Custom Homes 101: Everything You Need to Know About Building Your New Home on Schedule

Photography by Lisa Russman

You’ve decided to build a custom home. Great! That is exciting, and of course, you want your new home finished as quickly as possible so that you can start enjoying your house, right? Like you, custom home builders want your house to be completed on time and on budget, so what can you do to help ensure this happens? Here are some tips to help keep the construction of your new home on schedule.

Agree on Your Design Before You Start Construction
Some of the most significant delays that happen during the construction of beautiful custom homes are when the homeowner decides to make changes to the plans after construction has begun. What may seem like a simple change on paper can have huge consequences when it comes to implementing them. It is not as simple as moving a line on a piece of paper — all changes will delay the outcome. Make sure that you and your residential architect have finalized your custom home plans before you break ground, and if you choose to change them later, realize that this will affect your timeline. 

Review Your Master Schedule and Understand It Completely
The job of the architect as a project manager is to create the master schedule before construction begins, then ensure that all contractors and sub-contractors follow this timeline. Talk with your architect about any questions you have about this schedule, including how firm various goals and milestones are. Sometimes, these are hard and fast targets, and other times, they are estimates based on many variables. Find out how you can play an active role in making sure things are completed on time and follow through with any tasks that are your responsibility. 

Understand the Contingency Plans
Even the best-laid schedules can get off track due to weather, supply problems, or unforeseen circumstances. Custom home builders are adept at identifying potential risks in your schedule while crafting backup plans for those most likely to impact your completion date. Discuss how these contingency plans could influence your overall budget and make sure they understand your hard limits when it comes to overages in time or costs. 

Communicate Regularly
Most construction projects get delayed because of a series of minor hiccups rather than one big problem. The best way to avoid these is to keep track of the daily progress and identify these types of issues quickly so that they can be resolved. You must have an open and honest relationship with your residential architect so that you create an effective team that works together on this project. 

Work the Problem
Projects such as the construction of beautiful custom homes get behind for several reasons. Many homeowners panic at the first sign of trouble and start looking for easy or quick solutions instead of figuring out what the problem is first. Before you can fix a problem, you need to know what is wrong. Talk with your architect about the source of the delay and make sure you have all the information necessary before deciding how to resolve the scheduling problem. This will save you money and time in the end. 

Be Flexible
Even the best architects and the most well-thought-out custom home plans and schedules can’t ensure that your new home will be ready on the exact date you want. Things happen, and delays should be a part of your expectations. In the grand scheme, does one extra week influence your lifetime of enjoyment of your great, new space? Probably not. When possible, be flexible and appreciate that your architect is doing everything possible to get your house finished as quickly as possible.

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