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Home Building Checklist

The easiest way to ensure that your home turns out the way you want it to is to ensure that you have covered all your bases. You need a plan and you need to be organized – just imagine how hectic things will get when you start this massive undertaking. Having a plan of attack will do two things. Firstly, it will keep you from scrambling and bumbling for supplies and blueprints. Secondly, it will save you time and money.

So When do You Start Planning?
The short answer is now and often. Make a checklist of things to do – things you’ll need, or more importantly, what you already have and what you have to work with. Below is a sample checklist and questions you need to have answered before you even start building your dream home. Take the time to examine and cross-examine what you already have and what you will need.

Pre-Construction Checklist for Home Building
Here are some basic things to consider:

1. Have you received a plot plan and do you know the boundaries of your land?

2. Are cantilevers nearer than three feet to the property line/boundary?

3. Will the house you want to build actually fit on the lot?

4. Is the garage on the correct side?

5. Have you photographed the site (from multiple perspectives)?

Here is a sample list to help in your pre-plan:

  • Broken concrete, street asphalt damage
  • Neighbors fences, property
  • Pedestal, transformers, street lights
  • Water meter pits
  • Blue staked electrtic/gas/cable TV locates
  • Will excavation interfere/damage underground utilities?
  • Receive foundation prints
  • 8" or 10" thick walls?
  • Height of walls?
  • Diameter size of caissons?
  • 48" or 52" split required between garage and basement?
  • Haunches, counterforts,
  • Brick ledges
  • Grade beams at walkout basement location
  • Windows beneath beam pocket okay?
  • Rebar nets? Grade and size of rebar
  • Crawl space access locations
  • Heat duct and plumbing knockouts
  • Garage door depression
  • Bolt locations
  • Height rebar is to stick out of caissons
  • Exterior porch caissons requirements
  • Void size and type (cantilevered void required?)
  • Compare window wells with framing prints
  • Not at stair locations, cantilevers, patio, walk ways
  • Hot water heater/furnace pads in crawl space
  • Walk out basement foundation step-downs okay with grade?
  • Windows at step-down locations?

It is important to meet with a contractor and go through this checklist with him. There are many more points of interest – and many specifics – that you should consider.

Construction Checklist for Home Building
Once you’ve carefully had an objective view of your lot, addressed all of your needs, and asked all the questions you’ve needed answered, you can finally begin construction. Time for fun!

You have a blueprint and you know (at least in your own mind) what your house will look like. But a house isn’t just an aesthetic pleasure dome that sits to be gawked at by onlookers. You’re going to need to carefully and meticulously examine everything about the house – what holds it together, how the lighting will be installed, where will electricity come from, what kind of heating/heaters you need, plumbing and sewage.

Again, sit with a contractor and construction team. Go through a checklist with them. Make sure everything is taken care of, and, as always, ask as many questions as you can think of. And have fun!

Here is a sample construction checklist:

  • Foundation wall set
  • Verify beam pockets location, width and height
  • Monopost pads
  • Window bucks in right place
  • Steps
  • Blockouts
  • Garage door block-outs (12" deep, 16' 4" or 8' 4" wide)
  • Garage service door location and block-out (width/depth)
  • Insure 6' 8"(min) headroom at basement stair landing
  • Garage floor elevation above sidewalk (driveway should not have more than a 10% slope)
  • Haunches
  • Brick ledges
  • Top of wall 2'6" above sidewalk (this is an average height)
  • Schedule engineer and city steel inspection
  • Schedule sewer and water
  • Schedule perimeter drain
  • Radon system?
  • Schedule waterproof
  • Schedule under ground plumbing
  • Check foundation for plumb, level, square and per print
  • Meet with framer; run out schedule
  • Have anchor bolts? Have nuts and washers?
  • Hold bolts out of top wall about 3"
  • Save rebar scraps for porch/patio caissons
  • Void inspection required (done before waterproof)?
  • Pump and pour wall
  • Recheck wall for square, bows, brae stair wall
  • Pour furnace pad in crawl space
  • Pour sonotube monpost pads
  • Schedule sewer and water blue stake
  • Schedule void inspection (before waterproof)

Always remember that proper and meticulous planning can save your home from a potential disaster. Make a checklist – many more thorough checklists can be obtained through your contractor and/or a reputable home building company.

And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Strive to understand how your house functions. All this knowledge will help you make a great home and, more importantly, it will help you keep it that way.

Parts of this article have been reprinted from Home Building Manual. To read the full article, please visit HomeBuildingManual.com.

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