Planning A Construction Project

Construction and design of a home can be very complex. Even more, the items that tend cause pain points during a project sometimes don’t include the actual construction. The are the pre-planning procedures that ultimately set up the project for success or failure. Here are a couple items to keep in mind when planning your next project.

Land Survey

  • One of the most important items to have as an owner of the property and before moving forward with a construction project is an accurate property survey. This drawing is produced before any of the design completed and the nice materials picked. This typically includes existing site grading and slopes, potential utility easements and utility points of connection within the property.
  • This survey is then provided to the architect or building in order to have proper site planning completed. What is a Land Survey
Photo by Rene Asmussen on

How Much Building Do You Need

  • Why are you building! It might seem like a simple question but it can save you from some unwanted spending. Do you really need to double the size of your home or can you add a support spaces such as study, storage and restroom while reconfiguring your existing interior. Given that the national average to build can range from $85-200 per square foot (Cost To Build a Home), being conservative in space needs is the best way to go for most home owners.

Bidding and Contractor Relationship

  • Having the support of a qualified professional early on in the project is extremely valuable. Hiring an experience architect or designer is the first step but having the input from a builder early on is a critical second step. This can input can help with making critical cost decisions (Value Engineer) while maintaining the project design intent clear.
  • Typical residential projects are designed, permitted, bid and then built. Which has been a proven method but lacks early cost and constructability feedback early in the process. Project delivery methods such as Design-Build, allow for earlier contractor-architect-owner collaboration.

Project Timeline – Approvals and Construction

  • The way I like to think about dealing with public agencies is, it will always take longer than what you think. The best way to find out how long it will take to get a building permit is to ask at your Building Department. Some simple Over-The-Counter permits can be pulled same day as long as you have a drawing to present to an engineer. While larger projects such as additions and new units can take any where between 1-month to 2 years depending your specific neighborhood  review, local HOA and Planning/Building department work load.
  • Rule of thumb go to your local city hall and talk to all the departments in order to get an estimate approval timeline.

These are by no means all encompassing but are the some of the pain points (not directly related to construction) that can significantly ease the overall project completion.


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