stilts add to the height of the house such that floodwater can flow under the house to prevent or minimize damage.
Stage 3: Framing
Framing involves putting up the molding of a house. At this stage, a house starts taking shape. Lumber and bricks are the most commonly used materials for framing.
Essentially, building a house with lumber is faster and more affordable than using bricks. In this case, the walls of the house are made on the ground and lifted upright. Outer walls are built first, followed by the inner walls. They’re secured in place with nails.
On the other hand, it takes more time to construct a house with bricks. Also, bricks are costlier than lumber. Bricks are placed one after the other to ensure the wall is level. Measurements have to match up and the bricks have to be placed correctly.
Stage 4: Roofing
In this stage, the house is covered from the top by installing a roof. Trusses are commonly used to create the roof framing. They’re pre-fabricated and have a triangular structure. They’re used for supporting the roofing material.
The advantages of roofing with trusses include:
- They’re inexpensive and very strong
- They make it possible to create all kinds of shapes for the ceiling and roof. Thus, it’s possible to use them to create unique roof features like cathedral ceilings.
- Trusses can span a very large area. That way, the weight of the roof is bared on the outer walls such that the inner walls don’t bear any load. This makes it easier to alter the design as needed without affecting your home’s structural integrity.
- They’re pre-fabricated such that it takes little time to mount them.
The roofing frame can also be constructed using 2 by 10s and 2 by 8s. However, they’re more time-consuming and expensive to install than trusses.
Once the roofing frame is mounted, the roofing material is laid over the frame to create a waterproof and solid base. The time it takes to install the roofing is mainly dependent on the roofing material used.
Stage 5: Doors and Windows
At this stage, the house is enclosed. It now needs doors and windows so that you can safely lock it. The number of doors and windows to be installed will determine the time it’ll take to install them.
Upon completing this stage, and everything is waterproofed and has undergone testing, your house can be locked for added security. At this stage, most homeowners start getting excited as they’re able to see an almost complete house.
By locking up the house, you’ll protect it from unwanted visitors and intruders. Construction sites tend to attract thieves who have interest in stealing construction materials. Thus, keep all valuable construction materials inside the house after the completion of this stage.
Stage 6: Electrics and Rough Plumbing
If your house is built on a slab, most rough stuff related to electrics and plumbing is already completed. Generally, plumbing includes piping systems for wastewater and supply pipes for clean water.
The plumber should follow certain requirements and codes when doing any plumbing job for hygiene and safety. Details such as diameters, supports, distances, angles, and materials are done according to specified standards.
Electrics at this stage include establishing electrical lines and systems for lights, power points, and appliances. Frist, boxes for the switches, lights, and electrical outlets are installed.
Next, wires are installed in a way that they run all the from the main fuse box, between boxes, and to every box. The electrician has to follow strict guidelines for the safety and longevity of the electrical system.
Stage 7: Rough HVAC
The term HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. During this stage, HVAC systems are properly roughed out, including where they’ll run to and the location of each control panel.
It also includes running materials that wouldn’t be installed afterward. There’re several heating and air conditioning systems to choose from as per your needs and environment.
Stage 8: Insulation
It’s necessary to install insulation to lower the cost of heating or cooling. Insulation works by limiting heat transfer through surfaces.
For instance, it prevents heat from getting out of your house during winter and prevents heat from getting into your house during summer. This makes it more economical to warm or cool your house as needed.
The process of insulation starts with installing foam channels. The channels are installed within the eaves. They work by allowing airflow throughout the roof and house. In most instances, there’s a plastic barrier mounted on the insulation.
The plastic barrier, also referred to as a vapor barrier, prevents moisture that results from constant cooling and heating from damaging your house. It also prevents mold and other potential issues.
Stage 9: Drywall
Installing the drywall involves mounting the plasterboard to create interior walls. The drywall is solid and often heavy. Installing the drywall takes around two days.
Upon installing the drywall, your house now has a complete structure. A spackling compound is applied on the drywall. This creates a smooth surface for easier painting.
Stage 10: Cabinets and Counters (Bathroom and Kitchen)
At this point, a qualified subcontractor will carefully install bathroom and kitchen cabinets. It’s straightforward to install them. Generally, this task is completed quickly.
The cabinets and counters are aligned on the wall. They’re secured in place with screws. Also, countertops are installed over the cabinets by screwing them in place.
Stage 11: Trim
Upon installing the countertops and cabinets, the next stage involves installing the inner doors. Also, molding is fitted around the baseboards, windows, and doors. The molding acts as the trim. Skirting boards are also installed in this stage.
Stage 12: Painting
Upon installing the trims and molding, it’s time for wallpapering or painting the interior. It may take a lot of time to paint the walls. Also, it requires a lot of time for fresh paint to stop smelling. Before painting, the wall should be primed. Two coats of paint are applied one after the other.
Stage 13: Completing Plumbing and Electrical
At this stage, the plumber and electrician will come back to install the necessary fixtures. The electrician will install cover plates, switches, outlets, and light fixtures.
The plumber, on the other hand, will install faucets, toilets, and sinks. If a water heating unit wasn’t installed when doing rough plumbing, it’ll be installed at this stage.
Stage 14: Flooring and Carpet
After painting, the next stage involves flooring. You can choose between several types of flooring including vinyl, tiles, or carpet among other options.
Ensure painting is done before flooring. Installing the floor material before painting can cause problems since the paint can ruin the flooring with permanent stains.
The size and number of floors you’re covering will determine the time it’ll take to complete the work. Also, some floors may require leveling out or smoothing over before installing the floor material, especially when dealing with a rough concrete floor.
Stage 15: Finishing HVAC
This stage involves doing the finishing touches for the HVAC system. It includes installing the control panels and machines needed to ensure the HVAC system is functional.
It’s a simple task as it only involves doing minimal finishing to create a complete HVAC system.
Stage 16: Hooking Up the Sewer Systems and Water Mains
You can build your septic system and well or hook up your plumbing to the municipal sewer and water lines. If you prefer using your systems, you’ll hire a subcontractor to install a septic tank and drill the well.
Otherwise, the municipality or a subcontractor will hook your plumbing to the municipal lines.
Stage 17: Punch List
Upon completion of the building process, the builder will go through a list known as a punch list. The builder will inspect the list and write down any identified problems or issues.
If any issues are identified, the builder demands the responsible subcontractor to fix them. That way, the house is completed according to acceptable standards.
Once these stages are completed and everything is in order, you can start moving into your new home.
While these stages are followed to ensure your house is built with integrity, there’re many building codes and rules that your builder and subcontractors must follow.
Expenses Involved During Construction
It’s important to know the cost involved during the stages of construction. That way, you’ll know the amount of money you’ll need to complete each stage when building your home. The costs involved are categorized as follows:
- Base – This category includes site preparation and laying the foundation. It comprises 10 percent of the entire contract.
- Framing – Framing comprises 15 percent of the entire contract.
- Lock up – As described earlier on, lock up includes windows and doors. The costs of plumbing and electrics are also included under this category, which accounts for 35 percent of the entire contract.
- Fixing – Fixing includes waterproofing, drywall, insulation, shelving, and cabinetry among other tasks. Fixing accounts for about 20 percent of the entire contract. Ensure you discuss in detail with your home builder about what is to be included and the finishes you need. This is to ensure they only quote what you need.
- Completion – Completion is the last stage of construction and includes making a punch list for any alterations or repairs that should be made. It comprises 15 percent of the entire contract.
- What’s the cost of building a standard house?
The overall price may vary depending on several factors including the location of the site and the design of the house.
You can estimate the cost based on square meters. On average, building a house costs $900 to $5,000 for every square meter.
- What’s the time taken to construct a house?
There’re several factors that determine the time it’ll take to construct a house. Standard houses are built within four to six months.
Building a custom two-story house can take about 12 to 24 months. Production houses can be built within four weeks.