Are you looking for tips when building a house? In this article, we share our experiences on how to get a successful end result. Do not miss out on good advice and tips on how to save money and ensure that the project goes as planned. Read the experts’ tips and avoid the most common mistakes.
Start planning as early as possible
Even if you have already bought a plot of land, you can expect it to take at least a year from the first contact with an architect until the house is completed. The time aspect can, for example, look like the following:
Four to six months: Design of drawings and documentation for the building permit application together with the architect. This also includes applying for a building permit.
You usually start by applying for a prior notice when building a house. The advance notice is based on the drawings that the architect has made and you simplyf4 apply to see if the planned house meets all the requirements that the municipality has, before any major investments are made. If the municipality rejects the prior notice, it is possible to make the necessary changes be- fore submitting an application for a building permit. If you are completely sure that the municipal- it will approve your building permit application, you can skip applying for prior notice.
Two to three months: Request and compare offers from different contractors or craftsmen. We recommend that you request quotes from at least two contractors. If all contractors are serious and properly background checked, it is normally sufficient to contact three different companies.
One to two months: Ground work that include excavation and possible mining or blasting of boulders or bedrock. How long it takes to prepare the site for house construction also depends on the site’s terrain and accessibility.
One to two months: Building of the foundation and other concrete work. Depending on how much of your house is to be built in concrete, this part of the process can take longer than two months.
Two to four months: When the concrete is cast and has hardened, the carpenters set up what is called a weatherproof frame. This means that they build up the construction of the house and that it is secured against weather and wind, ie walls, roofs, windows and doors come into place. This process is much faster if you have chosen a contractor who sets up prefabricated houses.
From three months: The last step in the completion of the house includes the remaining interior work. This includes the remaining carpentry work, plumbing, electrical installations, ventilation, flooring and painting.
Feel free to start by setting up a schedule. It should be detailed and you must remember to add extra time for any delays and other unforeseen events. A good schedule will help you get a realis- tic picture of when you can expect the house to be completed. In addition, all other coordination work will be easier because you already have a good overview of the various parts of the process.
Decide what kind of house you want to build
When you are going to build a house, the appearance of the house is one of the first things you have to decide on. Roughly speaking, you can choose between building in a traditional or modern style, but some also want to build in a more specific style.
If this is not something you have already thought through, it is smart to do so before contacting an architect. Then you will arrive at a solution faster.
Find an architect
The architect’s task is to design a house that meets you and any your family’s needs and wishes. In addition, the property must fit in as well as possible on the plot. Regardless of the building style, the architect works to create a solution that is both visually appealing and meets all the functional requirements you have. In addition, the architect also compiles the basis for your appli- cation for a building permit.
Find out in which budget items you can save on expenses
For many, building a house is perhaps the most expensive project you undertake in your life. Then it can be good to know how it is possible to save money if that need exists or arises.
The first thing that is good to think through properly is how big a house you really need.
Think through area-efficient solutions. The most expensive rooms to build are bathrooms and kitchens, so limit the number and size of those rooms if you have a tight budget.
The standard and the types of materials in which the home is built also have a major impact on the total price for house construction. Higher standards and premium materials will of course be more expensive than if you choose simpler solutions. This applies to both the larger and smaller budget items and you can save a lot of money if you find out what the different manufacturers of- fer and at the same time keep up to date with current promotions and sales. Regardless of whether it is facade cladding, roofing materials, interior fittings, surface materials or various other solutions for the home, it is possible to save money by being a little around and around.
Also remember that it is almost always cheaper to choose existing solutions that can be bought in a store than site-built special solutions that must be designed by an architect or interior designer. In addition, the choice of contractor will have a major impact on the total price of the construc- tion. You can also save money by making your own contribution, provided you have the skills re- quired to maintain a sufficiently high quality of work.
Set aside enough time for the bidding process
Calculate properly the time for the actual bidding process as it may take some time from the time you contact the contractor until the company can come up with a pre-inspection. In addition, it can take 3-6 weeks before you receive their offer and then it can take a few more weeks before you have a contract that is ready to sign.
Find a contractor who is suitable for your particular project
Knowing what to look for when choosing an entrepreneur can be difficult for an unexperienced. To make it a little easier, we have made a list of the most important criteria:
First and foremost, all contractors whose tenders you are considering should have the right certi- fications and insurances. When it comes to electrical installations, they must be carried out by an authorized electrician because otherwise the work is illegal, and an incorrectly performed electri- cal installation can be life threatening.
In order for you not to have to wait longer than necessary to get started, it is a wise move to ex- amine the company’s capacity. Find out when they have the opportunity to start your project and if they have enough manpower to be able to complete the construction on time. If the company is fully booked for a long time to come or if they can only set aside half the workforce required for your project, it may be worthwhile to consider another company.
It is always good to find out if the company has any good references. Many of the contractors have written reviews on their websites. When you are going to start with such a large project as building a house, it is a wise move to ask the contractor for references that you can contact your- self. Then you can ask the questions that are important to you and also decide if the reference is credible.
Financial equity / assets ratio shows whether the company can cope with a temporary loss or re- cession. It is smart to have certain rules of conduct so that you do not end up in the situation where the contractor goes bankrupt while the company is building your house..
Choose a contractor with whom you can have effective and orderly communication and with whom you agree. If the communication does not work well, it can lead to a lot of irritation and sometimes even delays or misunderstandings.
Of course, price is an important factor when choosing a contractor. We recommend that you make a detailed comparison in, for example, an Excel sheet so that you do not compare tenders that cover different things.
A golden rule when it comes to price is that it is not always the cheapest that is the best. When you are going to build a house, it is at least as important to ensure that the quality of the work performed is high. For example, if you have to spend a lot of energy and time complaining about a job that is not done correctly, it pays to hire someone who does the job properly from the begin- ning.
Make sure to do a detailed design
After the architect has completed the drawings, a project description or detailed design must nor- mally also be prepared. It is usually made by the architect, possibly in combination with a de- signer, interior designer or another industry-savvy person. The design usually contains the follow- ing:
Working drawings: drawings that are more detailed than those attached to the building permit ap- plication to the municipality’s building committee. They are often drawn in scale 1:50 and de- scribe in detail how the different parts of the house are to be built.
Door and window diagram: shows the type of doors and windows the house should have and where they should be placed.
Room drawing: an overview room by room that describes everything from technical solutions such as lighting and heating to which floor and wall materials to use where.
The more detailed the design, the more accurate the prices you receive as a basis for comparison in the tender process. In addition, you will get a better idea of what measures the project covers and when they will be carried out. It is very helpful for you when you have to check that the house construction is proceeding as it should.
Write a legally binding contract and a clear schedule
When signing a contract with the contractor or contractors, make sure that it is detailed enough to prevent disagreements. It must also be clear who is carrying out the various works and for what period of time. In the contract, you must also enter how you will handle any delays, price in- creases or changes in the project.
Feel free to sit down with the contractor and write a more detailed schedule. In addition to the dates stated in the contract (start and end dates), it can also be good to set intermediate goals. This can be, for example, when the foundation work is to be completed, when the foundation is to be completed, the date for setting up the house’s frame or the wet rooms are to be completed. The milestones make it easier for you as a layman to see if the project is progressing as it should.
Visit the construction site often
Visit the construction site and the site as often as you can. It helps you to keep an eye on that the whole project is flowing and that the schedule is kept. Also make sure to have a good and close communication with the contractor / contractors.