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The Building Sequence


It's fairly self evident that to successfully build a home, you need to know not only the parts involved, but just as important, how they all go together . . . and in what order!

Here then is a description, in broad terms, of the actual construction sequence for a typical home.

An important disclaimer is in order here.

Many things including, among others, the area of the country where it is being built, the design of the home, the availability of subs and materials, and the preference of the contractor, i.e. you, determine the actual sequence of construction. Here's an example:

Many builders prefer to delay pouring the driveway until the end of the project.

This is to prevent damage by heavy equipment like the drywall delivery truck, and to conserve construction loan interest, since concrete is fairly expensive.

There is a builder in Atlanta who likes to pour his driveway as soon as the foundation is in. When you go to his site, you are always able to stay out of the mud!



In addition, as you will discover in the pages on planning your construction
schedule
, frequently more than one construction activity can be going on at the same time!

 

With all that in mind, here is a general construction sequence with a brief explanation where terms may be unfamiliar. You will get greater detail on all of these as you link to their own page.


1. STAKE LOT
2. TEMPORARY UTILITIES
3. CLEAR AND ROUGH GRADE
4. WELL
5. EXCAVATE
6. FOOTINGS
7. FOUNDATION
8. WATERPROOF AND FOUNDATION DRAIN
9. SEWER AND WATER TAPS
10. BACKFILL
11. SLAB PLUMBING
12. SLAB OR BASEMENT FLOOR
13. FRAMING, WINDOWS, AND EXT DOORS
14. EXTERIOR SIDING AND TRIM
15. GARAGE DOOR AND EXTERIOR LOCKS
16. BACK-OUT FRAMING
17. FIREPLACE AND CHIMNEY
18. STAIRS
19. ROUGH HVAC
20. ROUGH PLUMBING
21. ROOFING
22. ROUGH ELECTRICAL
23. ELECTRIC & GAS METER SET
24. GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS
25. EXTERIOR PAINT
26. INSULATION
27. TEMPORARY HEAT
28. DRYWALL
29. CABINETS
30. INTERIOR DOORS AND TRIM
31. PAINT AND WALLPAPER
32. WOOD FLOORS
33. COUNTER TOPS
34. VINYL AND CERAMIC TILE
35. SAND AND FINISH WOOD FLOORS
36. APPLIANCES & SPECIAL EQUIPM'T
37. FINISH ELECTRICAL
38. FINISH PLUMBING
39. FINISH HVAC & FINAL HEAT
40. SHOWER DOORS AND MIRRORS
41. CARPET
42. HARDWARE AND SCREENS
43. DRYWALL REPAIRS
44. CLEAN UP
45. FINAL PAINT
46. FINAL WOOD FLOOR FINISH
47. RETAINING WALLS
48. WALKS, DRIVES, AND PATIOS
49. SEPTIC TANK AND DRAIN FIELD
50. FINISH GRADING & LANDSCAPING



1. STAKE LOT

This will usually involve a surveyor who will come out and accurately drive stakes to locate your home on the lot. They will be used by the excavators and foundation subcontractors to guide their work.

Temporary Electric "Saw Service"2. TEMPORARY UTILITIES
You will need to have water, electric power, and toilet facilities available during the construction process.

3. CLEAR AND ROUGH GRADE
Clearing is the removal of trees and undergrowth from the actual construction site and yard areas.

Rough grading is moving the dirt around to establish the approximate drainage patterns, yard areas, drive and walk levels, etc. that you hope to achieve.

Clearing The Lot

 

Basement Excavation4. WELL
If you are going to have a well, you might as well dig it up front so that you will have the water available for construction.

5. EXCAVATE
This is where a piece of earth-moving equipment digs the hole for your foundation, and, if you will have one, your basement.

6. FOOTINGS
This is the structure where the house interfaces with the earth that supports
it. All of the weight of the home rests on the footings.

7. FOUNDATION
The foundation is the wall on which the first floor rests. It may be short - if you will have a crawl space, or tall - if you will have a
basement.

8. WATERPROOFING AND FOUNDATION
DRAIN

A waterproofing material or membrane (or both) is applied to the foundation walls which will be below grade to minimize water accumulating in the basement or in the crawl space. Foundation drains run along the footings and remove water accumulating in that area.


Water Meter Pit

9. SEWER AND WATER TAPS
If you are connecting to municipal water and sewer, this is where the pipes are laid to the house and actually connected (tapped into) the water and sewer mains.

10. BACKFILL
Pushing the excavated dirt into the hole next to the foundation wall around the house (inside and out). This is a good time to establish the necessary drainage away from the house at the foundation wall.

Slab Plumbing11. SLAB PLUMBING
Any plumbing that needs to go into the basement floor is installed here.

12. SLAB OR BASEMENT FLOOR
The “slab” is the concrete basement floor. It is poured at this point. In some parts of the country, plans may call for a “structural wood floor” (more on this later). Now is when it would be installed.

13. FRAMING, WINDOWS, AND EXTERIOR DOORS
This is where it starts to look like a house! The floors, walls, ceiling, and roof are the focus of this construction activity. The framer usually installs the windows and exterior doors.

14. EXTERIOR SIDING AND TRIM
Whatever you’re using - brick veneer, siding, stucco, etc.- here is where it gets done.

15. GARAGE DOOR AND EXTERIOR LOCKS
Some people wait until the end to get the garage door in. But we think having it in place creates a good place to store materials and equipment during construction. Installing the exterior locks means that the wholehouse is secure.

16. BACK-OUT FRAMING
This is a general category that includes partition walls that have not been installed, pillars, soffits for wall cabinets, and drywall nailers.

17. FIREPLACE AND CHIMNEY
A prefabricated fireplace should be installed before the roughs (below). A prefab will have a framed chimney. A masonry fireplace and chimney can be installed before the brick veneer (see “Exterior Siding and Trim” above).

18. STAIRS
Get these in now so that the subs working inside can get from one floor to the other without depending on ladders.

19. ROUGH HVAC
The HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) sub is the first of the three “mechanical” subs (plumbing, electrical, HVAC) to come to the job. He will install the duct work for your HVAC system and possibly the furnace. He comes first because the stuff he puts into the walls is the biggest and most inflexible.

20. ROUGH PLUMBING
Next comes the plumber to install his pipes.

21. ROOFING
With plumbing and HVAC vent pipes through the roof, the roofer can install the roofing.

The Electrician22. ROUGH ELECTRICAL
Codes call for the house to be “dried in” before the wiring is installed. With the exterior windows and doors in place and the roof on, it’s time. For roughs, the electrician will put in the boxes (switch, outlet, and lighting) and will pull the wires into them. Cable, telephone, speakerwires, etc. are also installed at this point.



23. ELECTRIC & GAS METER SET

You’ll need these in place to get some heat in the house for the drywall installation.

24. GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS
It’s good to get the water away from the house as soon as possible.

25. EXTERIOR PAINT
Many surfaces on the outside need to be protected from the elements. So you’ll want to paint as soon as is practical.

26. INSULATION
Once everything else is in the walls and rough inspections are completed, it’s time to insulated your home.

27. TEMPORARY HEAT
With the meters set (above), the HVAC sub can get some temporary heat in the house. This will be critical for getting the drywall joint compound (mud) to dry in a timely fashion. The carpet sub also needs a warm home so that the carpet is installed at a temperature comparable to normal living conditions.

28. DRYWALL
Sometimes called “Sheetrock®.” This will be “hung” (nailed or screwed to the wall studs and ceiling joists), taped (at the joints), and “mudded” (joint compound applied) . . . after the in-wall plumbing, HVAC, electricals, and insulation have been inspected!

29. CABINETS
Base and wall.

30. INTERIOR DOORS AND TRIM
The trim materials installed here may include the door casing, base mould, window stool and apron, window casing, chair rail, crown mould, built-in cabinets, stair railing parts, and others.

31. PAINT AND WALLPAPER
The first coat of paint is usually sprayed. Get it in before the hard wood floors are installed.

32. HARDWOOD FLOORS
Now it’s time to install your hardwood floors.

33. COUNTER TOPS
Counter tops are next. this may involve a different sub than the one who installed the cabinets.

34. VINYL AND CERAMIC TILE
Vinyl floor coverings and ceramic tile are installed. Two different subs. Probably should have made these two different steps, but I was trying to make it come out to an even 50!

35. SAND AND FINISH WOOD FLOORS
This is the first of two finishes. The last is done just before you move in.

36. APPLIANCES AND SPECIAL EQUIPMENT
This would include all of your major appliances - washer, dryer, range, oven, refrigerator, as well as any other special equipment you have specified.



37. FINISH ELECTRICAL

Here is where the electrician comes back to install the switches, outlets, light fixtures, ceiling fans, door bells, etc. He will also hook up the appliances, furnace, air conditioner, doorbell, and so forth.



38. FINISH PLUMBING

The plumber will install the sinks, lavatories,
toilets, and all the faucets.


39. FINISH HVAC & FINAL HEAT

Your heating sub will install the registers and get the furnace and air conditioning running properly.


40. SHOWER DOORS AND MIRRORS

Install shower doors. Hang mirrors.

41. CARPET
Now it’s starting to feel like home!

42. HARDWARE AND SCREENS
Typically, this is door, window, and closet hardware. Window screens.

43. DRYWALL REPAIRS
You may need to get the drywall subcontractor back out to patch some dings caused by the other subs’ work. This is normal.

44. CLEAN UP
This is the final interior clean up.

45. FINAL PAINT
Touching up drywall repairs and so forth.

46. FINAL WOOD FLOOR FINISH
This should be your last inside job before moving in.

47. RETAINING WALLS
These outside jobs can be going on while the work proceeds inside. You should not have these going on while the outside is being painted.

48. WALKS, DRIVES, AND PATIOS
You should wait until the drywall has been delivered to the home, because the drywall truck is VERY heavy, and could damage your flat work

49. SEPTIC TANK AND DRAIN FIELD
Same as above on the timing with regard to the drywall delivery. The tank holds the waste and allows microbic action on the solids. The drain field is where the effluent leaches into the soil.


50. FINISH GRADING AND LANDSCAPING

The final finished grades are established to ensure proper drainage away from the home, and to prepare the yard for landscaping. Trees, shrubs, grass, etc. are installed.




We hope this overview of a typical construction sequence has been helpful in allowing you to get a grasp of the totality of your home building project. As we have said many times, building a home is not that difficult - if you understand the steps involved. Knowledge is the key!

 

Moving Ahead

If you are "following the tabs," out next step is an overview of the superintending function, with additional details on it's linked pages. Click here for Construction Management!


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