Pre-construction & Lot Preparation

After completion of your home design, finalization of pricing and consummating our relationship with the signing of a construction contract, we enter the pre-construction & lot preparation stage. Many simultaneous activities occur during this stage.

Key Steps:

  • Pre-construction meetings
  • Obtain permits
  • Clear your lot
  • Install erosion control
  • Excavate
  • Set up temporary electric service
  • Establish project-specific insurance

Related Municipality Inspections:

  • Temporary electrical power
  • Plumbing – water service
  • Plumbing – sewer service

Key Steps Explained:

While pricing of your home is wrapping up, we perform an internal pre-construction meeting or plan review. We review the plot plan, foundation plan, floor plans and elevations, discussing and planning for things like tree clearing, the balance of dirt (amount produced from excavation vs. needed for grading), wall heights, complicated framing details, structural requirements and special trim details, to name a few.

After completing final pricing and construction contracts, we develop a detailed project plan & schedule that incorporates the knowledge obtained during design and during our internal plan review. This is the start of what will be our on-going project management function. We then will conduct a pre-construction meeting with you to review things like the overall project schedule, the selections schedule, budgets & allowances, change order process, draw process and other administrative processes. To wrap up the pre-construction meeting, we will also review with you your responsibilities to make your project successful.

Then, armed with an engineered, stamped set of plans, we submit for the various, required permits. The typical permits that are required include a building permit, water permit and then either a sewer permit or septic permit depending on the method of wastewater removal is appropriate. The whole permitting duration varies by municipality but usually takes 2 – 3 weeks.

Typically, municipality permits are not required to begin clearing trees, etc. on a lot. So, coincident with obtaining permits we have our surveyor locate the main corners of your house, marking them with wooden stakes. All trees and other obstructions within that staking and about four feet beyond that staking are removed. Additionally, if your property is such that the future location of your driveway is obstructed by trees or other obstructions, the driveway is staked and cleared to create a road in and a road out for construction traffic.

Also, most lots are not perfectly flat and, thus, require some measure of erosion control. The requisite erosion control is installed to hold back run-off of soil into neighboring areas during construction, since disturbing the soil leaves it susceptible to rains.

After permits are obtained, we can begin excavation. Our surveyor returns and stakes your property once again, this time indicating more detail about exact location of all corners and depth of dig required. This staking guides the excavator, who comes in next and digs to the proper dimensions and depths as specified by the plans. The excavator obviously encounters dirt when he digs and, depending on the location, also encounters tree roots, loose rock, rock ledges, previously buried material, etc. It must all be removed.

While the excavation is happening, our electricians set up temporary electric service for use during the construction process. It will eventually be removed once your house has progressed enough to connect the permanent power.

Once the excavation is complete and the designated depths are reached, our practice is to have a licensed soils engineer inspect the soil to determine if it has the proper consistency and capacity to support the home’s structure. If not, the excavator must dig down to stable substrate. Here in the Midwest we tend to have expansive soils, so the extra “insurance” provided by having a soils engineer confirm substrate suitability is money well spent.

Speaking of insurance, it is at this time that we purchase a policy that protects your project from fire, theft & vandalism. It is referred to as “builders risk” insurance, but you can think of it as homeowners’ insurance covering the period of time from which lot preparation begins until you take possession of your home after construction. And, while we require all of our subcontractors to carry their own general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance, we are also required to maintain our own umbrella policies that specifically cover your project.

As mentioned, there are several activities that take place in this lot preparation stage. At this point, we have access to your lot, a hole dug and power available to begin formal construction, which starts with pouring your foundation.

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