The building construction process can be a complicated process. There are numerous steps in building construction from design to finishing. Whether you are needing a contractor to perform an apartment renovation, construct a commercial building or build a home, the building construction process is very similar. Here we explore the building construction process from start to finish. Also see our building construction process flow chart below.
1. Making Plans
The first step in any construction project is making plans. How big of a building to you want to construct? How many rooms? How many bathrooms? It will be easy to plan if you have a limitless budget. However, it can get a little tricky if you have a limited if you haven’t decided on a budget yet. That brings us to our next step:
2. Select a Budget
Choose the budget on how much you would like to spend on the building construction process. This will help when it comes to choose materials. The larger your budget the better materials you can use to construct the building with and the more features it will likely come with.
3. Choose A Construction Company
Usually, a construction company is able to help you make plans and choose a budget. Making plans, selecting a budget and choosing a contractor are the 3 main steps of starting any type of building construction project. Read our hiring a contractor checklist for more information on choosing a construction company.
4. Attain Permits & Insurance
You are more than likely going to have to have a permit for your project. Many times, you might need to receive a permit from places such as the city, state, or other various agencies. If you do not get the permit needed it could cause your project to be slowed down or even brought to a halt, and there may end up being fines that you have to pay later.
The insurance is a significant part of the things you will need, as it is meant to protect both, you and your contractor as well.
5. Preparation of the Site:
Now that you have a permit it is time to get started. Your contractor will be installing temporary utilities and facilities such as restrooms, water, light and power. They will be building retaining walls, drilling wells, installing septic systems, installing drain fields, trenching utilities, laying down access roads and excavating foundations. Your construction company will coordinate this work for you based on the plans you proposed. Your interaction with the contractor at this point will be limited.
Plan correctly and make sure the contractor does to. Check in with them and make sure all heavy equipment doesn’t need to come back multiple times if the job could be completed in 1 day etc. This will help you save on mobilization cost of heavy machinery.
At many different points of the construction process, your contractor will call for inspections from application organizations. You won’t have that many problems with inspections as long as your contractor follows approved plans and uses standard building practices. Inspections are usually completed within 1-2 days.
7. Laying the Foundation:
Building foundations are typically made out of concrete and other materials. To start, workers take wood and create a mold for the concrete. The contractor will usually place rebar in the molds to add additional strength to the concrete. At this stage of the building construction process other objects will be installed such as post base brackets and anchor bolts. Expect a rebar inspection after completion of the foundation being laid. Laying the foundation usually take a 2-3 days.
8. Framing the Building:
The next step of the building construction process is erecting the skeleton of the building. There are four types of framing methods but the most common method in stick framing. Stick framing uses steel or wooden studs to construct the frame of the building piece by piece. It is then covered with wood sheeting to create the enclosure. Its a affordable and fast technique that allows most homes or buildings to be framed up in 2-4 weeks.
9. Doors & Windows
Following the framing process comes the external doors and winds. There are all different types of window materials to choose from including composite, aluminum, wood, fiberglass and vinyl. There are also different styles such as double hung and bay. Furthermore, you also get the chance to choose energy efficient windows such as double pane or triple pane windows which are great for saving money on electricity and preventing UV rays. REM A D Window Repair has a great guide that goes over the cost of window installation and window installation options.
Just like windows, doors also come with many different options, styles, energy savings and security qualities. You can choose a custom entry door which will cost you more or choose a standard door which will save you money. Furthermore, choosing to install a security door will ensure your building is safe from intruders and other benefits.
10. Siding & Roofing:
Siding comes with many different options such as wood, steel, aluminum, cedar, fiber cement and vinyl siding. Fiber Cement siding will cost you the most but last you the longest. Wood siding is a inexpensive options but is not great for the Arizona sun. Learn more about the cost of home siding here.
Choosing the type of roof you want can be a little tricky as well. There are so many different types of roofing systems that it makes it a little difficult to decide on one. You can choose from tile roofing, metal roofing, shingle roofing, foam roofing and more. Foam roofing has great energy efficiency qualities that can save you a ton of money on electricity if you have a flat roof.
11. Mechanical & Electrical Preparation
Subcontractors will begin installing ducts for HVAC, outlet boxes for electricity and pipes for plumbing. The subcontractors will come back to install other fixtures such as lights and toilets after installing insulation, drywall and painting.
12. Installing Insulation
Insulation is important to keep your home feeling comfortable, offer some sound proofing qualities and save you money on electricity. There are many different types of insulation that are used in the building construction process. Batts or rolls of fiberglass insulation are installed between wood studs, blown-in insulation is installed in the attic and spray foam is used to fill in any gaps between the studs.
13. Installing Drywall
Most homes and commercial building use install drywall over the studs to cover the interior walls of the building. This is an inexpensive way to pre-finish the walls and get them ready for priming and painting.
14. Prime & Painting
The residential painting process includes priming with 1 coat of primer and painting with 2 coats of paint. When choosing the color you will also get the opportunity to choose how shiny the gloss or sheen will be. Choose from gloss (most shiny), semi-gloss, satin, eggshell and matte (least shiny).
15. Choose Your Flooring
There are many different types of flooring to choose from including, hardwood flooring, vinyl flooring, laminate flooring, engineered flooring and tile or natural stone flooring. While hardwood flooring may look the best, it also costs the most and needs to most maintenance. Choosing engineered hardwood flooring could save you a ton of money and achieve nearly the same look.
16. Molding & Trim
Trim includes wainscot, crown molding and base trim. These elements can dramatically change the look of the entire home. Your building contractor can help you understand the different trim profiles to find the best one for you. Trim can be made out of primed MDF, primed wood and wood. Do this step yourself to save even more money.
17. Mechanical & Electrical Installations
This is where the subcontractors come back to install grilles, registers, lights, fans, light switches, outlets, showers, toilets and sinks. You will be very involved in this process as you can choose the types of sink, fan, lights etc. to customize the interior part of the home just the way you like it.
18. Installing Cabinetry & Countertops
This is where you get to decide what type of cabinetry you want to select. MK Remodeling has a great cabinetry buying guide that can help you decide what type of cabinetry you would like to install. You can choose the color, style, type of cabinet door and more.
Choosing countertops can also be a tough decision as there are so many different types of countertop materials to choose from such as marble, granite, quartz, stainless steel and more.
19. Exterior paint:
Now your new building is nearly completed! The contractor will now paint the exterior of your new structure (unless it calls for a siding that is pre-finished). Typically 2 coats of primer will be applied first followed by 2 coats of paint. Choose a high quality paint as it can cover better than cheap paint, lowering material, time and labor costs.
The landscape consists of a site cleanup, which may include the cleanup of gravel and also turf, shrubs, and trees. Both, the accessibility of your new structure and the aesthetic nature can be increased due to how your landscaping is designed. Landscaping offers many different ways to customize your front or backyard. You can choose to install waterfalls, hardscape elements, outdoor kitchens and more. If you are building in Arizona, visit Arte Verde for a list Arizona Landscaping Ideas.
21. Completion List
A completion list or punch list is a list the contractor uses to complete the final walkthrough. This list is used to point out all of the things which were not done according to the original plans and/or things that may not have the quality of workmanship that is sufficient to the importance of the structure. The punch list could also include things that you have decided to do differently, creating a need for a ‘Change order’ (See below).
22. The Finished Project:
Congratulations, your new building is now completed!
Your investment will be enjoyable for years to come, thanks to the great contractor you hired to do the job. Remember, that with proper maintenance, your investment can continue growing too.
Note: Contractors will usually specify if they are going to be cleaning up the building and/or site when they are finished, if yours states that they will be leaving it in a ‘broom cleaned’ condition you might want to make an arrangement with your contractor a head of time for it to be professionally cleaned when it is completed.
23. The Warranty Period:
Many contractors will offer you a warranty on the work they provide to you. Which goes to say, should you later discover incorrect construction (during the period that the warranty covers), the contractor is obligated to come back and fix or replace it without any more charges occurring.
However, the materials, and/or appliances will not usually be covered in the contractor’s warranty, for these items it will be necessary for you to get a warranty straight from the manufacturer, or from the distributor of those items, this of course, does not always include labor charges.
Other Building Construction Factors
Things such as water, sewer, utilities, power, and even communications, will more than likely be placed at various stages of the building process. For instance, water has to be piped in, so that it can run from either a well or maybe a municipal water system, and lead to the structure itself.
Other than the piping that brings in the water, there is additional plumbing that runs (or is casted) throughout the foundation of the structure and extends through the frame to all the areas that is going to need running water, such as toilets, sinks, and other appliances, which themselves are installed during the interior process of construction.
There will need to be inspections made of the structure throughout the building process, this is performed by government officials (more than likely, the ones who required you to get permits). The inspections could include the structure, building codes, HVAC, electrical, utilities, and etc. There will be a final inspection conducted at the end of the construction process.
Contractors communicate with you regarding such things as price changes, schedules, and adding on additional work. They happen in one of two ways, which are: When you add on or remove some of the original design; and when there are issues that are beyond the contractor’s ability to see a head of time. Sometimes there are change orders when the original options you chose turn out to be more than you budget allowance.
Change orders need to be given to you in writing and include any estimate of the expected increase or decrease on the time and money to be involved.