The overview of the house building process...

Below is the master outline generally detailling the steps in he process of building your own house. Each chapter title corresponds with a detail section that is linked with a hyperlink to the section. There are six steps in the process of building your own house. You can cut and paste this section to act as your guideline for building your home. In addition to the six steps and sections, there are supplemental resources that can be used to further refine and define the process for you, such as Paperwork, Who to call, and Permitting.

This site has been written by a professional, Florida state licensed contractor, and while intended to be fairly detailed and comprehensive, some issues may not be discussed in detailed or inadvertently omitted. If anyone needs any clarification, PLEASE EMAIL US AT webmaster@diyhousebuilder.com. Any questions asked will benefit all and we will included them in the text of the web site.

1.     Planning

a.     Finding a  buildable lot

                                                               i.      Fundamentals for determining buildability of lot

                                                             ii.      Perc test for buildable lot (See Terminology)

                                                            iii.      Check for available water on site

1.       Make call to Utilities Department to see is city or county water is available, as well as sewer

2.       If water is not, call several well drillers and ask if they have drilled in that area and if contracted, they would be able to both pull the permit and provide a certification from the Health Department on the potability of the water once drilled.  You will call septic contractors later.

b.    Get a copy of the survey or plot from the prospective seller; make sure house will fit on lot given setbacks and easements.

c.     If sewer is not available, photocopy your copy of the survey and  roughly draw an overhead view of the size house you want.  Make a notation of any adjacent septic systems and wells of the adjoining properties on the this site plan.   Do it to scale as accurately as possible.  Meet with a few septic contractors.  Give them the following information and ask the follow:

                                                               i.      Give them the copy of the site plan you just drew

                                                             ii.      Tell them the square footage under roof

                                                            iii.      Tell them the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the proposed house

                                                           iv.      Ask them if they have ever installed a system in this area

                                                             v.      If yes, ask them the size and confirm that one will fit on your lot

                                                           vi.      Ask them the approximate cost and if they had to do anything extraordinary in the installation

                                                          vii.      Ask them if needed, can they provide septic engineering

d.    Ask seller questions you need to ask (See the Who To Call Page), as well as the Utilities department of your local jurisdiction.

e.    I would not build without assurance of finding potable water if city or county water is not available. Call several well drillers and get hard estimates.  Work out an arrangement to get well drilled quickly to make sure potable water is a certainty.

f.     If power is not currently at your lot, call up local utility company, give them your address for your new lot, and see if a price had been generated by them for bringing power to the lot (if the lot has been platted with the county, it there may be a price developed for it).  If not, make an appointment to meet with one of the sales representatives to get the price for running power to your lot.  I know this sounds odd (calling up your local utility company to set up an appointment with a sales rep, but that is how they do it, especially if you lot has not been platted).  Do not proceed unless you know power is pretty close by (2 or three streets over max or a mile down the road).  When you meet the sales rep, bring a copy of your site plan to show the location of your house (with garage) and maker sure pole/transformer is placed on the same side as the garage, to avoid having to run main feed lines through your attic.

g.    Once you are satisfied with the conditions, buy buildable lot/financing through home construction loan

h.    Pre qualifying for construction loan

i.      Necessary equipment

                                                               i.      Fax machine

                                                             ii.      Copier

                                                            iii.      Computer

                                                           iv.       Adobe Acrobat

                                                             v.       Tabloid printer (optional)

j.     Staging your needs

                                                               i.      Locating inexpensive business to copy your prints

2.       Designing

a.    Getting Plans

                                                               i.      Via www. Homeplans.com

                                                             ii.      Via plans you already have

                                                            iii.      Via you local Building Department

                                                           iv.      Via inventory of plans from Architect of Home Designer

1.       Architect vs. Engineer vs. Home Designer vs. Draftsman

b.    Rework plans to your needs, site conditions, budget.

c.    If in neighborhood, track down deed restrictions and construction restrictions.  You will find the covenants of your lot either from a document held by the secretary of the homeowner’s association, the developer, or the recorded covenants at your local courthouse.  Items to look out for:

                                                               i.      Setback requirements – May exceed what is specified by local jurisdiction (i.e., calls for 50’ front setback versus 20’ setback).

                                                             ii.      Minimum or maximum size for houses

                                                            iii.      Contact information for person or committee if architectural approval is needed

d.    Work on finalizing site plan.  Items to remember are:

                                                               i.      Make sure setbacks conform to most restrictive requirement, as set by county, local jurisdiction, developer, or homeowners association

                                                             ii.      Make sure your setbacks are measured from the eaves, not the corners of the building (i.e., if there is a minimum 50’ setback from the front of the property line to the front of the house, do not use the front of the building walls as the 50’ designation.  Measure from the eaves (the overhangs) of your house, and add 6” to that.  I have failed an inspection when the inspector measured the distance from my front gutter to the front property line.  I talked the inspector into over riding his decision, but only because I was very friendly with him.

                                                            iii.      Include everything that needs to be on it, using your judgment.  Place septic system, leech field, well, as well as all septic systems, leech fields, and wells of all adjoining lots, if possible.  Show place of tentative electric transformer and location of electric service to house.

                                                           iv.      Include site specific land marks, if possible.

                                                             v.      Make sure to draw, or have draw, to scale

                                                           vi.      Provide distances on site plan from property lines to front, sides, and rears.

                                                          vii.      Make sure to draw any easements on the lot.

                                                        viii.      Place a designation specifying NORTH.

                                                           ix.      Include you name, the lot address, and the permit application number on it, if applicable

e.   Finalizing plans for permit package, paying special attention to the following items on the plans:

                                                               i.      Electrical plan

                                                             ii.      Flow of hallways

                                                            iii.      Elevations for windows and doors

                                                           iv.      Placement and elevation of windows

                                                             v.      Pay attention to multi-pitched roof lines

                                                           vi.      Cut sheets for windows/doors/garage doors

                                                          vii.      Detail for butt/aquarium glass

                                                        viii.      Interior Elevations

                                                           ix.      Call sizes for all windows on prints

                                                             x.      Energy calc (Note:  need to know insulation, location of house, windows)

                                                           xi.      Detail for masonry wall

                                                          xii.      Detail for bearing and non-load bearing frame wall, interior and exterior

                                                        xiii.      Truss engineering – may need engineer of record to stamp layout.

                                                        xiv.      Detail for roof

                                                         xv.      Insulation schedule

                                                        xvi.      Roof layout and truss plan

                                                      xvii.      Site Plan, Landscape Plan, and Drainage Plan

f.     Send out working set of plans Requests for Bids for long lead time trades and materials

                                                               i.      Roofing

                                                             ii.      Site Work

                                                            iii.      Kitchen Cabinets

1.       Where to buy – not Home Depot or Lowes

g.    Send out working set of plans for truss layout and pricing

h.   Go to Building Department and pick up applications, and list of required documents.  Ask questions, see it Plans Reviewer will look over plans

i.     Go to Health Department and get health permit for septic system, if necessary

3.       Budgeting and Preconstruction

a.    Develop permit package and submit

                                                               i.      Completed application

                                                             ii.      Completed septic permit with septic engineering, if necessary

                                                            iii.      One to three sets of sealed plans, in necessary

                                                           iv.      Subcontractor verification forms, if necessary

                                                             v.      Copy of deed

                                                           vi.      Copy of site plan

                                                          vii.      Completed driveway application, if necessary

                                                        viii.      Recorded copy of Notice of Commencement, if necessary

                                                           ix.      HVAC Energy Calculations, if necessary

                                                             x.      Check for permit fees

                                                           xi.      Any locally required documents, if necessary

b.    Site inspection with site work contractor

c.    Acquiring Builder’s Risk Insurance

d.    Getting Paperwork Ready

                                                               i.      Contractor/Subcontractor

1.       Master Contract

2.       Scope of Work

3.       Certificate of Insurance, naming you as additionally insured

4.       Worker’s Compensation Insurance policy or Worker’s Compensation Exemption

5.       Complete W-9

6.       Subcontractor Verification Form

7.       Everything in writing

8.       Partial Lien Release

9.       Final lien Release

                                                             ii.      Supplier/Vendor

1.       Certificate of Insurance, naming you as additionally insured

2.       Account application

e.   Getting bids

f.     Letting jobs

g.    Planning Schedules

h.    Review Budgets

i.      Picking up Permit

4.    Construction

a.   Post permit in permit box. Have four corners of the house set with stakes.

b.  Clear lot. Do not fill in lot totally. Set elevation at least 18" above crown of road, to be on the safe side. You will have checked to see what the appropriate minimum height should be.

c.   Have footers dug. You must have your corners and elevation set before this can be done. (Note: the Construction section will detail the crawl space and full basement, in addition to this slab on grade method.

d.   Have steel installed in the footer trenches

e.   Have building footing inspection

f.    Get a Soil Compaction Report done on the lot. Put a copy in the permit box

g.   Have the stemwall built. Have floor backfilled. Make sure a tug wall is built.

h.    Have electrician come and install a panel box and meter box.

i.      Once stemwall is up, have the site surveyed. Get three (3) copies. Give one to The Development, one to the building department, and keep one for your records.

j.     Pay the neighborhood or development slab fee, if any.

k.    Have the plumbing roughed in. Also have the plumbers stub in some temporary water either at the water meter or the reclaimed water. Make sure the concrete company then has the soiled poisoned for termites. Get a copy of the report and make sure a copy is left in the permit box. One is needed for the CO. Also, make sure the concrete contractor covers the soil with visqueen very well.

l.       Have the plumbing inspection

m.   Get the building floor inspection

n.    Pour the floor. Check for level.

o.    Order framing package (only structural is need initially).

p.    Have the building blocked. Check all openings and write all openings on the wall. If incorrect, fix them. You have already ordered the doors and windows.

q.    Once blocked, have the concrete contractor install the lintel steel.

r.     Get a lintel inspection.

s.    Make sure trusses have been delivered. You will receive 2 large books detailing every truss. Keep one in the permit box and one in the office. You need one for the framing inspection.

t.     Have the concrete contractor pour the lintel. Take great precaution in the placement of the hurricane straps. Get on the wall with the truss layout and mark them yourself.

u.    Have framers begin. Make sure framing package has arrived. Make sure framers cut out vents in roof for roofers. Below is the pay schedule you should use:

                                                               i.      50% when roof dried in

                                                             ii.      25% when about to have framing inspection (all windows and doorways bucked)

                                                            iii.      25% when passes framing inspection

v.    When roof sheathed, call for roof sheathing inspection. When passes, have roofers start. Roofers will complain that all holes not cut through (by plumbers and fireplace contractor). This only affects them when they hot mop. They can proceed.

w.   Have the drywall delivered to site at any time now.

x.    When drip edge installed on roof, have fascia and soffit installed.

y.    Make sure framers frame for the fireplace. Once it is done, have the fireplace contractor install the fireplace rough in. The framers can then frame the chimney stack. Once the stack is built, have the fireplace contractor install the cap. You need the cap for the mechanical inspection and before the hot mop.

z.    When framers are about 75% done, have windows and exterior doors installed.  You will need them installed for framing inspection.

aa.   Once framing inspection, schedule in this order:

                                                               i.      Plumbing rough in second

                                                             ii.      Mechanical rough in

                                                            iii.      Electrical rough in

bb.Get all inspections respectively.

cc. When all inspections pass, have wall insulation installed, if any.

dd.Get building wall insulation inspection. Make sure all holes are foamed.

ee.Keep an eye out for the roofers. Once the roof is essentially tiled, begin the pool.  The pool contractor will schedule his own inspections.

ff.  The roofer at this point will handle his own inspections and pace. He will need lead caps for all the plumbing vents. Order them from Leeds and leave them in the garage.

gg.  Once all inspections have passed, have housed stuccoed. You will have some small areas that will have to get a building lathe inspection. Wrap the lathe around the chimney on the first day and have it inspected the next day.

hh.   Once the house is stuccoed, have it painted outside. Begin to backfill and grade lot. You can begin the driveway now.

ii.    At any time you can have water service and sewer installed, along with a backflow device. The backflow device must be certified for final inspection.

jj.   On the inside of the house, have the drywall installed and textured.

kk.Once the drywall is up, have the painter shoot the entire inside of the house and the trim, molding, and doors.

ll.    Have the interior trim package and interior doors delivered a day or so after texturing is done. Also, have the under mount sinks delivered.

mm.   Install the attic ladder

nn.   Once the trim is down and the molding up and the interior doors hung, schedule the flooring contractor to install the tile. Hardwood floors and carpet can wait, if needed.

oo.   Order the appliances and lighting package.

pp.   Once the ceilings are painted, have the garage doors installed (two week lead time). Install temporary locks.

qq.   Once the inside is painted, have the cabinets and vanities installed.

rr.     Have the interior doors installed, as well as the trim, molding, and columns.

ss.    Have the countertops/under mount sinks and fireplace granite installed.

tt.      Have the glass and mirrors installed.

uu.   Once the glass and mirrors are installed, have the lighting contractor install the light fixtures.

vv.   Have appliances delivered, including range hood fan.

ww. Schedule the mechanical contractor to do his fmal trim out. Have the trim carpenters install range hood.

xx.   Schedule the insulation contractor to blow the attic insulation.

yy.   Once the ceramic tile is down and grouted, schedule the plumbers for final trim out. Once the plumbers have installed the hot water tank, schedule the electricians.

zz.    When the plumber is done, schedule the plumbing final inspection.

aaa.   When the electrician is done, schedule the electrical and mechanical final inspections. If you have not had the hardwood floor and carpet installed, do it now.

bbb.   Have the irrigation and landscape installed, you can really begin this at any time after the driveway is poured and after the pool is started.

ccc. Have the painters to a final touch up continuously through the process. Have them paint the garage floor last.

ddd.  Have a final building inspection.

eee.  Once the last building inspection passes, pick up the CO. You will need the following:

                                                               i.     A check for the fees due (available online)

                                                             ii.      A check for the water service impact fees

5.       Landscaping

6.       Postconstruction

a.       Collect all final lien releases