Homeowners understandably feel a bit antsy while they’re waiting for their new home to be built. After a flurry of meetings with our architectural planning and design teams, it’s time to sit back and wait for construction — but that’s easier said than done! It’s a bit easier to be patient when you understand what’s happening to your new home in the meantime. In today’s blog, we offer a concise timeline to help you know what to expect during the homebuilding process.
Prior to Construction: City of Austin Pre-Construction Inspection
Before we can break ground on your new home, the site and building plans must be reviewed and approved by the City of Austin. City of Austin staff review the site layout, proposed building measurements and lot size to ensure that they comply with all local building regulations.
Pre-Foundation Construction: Lot Preparation and Plumbing, Electric, Sewer, and Water Lines
Foundation: the word points to a new beginning, the absolute starting point. However, before your builders can begin to lay the foundation, there are a couple of steps we must take to prepare your lot and get it ready for building. Our crews remove trees, brush, and rocks that may pose obstacles to your home’s construction. Teams level the ground and dig out basements, trenches, and holes. Builders then install footings where your new home will meet the soil — concrete forms designed to hold the weight of your home as the soil beneath it compacts. The crew connects the site to plumbing, electric, sewage, and water main lines and installs the proper vents and drains at the connection sites. We also install your sewage cleanout — the connection that delivers wastewater to the City of Austin’s main sewage lines — and prepare the yard area around that site to Austin building code specifications. All of this work must be done well before construction can can begin in earnest.
Once Paradisa construction crews successfully connect the site of your new home to City of Austin main lines, it’s time for another inspection. This time, city employees look at the pipes, connector sites, vents, and drains. They also test the connections, inspecting the water pressure and carefully reviewing the sewage cleanout, tap connectors, and sewer and water yard lines. Trust us, you don’t want anything to go wrong with these!
Framing and Interior: Foundation, Framing, Final Plumbing, and Mechanical Rough Installation
Once we get the go-ahead from building inspectors, we can start the real work of building your home. Here’s where your foundation goes in and where builders construct your home’s frame: the network of timbers and sheathing that will eventually support the finished walls and roofing. Once that skeletal frame is in place, we finish the roof and install the exterior siding to protect the structure from weather. At this point, we also finish out your plumbing systems and electrical wiring, and install heating and air conditioning ventilation pipes. We check that there are openings for returns, air conditioning condensers, air handlers, toilets, hose bibs, lighting and switches, and that these areas are properly prepared. Basically, we get everything ready and in place for your sheetrock and walls to go up.
Halfway Through the Construction Process: First Homeowner Walk-Through
After the foundation and framing are up — and just before the insulation and sheetrock goes in — is your chance to take a look around. Our team will take you on a complete tour of your new home so you can inspect the workmanship and verify that we’re constructing your space to your liking. For a typical 2,500- to 3,000-square-foot home, this occurs about 60 days into the construction process. As you tour your home, our team will guide you through areas of note, like your cabinet placement and your closet design. Scott Paris, head of project management at Paradisa, puts it this way: “At this point, it’s good to get inside the house and see it from a three-dimensional perspective instead of just the two-dimensional plans that we’ve produced.”
Our team works hard to ensure that your home design is approved upfront, thus limiting the number of changes required during the building process. These change orders, as they’re known, can add extra time to your home’s construction, so we try to avoid them so you can move in as quickly as possible. However, if you tour your home at this period and find that something isn’t the way you had imagined it, this first walk-through is your chance to request changes. This is your home after all, so if a door placement feels off or a closet isn’t big enough, we’ll work with you to get you the home of your dreams.
Insulation and Wallboard Installed
If there are no changes, we plunge ahead with the construction, installing your home’s various insulation types and vapor barriers, if necessary. We then hang and tape drywall and add primer and wall textures, if indicated in your home design. Once that dries, it’s time for another inspection.
Framing and Interior Inspection
At this point, a City of Austin inspector drops by again, this time to check the finished plumbing, electrical, mechanical systems, and general construction. The inspector tests all the plumbing systems and looks over the appliance and fixture venting. They ensure that the construction meets safety ordinances — for instance, that stairs are built to code, and that there are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. After a thorough review of your new home’s safety protections, the inspector gives their okay for the next phase of construction to commence.
Final Design Elements Added
Up until this point, the work completed on your new home will have been mostly functional — building the structure and adding protective coverings and features to keep you and your family safe and comfortable. Now it’s time to add the surface elements — paint and trim, fixtures and cabinets, flooring and countertops, outlets and switches, vanities, toilets, and tubs. These are the additions that make a home cozy, comfortable, and appealing. Now our work teams can turn their attention to the outside of your home, forming driveways and walkways and building patios and decks. Landscapers prepare your yard and construct and plant beds.
Near the End of Construction: Second Homeowner Walk-Through
By now, most clients are eager to see how their new homes are progressing. So we give homeowners another chance to walk the site. We go over the landscaping and driveways, and we have a look at the interiors, making sure that all the light fixtures are in the right place and that the design elements look just like you thought they would.
After a few final touches, your home is ready for its final inspection. Inspectors review the home from roof to foundation, probing the exterior finishes, drainage systems, PVC vents, windows, insulation, finished stair systems, and decks. They also check the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, as well as the water meter and shut-off, and look at the final plumbing system. Once they agree that everything is in place and up to code, they give your home a certificate of occupancy — meaning it’s all ready for you.
After Construction: “Blue Tape” Homeowner Walk-Through
We want homeowners to sign off on their new homes before we consider construction complete. Once all the final inspections are complete and concerns have been addressed, we ask clients to give their space one last walk-through. We call this the “blue tape” walk-through because at this point, we give homeowners a roll of blue painters tape that they can use to call out any small repairs or fixes they notice as they walk the house. Typically, these amount to small touch ups: a little paint here, a little trim there.
The whole process takes about 120 days for a typical home, from pre-construction inspections to when we hand you the keys. As Scott says: “We focus hard on scheduling and time management with our trade contractors so that no day is wasted. We make sure that we have at least one contractor working on the house at all times.” Four months may seem like a long time, but it’s nothing compared to how long it would take with a less experienced builder. Here at Paradisa, we work hard to get you moved in quickly, without sacrificing quality. And don’t worry — four months goes by faster than you’d think!