Most custom home buyers are anxious to get started with the construction of their home once a lot has been identified. Before construction can begin, the build site has to be prepared in a process we call “Site Prep.” In this phase, we demolish structures and features that are not in the final plan, grade the lot, and prepare the site for utilities.
Site prep can sometimes be started before obtaining the official building permit. However, we only recommend this if it’s a vacant lot. If there is an existing home on the lot, we recommend waiting until receiving the building permit from the city. This is to make sure the city approves the house you want to build. If for some reason the city does not approve your plans, you will still have the existing home on the lot and can resell it.
Prior to removing any existing improvements such as a home, storage buildings, driveways, etc.; we will terminate any utilities including electricity, gas, water, and sewer.
The process to disconnect the utilities typically takes two to three weeks as we have to coordinate with the utility companies who work on their own timeline.
We will have power installed to a temporary utility pole during the construction phase of the project. In addition, we will install a water spigot at the water meter so water is available for demo and general cleanup.
This process can be a little frustrating in some cases, as we are at the mercy of the utility companies when connecting the temporary power and water. The time frame could range from a couple of days to up to a week or more.
Trees that will remain on the lot will be cordoned off to help protected from damage that construction can cause. However, even though we take precautions and handle with care, there is no guarantee that trees will survive the build process.
If the lot has existing improvements such as a home, storage buildings, driveways, etc.; we will remove them as detailed on the design drawings. The demolition may also include any trees that will not remain on the lot.
Demolition usually takes two to five days, but can take longer depending on the size of the existing improvements.
Lot Grading and Dirt Work
The lot will be rough-graded once the demolition is complete to provide a more level and safe work environment, as well as to help with water drainage during construction. In addition, dirt could be added or removed to help meet the above objective (depending on the need).
The lot can usually be graded in one day, but can sometimes be impacted by unfavorable weather conditions.
Protective fencing will be placed around the lot perimeter to help prevent trespassing and theft. The fencing will remain in place until, at a minimum, the house is secured with the exterior doors.
In most cases, the protective fencing is removed when it’s time to install “flatwork.” Flatwork is items like driveways, patios, and sidewalks.
Temporary facilities will be available for the workers throughout the construction process. A seven-foot wooden fence is built around the port-a-can to make it look a little nicer for you and your neighbors.
A dumpster will remain onsite for most of the construction process. This is to remove construction debris above and beyond the initial demolition.
Site preparation typically takes three to four weeks (not including the fencing, restroom facilities, and dumpsters) and normally ranges between $5.00 and $7.00 per square foot. Once the site is prepared construction can begin.
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