Custom Home Building Guide Tips 8-10:
Regular Weekly Communication With Your Builder
Throughout this entire process, you’re going to want to maintain regular communication with your builder- ideally once a week or more. It goes without saying that you’re probably busy, with work, family, or social events, but the only way you’re going to build the home of your dreams, without cost overruns, and on time, is with clear communication before and during your custom home build construction project.
There should never be a time during the project where you feel like a bystander or onlooker. You want to be “in the loop” when it comes to new developments and knowing what is going on with your project. To do this you’ll want to receive weekly status updates from your builder, either through email, phone, text, or a combination of all three. The key is remembering that you need to be an active participant in the process. Your builder should be accountable to you throughout.
In simple terms, a custom home construction punch list is a list of items towards the end that need to be completed before a construction project is completely finished. Builders and their subcontractors track these “to-dos” on a punch list to make sure that they’re able to complete each item, ideally on time and at or under budget.
For example, let’s say you’re near the finish line for your custom new build in your community, but you’ve still got a couple of loose ends to tie up before you can put the project in the books and move into your new dream home. It’s not always easy to keep track of every single item, particularly if you’re not well-versed in the construction industry, as many clients undoubtedly aren’t. You can use your own list of tasks, aka a punch list, to compare notes with the builder and double-check that each item is completed before closing. This is usually a site walk with the builder’s superintendent or project manager and the homeowner, to identify and discuss the remaining items to be completed. Once all outstanding items have been finished, the homeowner will verify and sign off on a final site walk.
Audio Video Before Framing
Audio, video and automation setups are a must-have for a modern custom luxury home in 2022. Some client’s taste is more simple -sound in some areas, a surround sound setup, TV and internet in bedrooms and some security sensors or cameras. While others opt for full home automation with lighting, climate, security, motorized shades, specialty speakers, and so much more. These components need to be wired and framed prior to the framing being closed in with insulation and drywall in a new build. Some examples include;
-Cavity for hidden video displays behind a mirror
-Cavity for motorized shades
-Cavity for hidden drop screens or projects
-Speakers hidden in the wall
-Compartments for hiding equipment stacks
In most cases, you’re going to meet with a low voltage A/V provider early on in the build to firm up specs and wiring design, typically during the architecture design phase.
Any builder worth their salt will schedule regular milestone site walkthroughs with customers. They will do this for several reasons, including keeping the customer informed of the build, and creating an opportunity for the client to get a feel for the progress and ask any questions about the build. Additionally, customers have the ability to make some on-site decisions on various items- like adding electrical outlets, or fine-tuning the framing or drywall detail on special features. Perhaps most importantly, it provides an opportunity for the builder to show that they are being accountable to the agreed-upon schedule.
Keep in mind that this does not mean clients can show up whenever they want. Each visit needs to be scheduled in advance, not only for safety and liability reasons, but also to ensure that work flows smoothly and the builder, contractors, and subcontractors are not slowed down or otherwise inconvenienced by the client showing up at random times. In many cases, builders will schedule walkthroughs at specific milestones during the project, including:
-During/after the foundation is backfilled
-At the end of framing
-During electrical/low voltage install
-At the beginning of the punch list
-After the punch list is completed, at closing when the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is issued