A Home Builder Common Sense Approach To Green Building

Things to Know About the Custom Home Building Process

Building a home to your specifications is an exciting experience, but you have to ensure you are well prepared for the project. You also need to learn about the custom home building process.

Don’t know anything about the building process? Well, worry not. In this piece, we are going to look at seven important things you should know about building a custom home.

Be Ready to Tackle One Thing at a Time

Building a custom home or remodeling a house to match your specifications can be an exhaustive experience, especially if you are a first-timer. Therefore, you want to be relaxed and ready to tackle one thing at a time. You should note that your custom home will only make you happy if your decisions were made intentionally and not on impulse.

You Should Be Realistic

Like most people, you want to live in a house where you can get everything you want, including recreation facilities. But let’s face it; unless you are very rich, some of the features you see in your dream home might not come true. You should, therefore, be realistic when coming up with your plan and budget. The best way to do this is to come up with a list of all the features that you want to see in your dream house.

Choose Your Team Wisely

If you want to succeed in building your custom home, you must be careful when choosing a custom builder. Make sure the custom builder you hire has the knowledge, skills, and experience required to give you the exceptional results you are looking for. The custom builder you choose should also come with a team that understands the process of constructing a custom home. Everyone who works for you should be licensed, bonded, and insured. This way, you can relax knowing that your project is in good hands and they will deliver on time.

What to Know Before Buying New Construction

Buying a new construction home is a very different process from purchasing a previously owned home. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider whether new construction is right for you.

Hire a Real Estate Agent

Some buyers don’t feel a real estate agent is necessary when building a new home. They think that because there is a sales agent on-site they don’t need to bring in anyone else, right? Wrong. This mistake could cost you – and we’re not just saying that so you hire a Realtor! That on-site person works for and represents the seller.

Have Your Earnest Money Deposit on New Construction Ready

When purchasing a home that has been previously owned, the earnest money on new construction is typically 1-2% of the sales price. When purchasing new construction, your earnest money deposit is usually 5% of the sales price. The builder typically mandates the amount as a part of their contract (see more on builder contracts below).

Be Prepared to Wait

Delivery can range – it could be immediate or more than a year. Make sure you understand the delivery timeframes and be prepared for these timeframes to be extended a bit. Almost every new construction project hits delays.

The Fine Print

Many builders use contracts that are much different from the area real estate board contracts used in a re-sale transactions. These contracts mostly protect the builder, not the buyer. So be sure you really read through the fine print. If you are buying from a smaller or relatively unknown builder in your area

Considerations for Building a Mountain Home

Finding the perfect lot is the first step towards making your dreams of mountain living come true. If you’re planning to build a custom home – especially in the mountains – there are many important factors to take into consideration when selecting your lot and designing your home. Depending on where you are from, some of these factors may be new to you. This blog is meant to give you a general idea of the most important factors to consider, but is not an exhaustive list or a substitute for a good real estate agent.

Location – How will you get there?

filled with beautiful mountain towns. If you are building a vacation home in the mountains, consider how you will get there. How close is the nearest airport? Are there convenient flights available from your home town? Distance can be deceiving in the mountains, and traffic jams are especially common in the winter months when roads become snow packed and icy.

Snow Removal and Road Maintenance

It is important to find out who is responsible for snow removal and road maintenance in your neighborhood. In many areas, the city or county will plow the roads, or the HOA might have a contract in place for snow removal. Find out which access roads will be plowed, and if your driveway is included. If you plan to build in a more remote area, it is important to be prepared for the fact that you may need to plow your own way out after a big snow storm.

Snow and Architecture

When building a home in the mountains, never underestimate the influence of snow. Site placement is one of the first decisions your architect will make, and the orientation of your home and the driveway should take snow into consideration. In an ideal world, they will be able to situate your driveway to be south facing, meaning the sun exposure will help melt the snow, keeping your driveway from becoming packed with ice. If the site does not allow this, you will want to consider a heated driveway.

Zoning and Setbacks

No matter where you plan to build, it is important to be familiar with the zoning and setbacks for your lot. If your goal is to build a duplex, make sure your property is zoned for this. In general, if the zoning allows for a duplex, you could still build a single-family home on the property, but not vice versa. Some neighborhoods also have protective covenants or design guidelines that must be considered. Setbacks – which are the minimum distance from the lot lines to the structure – should also be considered, but their impact varies depending on the size of your lot. On small lots the setbacks can dictate the size and placement of your home, however on larger lots they have much less impact. The most important thing is to make sure you can live with the rules before you purchase the property.

Home Builder Resources

Doing the research and accessing the information you need about building a home can get a little stressful, so we’ve put together this section as a hub for useful material and resources to make it a little easier for the new home builder. Here you’ll find a host of downloadable information and guides to help you make decisions and consider your options

From information about knocking down an existing home to finance guides, upgrade packages and details about the various government grants, this hub is a one-stop shop for new home builders

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The Importance of Building Science

If you’ve made it to this blog, chances are you’ve heard a thing or two about building, or about its components:  energy efficiency, air quality, material sustainability or building durability. But have you heard about an umbrella term that encompasses many of these topics, the interdisciplinary study of building science?

What is building science?

Building science is simply applying what we know about physics and other sciences to buildings, with a focus on moisture and heat. As such, building science touches on concepts from material science:  the engineering discipline that studies the physical and chemical properties of materials (e.g. brick, plywood,insulation, drywall, anything buildings are made out of that might interact with moisture and heat in ways that may need to be considered), thermodynamics:  dealing with methods of heat transfer, phase changes, pressure dynamics, and mechanical engineering:  which gets into all the nitty-gritty of airflows and motors and equipment that generates heat, cools air, or produces or removes moisture, and even touches some on health and biology with respect to indoor air quality and mold growth (a natural consequence of moisture.) And it’s pretty helpful to mix that in with a dose of construction management:  the common and necessary techniques of construction, how jobs are sequenced, and the best places in the construction process to do what with what material.

Why is building science important?

Buildings use a lot of energy, and energy use has concerning environmental and economic impacts. The biggest component of energy use in most residential buildings is heating and cooling. Meanwhile, moisture in buildings can have huge impacts on the durability of building materials and on human health, and is a huge source of litigation in the building world. Moisture and heat are often tied together in today’s buildings, due to physics, and due to mechanical systems which can be a way to remove moisture, or can sometime fail to adequately do so.

Additionally, while some problems with buildings would become obvious very quickly: (e.g. if the structure isn’t engineered right, gravity will pull it down; or if the electrical isn’t done right, you might have a fire) the discipline of building science often focuses on more insidious problems that might take time to develop. Things like high energy use due to hidden holes and drafts in a building, or moisture that builds up over time due to defects in flashing.

So, what kind of science is happening these days with respect to buildings?

Studying the properties of materials, and common ways they might get layered in a typical building, is one of the biggest areas of ongoing research. There are so many product manufacturers out there making all kinds of different building products. For instance, sidings made from coal ash, composite wood, concrete, or a mix of all it; insulation made from plastic, recycled blue jeans, or spun volcanic rock fibers.