Delays When Building Your New Home: What’s Acceptable?

Delays When Building Your New Home:  What’s Acceptable?

 

When building a new home, we are always excited to see the finished product…to live the dream…to enjoy the result of all our hard work.  The quickest way to get to see our gorgeous new home is to have people working on it every work day.  The reality is however, some days there will be nothing but crickets making noise on the job.  There are some good reasons for this…and some not so good reasons.

Costs of Delays

Before we get to the acceptable reasons for delays with a new home building project, let’s take a look at some of the costs for adding days to the building schedule.

  • Interest – for every day we add to the schedule, we add interest carry costs for your construction loan and or lot loans (or opportunity costs if you are paying cash for the project)
  • Rental Expense – you will be renting things like portable toilets and equipment so every additional day in the build schedule adds cost to the project
  • Taxes – real estate taxes are inevitable…and it’s never fun to pay them when you are not getting any real benefit
  • Utilities – don’t underestimate the cost of utilities for your new home building project…for a winter build in a cold climate, they can run into the thousands of dollars for pouring concrete, setting brick/stone,…etc.
  • Insurance – your policy period for builder’s risk and liability insurance will be based on a specific time period…if you go over there will be additional costs

 

These are just a few of the indirect costs you will experience when building.  We have estimated this “carry cost” to average about $100 per day for the average home in the U.S.

Unavoidable Delays

An acceptable reason for inactivity on a jobsite would be a stoppage due to weather.  Until a roof goes on, rain will stop most activities from progressing.  Once the rain stops, wet conditions can prevent activities such as grading, pouring concrete, underground plumbing…etc.  Other forms of weather delays include subzero temperatures (or very hot temperatures).  We need our workers to be safe and if the temperatures are too extreme, the job will need to wait.  Frost bite or heat exhaustion won’t do anyone any good.  Not only are these extreme temperatures dangerous, they also affect the speed that work is done which can increase your costs if you don’t have a fixed price contract.

Temperature is also a quality concern when it comes to outdoor activities.  Freezing temperatures are a concern when it comes to pouring concrete and painting.  Extremely cold temperatures can make vinyl brittle and cause unnecessary damage to windows and siding when installing.

Another reason for work to be delayed on a project is curing or drying time.  Some items in a home need time to properly cure prior to work progressing.  One example of this would be foundation walls.  It is an acceptable practice to let poured concrete basement walls cure for a minimum of a week prior to backfilling.  This increases the strength of the concrete before  a lateral pressure is placed on the wall from the backfilled dirt.  If we don’t give the wall proper time to cure, it can develop cracks and even worse, it could fail.

Unacceptable Delays

Ok, so what are the unacceptable delays on our building projects?  Probably the biggest and most annoying experience with any project are the subcontractors that just don’t show up.  We give them a schedule in advance and call them the day before.  Everything is ready for them on the jobsite, the material is there, the previous trades are all finished and have cleaned up after themselves, the power is turned on and we are ready to go.  So why do they decide not to show up?  Don’t they know they are costing us both time and money by not showing up?

By properly screening subcontractors, you can minimize no shows.  A good contractor also has long-term relationships with these companies while providing work to them on a regular basis.  This in many cases provides additional motivation for the subcontractors to show up and complete work on time.  The idea being, if they screw up enough, we will switch to a more reliable trade contractor.  So if you are planning to build your home by owner, you may want to hire a local builder as a consultant for trade relations.

With proper planning  and hiring, your new home project will move along at a brisk pace, helping you to avoid unnecessary, costly delays.  And by including some extra days in your schedule for Mother Nature’s inevitable interruptions, you will be prepared for whatever comes your way.

Brandon Hall
Brandon Hall

Our "go to guy" and company expert, Brandon is the visionary and dreamer of all we do here at America's Best House Plans. He manages quality assurance, audits existing processes for maximum effectiveness, and develops strategies to increase productivity and efficiency. With over 15 years experience in the home design industry, Brandon has a hand in every aspect of the day-to-day operations of our company, in addition to ensuring an unparalleled level of service to our customers.

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