Building a house can seem like an overwhelming task for the novice. But the dream of owning a house that is brand new, built to the specifications of the homeowner, is often powerful enough to overcome any fears of the unknown. There are standard components of building a house. Of course, if the house you are building is non-traditional, such as a straw-bail structure or subterranean home, then some of these components would not apply.
Residential property needs to be obtained for the building site. When purchasing land, the buyer must verify what utilities are available. Another consideration is sewage treatment. If the property is not connected to a sewer system, a perc-test must be done to determine the best type of septic system for the property. A perc test is basically a hole drilled on the lot, which is filled with water to calculate how long it takes to absorb into the ground. Another consideration is the slope of the lot, and how much excavation is needed.
House plans must be drawn to map out the floor plan or design of the building. This is often done by an architect. Engineering will need to be done to calculate such details as the necessary size of the heating and cooling system, and the design of the roof trusses.
Building plans must be submitted and approved through the local building department. During the building process, the building inspectors will inspect each building stage of the project. If they do not sign off on a stage, changes or corrections must be made before the building can continue to the next stage. When the project is complete, a certificate of occupancy will be issued stating the house can be occupied.
After grading and preparing the lot, the foundation is poured. A foundation is not necessarily concrete, yet in many regions it is a preferred choice to help discourage subterranean termites. In some rainy areas, the structure may be built on pillars. During this stage, lines for pumping and electrical can be laid.
Framing goes up fairly quickly, often within a couple of days. At this point some first-time home builders get over optimistic, assuming the entire project will go as quickly. Framing is in essence the building's skeleton. During this phase, different plumbing fixtures, such as toilets and bathtubs, may be set.
The windows are set and the outer walls, insulation, roofing and drywall are installed. Drywall can take several weeks, as it is a process that is completed in a series of steps. Drywall is hung, seams are taped, coating is applied and must be dried. This phase in the construction will seem much longer than laying the foundation and framing.
During the finished phase of the house a new home builder may once again grow optimistic and assume the home is virtually ready for occupancy. This is a false assumption. There is still much work to be done. During the finish stage walls are painted, final electrical and heating and cooling systems are completed, cabinets are finished, flooring is installed, and the site needs to be cleaned.
- Photo Credit A. Johnson
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